Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat—Not long after the European horse meat scandal shocked the world, the European commission has approved a decision to feed fish with processed animal proteins (PAPs)—including pork—as an alternative to more traditional feeds.
Concerned Saudi Arabian authorities have rushed to implement measures ensuring that pork-fed fish are not imported into the country.
Dr. Nasser Al-Tuwaim, chairman of the Saudi Consumer Protection Association (CPA) told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The CPA’s early warning system has been made aware of the implications of this European approach, prompting specialized agencies to cooperate in order to avoid any damage in Saudi Arabia.”
He added that Saudi qualifications are specific and strict in this regard pointing out that such specifications are known to all states and registered in mutual agreements.
Tuwaim ruled out the probability that Saudi Arabia will be affected by the pork-fed fish since Europeans value the size and potential of the Saudi Arabian market and won’t risk losing this.
The chairman of CPA also asked Islamic and Arab countries to take a stand to counter the export of such products urging concerned authorities to prevent this from happening.
The CPA forbids all foods containing pork or its constituents from being imported into Saudi Arabia. It also requires companies that wish to import meat to Saudi Arabia to include a health certificate verified by an official authority clarifying the type of meat and name of the product. Another requirement includes the confirmation that the animals or birds are not fed manufactured feed, protein substances, animal fat or waste, or any hormone-based materials such as growth hormones.
According to a report that studied the situation on behalf of the European Commission, this method will help sustain aquatic animals; Pork meat provides an alternative to fish flour, which is scarce, and scientific research has proven this method is effective and safe.
Mohammed Al-Khalaf, chairman of a global company specializing in meat and food import, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Saudi Arabia has already issued several decisions to prevent food being imported from several countries. These decisions also included means by which to preserve the rights of the Saudi importer in the case of unsafe imports or non-valid certificates.”
The EU officially ended a long-standing ban on using certain PAPs in fish feed earlier this year.
Beginning June 1, 2013, PAPs derived from animal by-products—including pigs—that are fit for human consumption at the point of slaughter can be used in feed for farmed fish. Pork meat is considered haram, or religiously prohibited, by Muslims.