Azerbaijan to develop “halal” products’ market

By Jamila Babayeva – Azer News

halal_newThe renewed ‘halal’ standard will soon be applied in Azerbaijan’s food market that almost fully covers its consumers’ demand.

The State Committee for Standardization, Metrology, and Patents will sanction the new “halal” standard in April 1, 2014, to protect consumers’ rights, prevent unhealthy competition, and increase public confidence in the domestic market.

The requirements are based on Islamic rules and extend to ingredients, preparation rules, storage, transportation, and employee requirements for production facilities.

This standard will set requirements on special packing, marking, export, and import.

The new quality standard is expected to boost “halal” products in the market and lead to positive tendencies.

“The new standard will increase competition among local producers, which will lead to price reduction,” expert of the Center for Economic and Social Development Narmin Ibrahimova told AzerNews. “Furthermore, the new quality standard will promote the use of new technologies.”

She said “halal” products will increase the consumers’ confidence and the demand for these products in the country.

“The new quality standard will have a positive impact on the export potential of such products, as the standard will meet respective international standards,” she concluded.

Islam has the dominating position in Azerbaijan, since approximately 95 percent of its population is Muslims. Naturally, “halal” products, which are allowed to eat or drink under the Islamic law, are in high demand among Muslims.

Azerbaijan’s local market offers a range of various “halal” foodstuffs for customers, which mainly include sausages and chicken products. The customers believe that the label “halal” means the products really meet all the requirements of this standard.

Halal certification is the recognition that the products are permissible under Islamic law. These products are thus edible, drinkable, or usable by Muslims. Muslim followers cannot consume pork or pork-related products, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered in the name of God, and products that have blood.

Azerbaijan approved three state “halal” standards which came into force on August 1, 2012. Until now none of the meat-food producers has ever applied to the Committee for getting the standards and produce fully “halal” food products.

The State Committee said the enterprises selling such goods will be given time to change the labels of the products, otherwise such products will be removed from the market.

The Committee will carry out its monitoring after April 1, and in case of finding cases of groundless label “halal”, measures aimed at suspending sale and production, as well as penalties, will be applied against the producers.