An Australian developer and manufacturer of sustainable plastics and packaging has received Halal certification for a new range of resins.
Cardia Bioplastics has derived its range of Biohybrid resins from renewable products, which now have formal acknowledgement of compliance with Islamic laws surrounding safety and quality.
Cardia Managing Director Dr Frank Glatz said the certification, announced today on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), is a “commercial milestone” for the company.
“It significantly increases our ability to drive sales as we are able to appeal to a further 1.6 billion potential customers,” he said.
“The global Muslim population is huge and growing and we now have the opportunity to tap into it.
With over a billion Muslims around the world, the sale of Halal certified products is ever-increasing.
In the UK, where 4.6 per cent of the population identify as Muslim, the production of halal meat is rising faster than the number of people of the faith, with an increase of 15 per cent in the last 11 years, according to Professor Bill Reilly, former chairman of the UK Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food.
In May, he accused the local meat industry of increasing the number of animals slaughtered without stunning, claiming it is for religious purposes, when it is actually a financial decision, which he says is “unacceptable.”
In Australia, the concern of slaughtering animals without prior stunning is also of concern, and in late May, New South Wales unveiled new regulations in state abattoirs to ensure the wellbeing and welfare of animals.
The new legislation will require a designated Animal Welfare Officer to be on the premises of any abattoir to oversee and be accountable for the welfare of animals.
But Dr Shuja Shafi, deputy general-secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, has said previously there is a "lot of confusion" over Halal meat.
He said animals can be stunned before slaughter and still be labelled Halal.
"Over 90 per cent of Halal meat is stunned before slaughter," he said.
Last October, Australian agriculture ministers failed to resolve discussions over ritual slaughters, meaning exemptions that allow some Australian abattoirs to conduct slaughter without prior stunning will continue.
There are 12 abattoirs in Australia that are exempt from the regulations that say animals for consumption must be stunned before they are slaughtered.
The exemptions are on religious or cultural grounds, but animal welfare groups want to practice stopped altogether.
The council released a statement following the meeting, saying ministers have reviewed the results of a two-year consultation process with stakeholders and have considered the science involved and the views of religious groups, but could not reach a conclusion.
Up to 250,000 animals are killed without prior stunning in Australia every year under the religious slaughter exemptions and the RSPCA has rejected claims that stunning is not allowed on religious grounds, saying stunning is accepted by the Islamic community and Jewish community and no reason existed for un-stunned slaughter to continue.
The new measures in New South Wales will ensure the meat industry is heading in the right direction, Hodgkinson said.
“These tough new measures are being introduced to foster a culture in which abattoir management and employees fully understand and implement procedures that consistently comply with animal welfare standards.