Kit Davies Plans to unlock the "enormous potential" of the Halal meat trade in Britain are gaining momentum with board members for a single national regulatory body set to be appointed. Birmingham Halal ready meal supplier Eastern Foods started the initiative which now has the involvement of a wide range of bodies from West Midlands business groups to the MLC. The aim is to boost confidence in Halal products and increase the volume purchased from British suppliers. Eastern Foods sales director Naved Syed believes the export potential is also vast. There are a number of localised Halal food certifying bodies but they are self-regulating and small in scale. A national body will provide advice to manufacturers and assist with skills to facilitate sales to the multiples. "We are talking about a billion pound business here that could be created overnight without any extra manpower but we need an independent policing board," said Syed. "The creation of a Halal meat and food board for the UK, free of food business interests, will mean all the products can be correctly policed. "We are gaining a lot of momentum now with enormous interest expressed. A lot of multiples are asking about Halal now. Apart from the export business, a lot of corner shops will have a big market created for them with proper certification." The British Muslim population is estimated as three million but consumers of Halal meat in this country are near double that, said Syed, as Halal is consumed by Caribbean and African groups as well. "And Halal meat is the basic ingredient for an authentic curry," added Syed. Throughout the supply chain, uncertainties exist about Halal authenticity and quality with many products sold as Halal but in essence not Halal, he said. Syed is hopeful EU accreditation for the board can take place before the end of the year with launch next year. The MLC confirmed this week it was building contacts as Halal is now "quite a large sector of the lamb market". {{NEWS }}