The European Halal Food Park, based in Banham, Norfolk, is said to be the first of its kind in the UK, as it will act as a gateway to the halal market in the UK as well as Europe.
Meat industry consultant NPD Services has worked alongside Intellectual Global Media for over two years on the Food Park, which is ready to open its EU-licensed factory which it hopes will be BRC-approved.
NPD Services MD Nigel Weaver said: “The abattoir has commenced trading and the next stage is to open added-value units. About 16 staff are due to come on board in the coming weeks.”
The first stage of the project, which has gathered a lot of interest from operators, has already been completed and is in operation, boasting a fully approved halal abattoir and cutting plant.
Weaver added the abattoir processes 100% halal meat including beef, lamb and mutton and, in the next 12 months, 120 staff will be taken on, with eventually a minimum of 300 being employed. Banham will act as a central hub while another centre has been opened in Wolverhampton. There are also plans to set up premises on the outskirts of Manchester.
NPD Services is now working together with the East Anglia Development Agency to secure further funding for stage two of the project, which will include a central retail packing unit and a further processing unit focused on manufacturing added-value halal food products.
Pak Supermarkets MD Ghulam Ghafoor said: “We have been waiting for such a project, where we can purchase all our UK-assured halal products manufactured in the UK. I for one am in favour of halal products which are with complete Shariah compliance to satisfy the Muslim needs.”
Eblex Halal Steering Group member Naved Syed added the Park would provide the Muslim community with assured English halal meat, which would also benefit the UK farming community.