Egypt has changed its requirements for U.S. beef entering the country, a move that may affect supply from the United States and drive up prices, said a May 13 report from the US department of agriculture foreign agricultural service (USDA FAS) in Cairo.
According to the report, the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation audited seven slaughter facilities and met with eight halal certifiers in the U.S. on March 17 to 28.
Following these audits, the Egyptian Veterinary Service informed USDA on April 24 that it approves of its food safety system for beef products.
However, only one U.S. halal certifier, New Jersey-based IS EG Halal Certified, is now approved to certify shipments to Egypt.
Four firms previously provided halal certification services for U.S. beef products to Egypt.
“The correspondence did not include an implementation date; however, industry contacts believe the changes became effective May 1, 2019,” said the USDA FAS.
It said that IS EG Halal Certified is not known to have a pre-existing relationship with the U.S. beef industry or Islamic organisations in the United States.
The U.S. authority also said that it has not yet received a final report outlining the audit findings and the U.S. embassy in Cairo is not aware of criteria used by the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture to approve or deny halal certifiers.
The price for halal certification will also increase under the new system, said the USDA FAS.
“Previously, halal certifiers in the United States charged $10-$20 per metric ton for certification. That fee is expected to increase to ten cents per pound, or $220 per metric ton,” said the report.
The higher fees will increase beef prices for Egyptian consumers.
“Post estimates that increases in halal certification fees may increase beef prices to Egyptian consumers by around 4.00 LE per kilogram,” said the report.
“This sudden change in policy could disrupt markets and cause confusion among industry and regulators.”
In 2018, Egypt imported around 300,000 metric tons of beef. The U.S. shipped 61.7 thousand metric tons of beef liver to Egypt in 2018, down from 122 thousand metric tons in 2014, said the USDA FAS.
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