Bangladesh gets OIC’s SMIIC membership to certify halal foods

New Age Bangladesh

Bangladesh has recently become a member of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries, an affiliated institution of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, that gives food and other goods’ certification, especially as halal, for member countries.

Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution soon will start its services on the basis of the SMIIC standard as the country exports different food and non-food items to the OIC member countries.

Exporters said that the certification would help to explore more markets and export diversified items to OIC countries.

Bangladesh Fruits Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters’ Association president SM Jahangir said that Bangladesh produces all halal goods as it is a Muslim majority country but some countries demand halal certification on the products.

‘Export of the products that require halal certification will expand to OIC countries from now,’ he hoped.

International cooperation wing deputy secretary Mohammad Showkat Ali of the Ministry of industries told New Age that as the government allowed BSTI to get the SMIIC membership as this certification might boost export.

An official letter from the ministry to the BSTI issued on June 30 stated that the BSTI would pay Tk 32 lakh for the membership.

BSTI, which is already certifying the halal foods in cooperation with other agencies for domestic market, will start its certification process soon, said officials.

BSTI certification wing director Md Nurul Amin said that Bangladesh was nominated for the membership earlier.

He said that BSTI needs to wait two more years to issue halal certification under the logo of SMIIC as the agency will take the time to observe the BSTI’s expertise.

Bangladesh is one of the consumer good exporters to the Muslim majority countries particularly to the Middle East where halal certification of food is very important.

BSTI officials said that SMIIC membership will help them to get technical and training support from the international organisation.

‘Now, BSTI can give halal certificate of goods for international market as a member of SMIIC,’ said BSTI deputy director Md Reazul Haque.

BSTI is providing halal certification of five products — food and processed food, livestock and fisheries, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and canned food for domestic market.

Officials said the affiliation would enhance the capacity of BSTI’s laboratory and staff as well.

They said some countries demand halal certificate for many products, including leather and clothing items.

SMIIC was established in 2010 as the competent body of the OIC, the second largest inter-governmental organisation, for developing standards and achieving uniformity in metrology, laboratory testing and standardisation activities among member states.

At present, there are 46 members and three observers of SMIIC with its headquarters in Istanbul while OIC has 57 members.