In an interview to Muscat Daily, Dr Ali Abdullah al Sahmy, assistant director general for animal health at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said, “We get one or two consignments every month which do not have the halal certificate.”
Ministry officials conducting checks at ports stop such consignments from entering the country as it is not known if Islamic rules on slaughter have been followed, he said. Sometimes, exporting countries ship consignments with health certificates, but no halal certificate. “In such cases, we do not allow the meat to enter the country.”
The certificate is required to be issued by a competent Islamic centre in the country of export. All consignments of meat, poultry and other animal products must also be accompanied by original copies of veterinary health certificate, a certificate of origin and in case of milk and milk products, radiation certificate indicating that radiation levels do not exceed internationally accepted levels.
“All these certificates should be issued by the government bodies in countries of export and attested by embassies of Oman or any GCC state there.” Sahmy said that it could be that exporting firms are unaware of the laws in Oman and that all consignments are subjected to quarantine procedures on arrival at the port of entry.
“They are released only after it is confirmed that they are fit for human consumption, conform to the laws and standards determined by Oman and accompanied by required certificates.”
Sahmy also expressed concern over the health risks that illegal entry of livestock posed. “It is from Yemen that livestock enters illegally, but not meat products. It is found that some livestock have respiratory diseases, gastroenteritis or viral ailments.” Once the ministry gets to know about such activity, it coordinates with the ROP for necessary action. ”Those involved are taken into custody immediately.”