Australia eyes Middle East’s halal meat market

Nick Meara
Updated 07 May 2019

Australia eyes Middle East’s halal meat market

When Muslim customers buy Australian red meat, they can rest assured that it is not only fresh but also 100 percent halal, according to Nick Meara, international business manager for Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) — MENA.

Australia has one of the strictest halal programs in the world. The Australian Government Authorized Halal Program (AGAHP) is undertaken in collaboration with the Australian government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Islamic organizations in the country. 

Important requirements of this program are that the animals are treated properly, have easy access to food and water and are free to roam.

Meara said that Australia, with its natural environment and high animal welfare standards, easily meets these requirements. “Additionally, all processing facilities in Australia employ only registered and trained Muslim slaughtermen. All slaughtermen are practicing Muslims and comply with their religious slaughter training based on Shariah principles,” he said.

Master Chef Tarek Ibrahim, the Middle East’s first master chef, said: “I have personally been to Australia and seen first hand the way animals are raised and the halal process that is being followed. As a Muslim, halal meat is very important to me and in my more than 30 years of experience traveling the world, I can confidently say that the Australian halal system is second to none.”

According to a recent Australian government report, Australian red meat is in demand in the Middle East and other major international markets.

The average customer’s perception of imported meat is that sourcing meat from so far away can affect the freshness and quality of the product. However, according to Meara, that is just not the case.

“State-of-the art technologies in Australia ensure that Australian lamb and beef is packed fresh and chilled to very low temperatures so it can be delivered to supermarkets in the Middle East in just a matter of days, and is still as fresh as the day it was packed,” he said.

The fresh meat is vacuum-packed to maintain freshness and quality, prevent bacterial growth and ensure an extended shelf life.


Michelin-starred chefs delight Riyadh foodies

Guests at Taste of the World, Riyadh, a six-day extravaganza featuring some of the world’s best restaurants in the capital’s Digital City, sipped mocktails while listening to live acoustic music on the Music Stage.
Updated 13 min 35 sec ago

Michelin-starred chefs delight Riyadh foodies

Taste of the World, Riyadh has been heralded as a great success by both event organizers and the 14,000 visitors that attended the six-day extravaganza in the capital’s Digital City.
Commissioned by the General Entertainment Authority, this bespoke edition of the festival, created especially for the Riyadh Season, featured 14 of the world’s best restaurants, boasting a combined 13 Michelin stars.  
Throughout the festival, the participating restaurants featured an exclusive menu of three dishes, served in taster-size portions — two of each restaurant’s signature dishes, as well as a Saudi-inspired dish that the chef had exclusively designed for Taste of the World, Riyadh. Visitors looking for a more exclusive experience were welcomed to The Taste Residence where they were treated to a four-course dining experience with Michelin-starred chefs.
Another major attraction that drew large crowds was the Fire Pit, where local star chefs Areej Al-Shareef, Abdelelah bin Jarid and Fahad Bokhari showed off their talents alongside the global superstars. Hosted by Saudi culinary star and presenter Rakan Aloraifi, spectators enjoyed cooking demonstrations, tasting sessions and a live DJ.
In another area of the festival, guests sipped mocktails while listening to live acoustic music on the Music Stage.  
Award-winning chef Shane Osborn from Hong Kong’s Arcane said “Taste of the World, Riyadh has far exceeded my expectations. I have been fortunate to have experienced many similar events around the world but this one in Riyadh is both very unique and very different to anything that I have experienced before. It is the people of Riyadh who have really made it special and welcoming.”

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14,000 - of the capital’s cosmopolitan citizens visited the six-day culinary festival, featuring 14 of the world’s best restaurants and boasting a combined 13 Michelin stars.

Pascal Aussignac from London’s Michelin-starred Club Gascon said: “The smiles of the people whilst trying my food and their inquisitive questions about the meals prepared made it truly very special. I am
very happy to be here in Riyadh and to have taken part in this exciting event.”
Saudi chef Al-Shareef said: “I am very happy to be here and taking part in Taste of the World, Riyadh. I am also very proud in being the only female Saudi chef taking part and my experiences at the Fire Pit were very exciting and fun.”
Chef Aloraifi said, “This is the first time that Taste of the World has taken place in the Kingdom and people have been very excited about the occasion, the activities and the cooking demonstrations ... Hopefully next year we will be back again and will be able to add more local touches to the program.”
Based on the overwhelming enthusiasm and fast-selling ticket sales that has greeted the Taste of the World experience, organizers said they are looking forward to announcing a 2020 event soon.