The Islamic organisations paid to certify halal meat in Australia are being reviewed as part of an overall audit of food certifiers, which includes organic and kosher organisations.
Greg Read, from the Federal Agriculture Department, told the hearing the latest review came on top of the regular six-monthly audit carried out on processing plants and a regular review of the Islamic organisations responsible for certification.
“(It is ) just to give us high levels of confidence that’s (the system is) accurate nationally, then the department will effectively do a higher level review over the top of all of those to ensure that we haven’t got any plants that are differing and thereby exposed to the international markets should there be a further review,” he said.
The inquiry, charged with looking at food labelling and third party certification, has attracted over 1,400 submissions, with many focussing on halal certification.
Opponents argue the certification fee is effectively a tax, while prior to the hearing a number of critics claimed the monies raised could be channelled to extremist organisations.