Government concern over anti-Halal ‘bullying’ of food exporters
The South Australian Government is urging food exporters in the State to continue engaging with the multi-million dollar Middle Eastern market and to resist misinformed consumer bullying, after several companies received negative comments on social media because their products were Halal certified.
The South Australian Minister for Investment and Trade, Martin Hamilton-Smith said he was disappointed to hear that The Fleurieu Milk and Yogurt Company had been bullied on social media into pulling out of a lucrative supply contract with Emirates, because of paying a small fee for a Halal certification.
“I encourage South Australian exporters to put enterprise and job opportunities ahead of the extreme views of a minority,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said. “We need to continue building relationships with the Middle Eastern markets and broader Muslim community,” he said.
Mr Hamilton-Smith said South Australia was well placed to benefit from the growing appetite of the global Muslim community, because the State is a leader “in the supply of premium natural products and the preparation of food”.
Over the past 12 months to September, South Australian businesses exported $839 million worth of goods to the Middle East, according to Mr Hamilton-Smith said. He said South Australia’s global meat exports exceed $1 billion and that “a large portion of that was to the Middle East – the region is an incredibly important trading partner”.
“The Fleurieu Milk and Yogurt Company has been operating for eight years and has forged a reputation for producing a premium natural product – it should be rewarded not ridiculed,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“Prejudice has no place in Australia,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said. “One of our key friends and trading partners Indonesia is the largest Islamic country in the world – we should embrace these opportunities rather than exclude them,” he said.
Next year Mr Hamilton-Smith will lead a trade delegation to the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East and North Africa region.
“I encourage any business or company experiencing this sort of bullying to contact the Department of State Development,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said. “Our TradeStart advisors are available to support your engagement with international markets,” he said.