x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 September 2017

Organic halal meat to hit shelves

Australian produce will be available in supermarkets within months.

DUBAI // Shoppers will be able to buy organic halal meat in supermarkets within three months.

It will be available in Carrefour hypermarkets across the country and some independent butchers in Dubai. Organic halal meat has been available only from hotels and restaurants.

OBE Organic, an Australian family business, plans to ship 500 kilograms of the meat each month, starting from the end of March. The company soon hopes to increase that to 1,300kg.

"Consumers in the UAE are learning about the benefits of a new organic lifestyle," said Dalene Wray, the company's regional manager in Asia and daughter of the chairman, David Brook.

"They understand that they have choices and can choose to make organic food a part of their daily diet."

Mr Brook heads a cooperative of Australian farmers with 25,000 head of cattle and more than 7 million hectares of grazing pasture - an area almost as big as the UAE.

The area is in the rich Channel Country, mostly in the north-east state of Queensland but spreading into the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. The animals are slaughtered in a certified organic abattoir in Brisbane.

OBE's halal certification has been approved by the Government.

"It is important that we provide the opportunity to consumers to have access to our clean, safe, halal organic beef from Australia," said Ms Wray.

The company already exports meat to Kuwait, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and North America.

"We will start with Carrefour in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre, and Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi," said Dariush Rakhshani, the manager of the meat's local distributor, Country Hill International.

"It will also be sold at some independent butchers' shops in Dubai, such as Prime Gourmet on Sheikh Zayed Road."

Organic food has grown in popularity in the UAE over the past few years.

"Overall, organic is a good way to go," said Stephanie Karl, a nutritionist at the Dubai London Clinic. "It's not always practical or available … organic food is a luxury but a great choice."

cmalek@thenational.ae