More than 20 Islamic organisations that are paid to certify Australian meat as halal are among food certifiers being quietly reviewed by the Abbott government.

The review, which has not been publicly announced and begun in the past two months, involves a number of government departments sharing information about the "fit and proper standing" of halal certifiers and groups that provide organic meat certification.

The existence of the review emerged at a public hearing of the Senate inquiry into the third-party certification of food – otherwise known as Senator Cory Bernardi's halal inquiry.

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