In February 2021, Saudi Arabia extended the shelf-life of chilled vacuum-packed beef and sheep-meat.
An extended shelf-life can make Australian exports more competitive in market by allowing products to remain on sale for longer, leading to reduced wastage and higher returns for retailers.
The shelf-life extensions for chilled vacuum-packed meat imported to Saudi Arabia are:
- Beef – increased to 120 days from 70 days*
- Sheep-meat – increased to 90 days from 70 days.
As a regional leader on food standards, Saudi Arabia is supporting the development of standards implemented by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Gulf Standards Organisation (GSO) to extend the shelf-life for chilled vacuum-packed meat across the Gulf States. Other Gulf States such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar may consider changing their regulations to align with published GSO standards.
What exporters should do
Producers and exporters should contact their Middle Eastern importers or Austrade to explore potential opportunities for meat exports to Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East region. They should continue to monitor the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Market Access Advice notices (log-in required) for further updates to shelf-life regulations.
Selected Middle Eastern country imports of beef and sheep-meat and current shelf-life for imported chilled vacuum-packed meat
|Total chilled beef and sheep-meat imports 1 2019 (US$)||Maximum shelf-life for chilled vacuum-packed beef||Maximum shelf-life for chilled vacuum-packed sheep-meat|
|United Arab Emirates||$344 million||120 days||90 days|
|Saudi Arabia||$199 million||120 days||90 days|
|Jordan||$109 million||120 days (COVID temp extension)||120 days (COVID temp extension)|
|Lebanon 2||$102 million||84 days (trial) 3||84 days (trial) 3|
|Kuwait||$49 million||90 days||90 days|
|Qatar||$48 million||90 days||90 days|
|Oman 2||$21 million||120 days||90 days|
|Bahrain 2||$17 million||70 days||70 days|
1 HS ‘0201.20, HS ‘0201.30, HS ‘0204.22 and HS ‘0204.23
2 2018 figures used to supplement missing data
3 Temporary extension ceased on 14 April 2021, extension under negotiation