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Beef exports to Egypt facing potential obstacle

Government of Egypt now only recognizing one approved halal certifier.

Egypt is currently the second-largest market for U.S. beef variety meat as well as the leading destination for U.S. beef livers. All U.S. beef entering Egypt must be halal certified, and exporters previously contracted with any one of six approved entities to provide this certification.

Effective May 1, however, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reported that the government of Egypt is now recognizing only one approved halal certifier.

Paul Clayton, USMEF senior vice president for export services, explained that this could disrupt exports to Egypt, although USMEF is working with its member companies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep product moving as smoothly as possible.

“As of today, we haven’t heard a lot of disruption; however, we hear a lot of concern out of the exporters," Clayton said. "Even though it’s a challenging situation, we’re working through that.”

Last year, the volume of livers exported to Egypt exceeded 54,000 metric tons, accounting for 65% of all U.S. liver exports, but this was down from a peak share of 82% in 2015.

Clayton said USMEF has been working for several years to develop a wider range of markets for beef livers that include South Africa, Peru and Colombia. Further, he noted that Tunisia, which recently opened to U.S. beef, is also a potential market for beef livers.

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