Australia Says Some Middle East Nations Extend Shelf-Life Limits For Meat Imports

Australia has said that a group of Middle Eastern countries had extended the maximum shelf life they will accept on imported chilled red meat, making it easier and cheaper for Australia to ship beef and lamb to the region.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – a group comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – has raised the shelf life limit on vacuum-packed chilled meat and meat products to 120 days for beef and 90 days for lamb and goat meat from 70 days previously.

Some of the countries had previously raised their shelf life limits. The move by the GCC brings all six countries into line.

The change was enabled by improvements in packaging and refrigeration along the supply chain, according to Australia‘s agricultural ministry.

‘Improved Market Access’

“Not only does this improved market access mean that export by sea is now possible – saving approximately A$3/kilogram ($1.90) of product – but our product can also keep their premium price longer, which means higher profit,” agriculture minister Murray Watt said in a statement.

Australia exports red meat worth around A$550 million to the GCC group of countries each year, government data show.

The ministry said it hoped the move would encourage other countries to raise their maximum shelf life thresholds.

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products including meat.

Elsewhere, France obtained the final approval for exporting pork to Australia, adding a new potential trade outlet for a sector that has faced fluctuating demand from top importer China.

After years of discussions over sanitary certification, the Australian market was formally opened to French pork, the French agriculture ministry and meat industry association Culture Viande said in separate statements.