Insight – Extended Shelf Life for Refrigerated and Vacuum Packed Beef and Mutton Exports to Saudi Arabia
In February 2021, Saudi Arabia extended the shelf life of vacuum-refrigerated beef and mutton.
Extended shelf life can make Australian exports more competitive in the market by allowing products to stay on sale longer, reducing waste and increasing returns for retailers.
The shelf life extensions for vacuum-cooled meat imported into Saudi Arabia are:
- Beef – increased from 70 days to 120 days *
- Mutton – increased to 90 days from 70 days.
As a regional leader in food standards, Saudi Arabia supports the development of standards implemented by the Gulf Standards Organization (GSO) of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to extend the shelf life of the refrigerated vacuum-packed meat in the Gulf States. Other Gulf States such as 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 East or Austrade importers to explore potential meat export opportunities to Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region. They should continue to monitor the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment Market Access Tips (login required) for further updates to shelf life regulations.
Imports of selected Middle Eastern beef and sheepmeat and current shelf life for imported vacuum-packed chilled meat
|Total refrigerated imports of bovine and ovine meat 1 2019 (US $)||Maximum shelf life for vacuum-refrigerated beef||Maximum shelf life of vacuum-refrigerated sheepmeat|
|United Arab Emirates||$ 344 million||120 days||90 days|
|Saudi Arabia||$ 199 million||120 days||90 days|
|Jordan||$ 109 million||120 days (COVID temporary extension)||120 days (COVID temporary 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 digits used to fill in missing data
3 Temporary extension stopped on April 14, 2021, extension under negotiation