DENVER – One of the fastest growing segments of US beef exports are halal products, according to the US Meat Export Federation. Halal certification, which certifies products have been processed and prepared according to Islamic guidelines, is required for export to most markets in the Middle East, as well as to Indonesia and Malaysia.

However, halal beef popularity is also growing in some areas in which halal certification is not required for entry, but is in high demand due to customer preference.

Halal certification is strictly required in Indonesia and Malaysia, said Sabrina Yin, USMEF director for the ASEAN region of Southeast Asia, who oversees Indonesia and Malaysia for the association. Markets where halal beef certification is not required for entry, such as Singapore, has a growing Muslim population and attracts many tourists from the Middle East. The same is true in southern Thailand near the border with Malaysia. In the Philippines, where the national population is heavily Catholic, halal beef is still in high demand in the southwestern portion of the country.

Although mainland China does not currently accept US beef, those products are also popular in that country. Even though halal certification is not required in China, it is increasingly common among beef products, said Joel Haggard, who is based in Hong Kong as the USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region.