PETALING JAYA, Oct 6 — A Malaysian ban on Australian beef imports from three of the country’s major producers was due to failure by the companies to comply with halal packing standards, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) said.
In a reply to Malay Mail, a department spokesman said the companies had not complied with Malaysian Halal Standards, MS 1500:2009, Malaysian Standards in Halal Food Production, Preparation, Handling & Storage — General Guideline (Second Revision).
“The ban is the result of an audit in May. We have officially notified the relevant Australian authorities,” he said, adding the beef imports had been stopped since August.
The suspension was the result of a Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and DVS audit of the three firms in May this year.
The spokesman said the department had sent an official letter to the Agricultural Counsellor of the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.
Jakim could not be reached for comment on the specific non-compliance issue.
Malaysia sources premium cuts of beef primarily from Australia, with some from local sources and India.
A spokesman for Australia’s Department of Agriculture told the Australia-based Weekly Times the suspensions, which were enforced on August 18, were related to a review audit conducted in May.
“The department is working closely with DVS to address the issues identified at audit and, once Malaysia is satisfied, have the suspensions lifted,” he was quoted as saying.
The report named Thomas Foods International (TFI) as one of the affected companies. TFI chief operating officer David McKay reportedly said the company could not comment until it received the final report from Malaysian authorities.