A Saudi official team, which
conducted an inspection tour of meat export facilities in the United
Arab Emirates recently, has discovered that “fresh” meat being
imported to the Kingdom from the UAE is actually frozen meat
originally from Brazil, Australia and India.
The team said some
of the meat processing centers did not meet health requirements and
Saudi standard specifications.
The meat imports
from the UAE, the team said, violated rules regarding the country of
origin to evade a ban in force in the Kingdom on imports of meat and
cattle from certain countries. The team from the Commerce Ministry
inspected a number of meat export facilities and cattle farms in the
UAE last April.
The team met with
municipal officials in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah.
The inspection visit was aimed at finding out the actual source of
meat exported to the Kingdom from the UAE, as the Gulf country does
not produce enough to export.
reportedly import sheep and cattle from Australia, New Zealand,
Pakistan, India and some African countries to meet domestic demand as
well as for the export market.
But the Saudi team
said in a report released after concluding the visit: “All meat
processing and packaging units in the UAE visited by the team were
found to be using frozen meat imported from Brazil, Australia and
India. They re-exported this meat to the Kingdom labeled as fresh
The report also
pointed out that the UAE companies did not supervise the slaughter of
animals in the country of origin directly and left the matter to
Islamic organizations in the area. Meat consignments coming to the UAE
have to be certified by one of the Gulf embassies.
The team alleged
that the UAE companies violated the country-of-origin rules by
exporting meat to the Kingdom as a UAE product. This is tantamount to
circumventing Saudi regulations for controlling meat imports to the
country and a violation of customs rules.
visit, the Commerce Ministry has banned meat imports from the Islamic
Cooperative Food Industries in Dubai and Al-Alamiya for Islamic Meat
in Jabal Ali. The two firms did not allow the Saudi team to visit
their facilities. UAE authorities had closed down Al-Alamiya a number
of times for violating regulations.
News learned that many Chinese companies have stopped exporting
chicken to the Kingdom and other Gulf countries following reports
about the spread of bird flu in the country.
Sources at the
commerce and agriculture ministries told Arab News that Saudi
authorities were closely following up the issue and are studying
measures taken by China to contain the disease, which could be
transmitted to humans.
Jeddah Islamic Port recently seized 11 consignments of Indian meat,
weighing thousands of tons, on suspicion that they originated from
countries where the foot and mouth disease was detected.
Department in Dammam also held two consignments of frozen Brazilian
chicken as their papers were attested by the Jordanian Embassy in
Brazil instead of the Saudi Embassy.
Arabia banned import of meat and cattle from many countries including
the European Union, African states and some Arab and Gulf countries as
part of its efforts to prevent mad cow and foot and mouth diseases.
The Commerce Ministry has instructed meat importers to the Kingdom to
give a detailed route of their shipments to prevent smuggling
contaminated meat into the country.