Middle East re-opens markets to English meat

Industry leaders have welcomed news that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has lifted its ban on English meat.

In a bid to promote quality English halal lamb to Middle Eastern countries, EBLEX visited the Dubai Gulfood Exhibition last month, a trip which generated significant interest from a number of potential buyers.

EBLEX export manager Jean Pierre Garnier said: "The Middle East represents a major untapped export market for quality halal lamb. There are many business opportunities in this region, with over 35m wealthy lamb consumers. This would be incredibly beneficial to our export market."

Janan Meats MD Naved Syed, who accompanied EBLEX on the trip to Dubai, said: "I have been really keen to get an open dialogue going with the Middle Eastern countries for some time and, now they have announced that they will lift their ban on imports of meat from England, we have the green light to a potentially billion-pound market for halal meat."

A ban on exports to the UAE was imposed as a result of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2000. Previous attempts were made to get the ban lifted, but the vets from the Emirates were not willing to come to inspect English facilities.

Syed added: "The market for Halal meat in England is growing and the potential for sales from Muslim consumers in the EU and Middle East is massive.

"Attending the Gulfood show has already begun to open doors, not just for my business, but for all like-minded halal abattoirs and processors in England."