57 OIC Countries: 15.88 Billion Food Imports

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UPDATE-Brazil food fraud scandal: How much halal exports are in the mix?


*Update: Last chart changed from pie chart to bar chart to bet­ter show val­ue by country

*Update March 21: Inserts clar­i­fi­ca­tion as Para 4 that $1.8 bil­lion of beef exports to OIC coun­tries are open to ques­tion fol­low­ing updat­ed news reports iden­ti­fy­ing alle­ga­tions against meat­pack­ing companies

Brazil’s Fed­er­al Police on March 17 launched the coun­try’s biggest-ever raids as part of a probe of food proces­sors accused of brib­ing reg­u­la­tors to loosen over­sight, Reuters report­ed. The crack­down on alleged bribery of health offi­cials includ­ed big com­pa­nies BRF and JBS as well as small­er rivals.

Accord­ing to Reuters, the alle­ga­tions include brib­ing inspec­tors and politi­cians to over­look unsan­i­tary prac­tices such as pro­cess­ing rot­ten meat and ship­ping exports with traces of sal­mo­nel­la, and there was also evi­dence that meat­pack­ers fal­si­fied doc­u­men­ta­tion for exports to Europe, Chi­na and the Mid­dle East.

If the alle­ga­tions are found to be true, there could be seri­ous reper­cus­sions on Brazil’s $16 bil­lion halal trade and exports to Organ­i­sa­tion of Islam­ic Coop­er­a­tion (OIC) countries.

Specif­i­cal­ly, $1.8 bil­lion of beef exports to OIC coun­tries are open to question.


Data source: The OIC’s current and potential role in the global halal food trade, Salaam Gateway, 2017

In 2015, the 57 coun­tries of the OIC import­ed an esti­mat­ed $15.88 bil­lion of food from Brazil. This is equiv­a­lent to 8.4 per­cent of all food imports into the OIC.

Brazil’s main exports to the OIC is meat and live ani­mals, esti­mat­ed at $5.2 bil­lion in 2015: most of this is made up of $3.2 bil­lion in poul­try and $1.8 bil­lion in beef. Oth­er exports to OIC coun­tries include con­fec­tionery inputs at $4.7 bil­lion and veg­etable- and seed-derived prod­ucts at $3.9 billion.

Around a quarter of Brazil’s beef exports and half of its poultry exports are halal. In total, the country exported around $12 billion in halal and non-halal beef and poultry in 2016.


Of all OIC mem­ber states, the Arab coun­tries in the Mid­dle East, as a group, are the biggest importers of food from Brazil.

Brazil’s exports of food­stuff and cere­al to the region were $8.627 bil­lion in 2016, which account­ed for 12.4 per­cent of the country’s total exports of the sec­tor. In 2015, it account­ed for 12 per­cent of all the sector’s exports.

Over­all, Brazil’s exports to the region in 2016 was $11.47 bil­lion, a drop of 5.34 per­cent over 2015. The vol­ume shipped reached 35.91 mil­lion tons, down 18.69 per­cent in the same peri­od, accord­ing to the Min­istry of Indus­try, For­eign Trade and Services.

Data source: Brazil-Arab News Agency, citing data from Brazil’s Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services


Around a quar­ter of Brazil’s beef exports and half of its poul­try exports are halal. In total, the coun­try export­ed around $12 bil­lion in halal and non-halal beef and poul­try in 2016.


Brazil exports around 20 per­cent of its beef. Exports stood at $5.5 bil­lion in 2016 with over 1.4 mil­lion tons shipped abroad, accord­ing to data from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Brazil­ian Beef Exporters (Abiec). This is a drop of 7 per­cent in rev­enues in com­par­i­son to 2015, despite the 1 per­cent increase in vol­ume of exports.

As an indi­ca­tion for 2016 beef exports to coun­tries of the Mid­dle East and North Africa (MENA), Brazil’s beef exports to the region were esti­mat­ed at $1.4 bil­lion in 2015, equiv­a­lent to 24 per­cent of all ship­ments that year.

By export vol­ume, Egypt was the sec­ond largest buy­er of Brazil­ian beef in 2016, trail­ing Hong Kong. The Egypt­ian mar­ket con­sumed 176,900 tons in 2016. By rev­enue, Egypt is in fourth posi­tion with $551.3 mil­lion, behind Hong Kong, the EU and China.

Sau­di Ara­bia was the ninth largest des­ti­na­tion in vol­ume and tenth in rev­enues. With the lift­ing of the embar­go on Brazil­ian beef in Novem­ber 2015, the king­dom replaced Alge­ria in the top ten rank­ing of des­ti­na­tions. Sau­di Ara­bia import­ed 29,300 tons, total­ing $112.5 mil­lion.

Data source: Brazil-Arab News Agency, citing data from the Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters (ABIEC)

Chick­en meat

In Decem­ber, Bel­gian con­sul­tant Frans Fransen of IFT Poul­try warned that not all halal in Brazil is as halal as it should be. At the time, he told Salaam Gate­way, “I trav­eled through­out the coun­try about five years ago. It was clear to me that at times you just pay $20 and you get your halal stamp. Real­ly, there should be more gov­ern­ment control.”

Accord­ing to Fransen the rea­son why Brazil is the world’s lead­ing poul­try exporter is because it is the cheap­est pro­duc­er. “It has cheap resources, low wages and, most impor­tant­ly, the Real has been in sharp decline,” he said. “If it were not for the Real, Brazil wouldn’t be where it is today.”

Brazil export­ed 32.7 per­cent of its chick­en meat, or 4.3 mil­lion tons, in 2015. These exports brought in rev­enues of $7.167 bil­lion, accord­ing to the Brazil­ian Asso­ci­a­tion of Ani­mal Protein.

1.696 mil­lion tons, equiv­a­lent to 39.4 per­cent of Brazil’s chick­en meat exports, went to the Mid­dle East and North Africa (ex-Israel and Georgia).

BRF was the top exporter, fol­lowed by JBS and Auro­ra Alimentos.

Data source: Brazilian Association of Animal Protein

For 2016, total halal and non-halal poul­try export vol­ume reached 4.022 mil­lion tons as at end Novem­ber, up from 3.9 mil­lion tons in the same peri­od a year ear­li­er. Rev­enue dropped 4.4 per­cent to reach $6.27 bil­lion for Jan­u­ary to Novem­ber 2016.

An esti­mat­ed 48.35 per­cent of Brazil’s poul­try exports were halal in 2015, which makes Brazil the world’s lead­ing exporter of halal chicken.

Accord­ing to the Brazil­ian Poul­try Asso­ci­a­tion (UBABEF), which rep­re­sents 92 per­cent of all chick­en export­ing com­pa­nies, all of its asso­ci­at­ed com­pa­nies are equipped and trained to car­ry out halal slaughter.

In MENA, Sau­di Ara­bia alone bought up almost 50 per­cent of Brazil’s chick­en meat exports to the region.

Data source: Brazilian Association of Animal Protein