- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Many Americans may not have much of a taste for lamb, but it’s a delicious dish for Muslim and Hispanic families — and U.S. lamb and sheep producers are eager to set those tables.

The American Lamb Board has been cultivating the 5.7 million Muslims who live in America and their $98 billion in spending power, said a report on National Public Radio this week in its food section, The Salt.

Ads for “pasture-to-plate lamb” are being planned for cities like Detroit, Chicago and New York, which have large Muslim populations, Megan Wortman, executive director of the American Lamb Board, told Luke Runyon of Harvest Public Media and KUNC in northern Colorado, whose report was used on NPR.

Animals must undergo certain slaughter and processing procedures to be considered “halal,” or suitable for sale to Muslim families, the report said.

U.S. ranchers, feedlot owners and processors are hoping to counter the imports of lamb from New Zealand and Australia.

For years, however, Americans have generally not included lamb in their menus, with the average American eating a half-pound of lamb a year, Mr. Runyon reported.

In contrast, Americans eat 50 pounds of beef and almost 90 pounds of chicken a year.

The American Lamb Board said in a report that it is eager to get more U.S. consumers to “lean on lamb,” including people who love to grill and also those in lamb-loving Muslim, Jewish, Lebanese, Mexican, Central American, Hindu, Greek, Italian, Eastern European and African communities.

Separately, a new report says the Muslim population in America is growing.

In 2007, Muslims accounted for 0.4 percent of the U.S. adult population, Pew Research Center said Tuesday in its large survey of religion in America.

In 2014, this had grown to 0.9 percent, or about 2.2 million adults out of a U.S. population of 245 million adults, Pew said.

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