Committee works to draft halal food standards

Committee works to draft halal food standards - Following a global trend in the certification and sale of halal foods (products prepared in accordance with Islamic law), Muslim countries have developed a draft of common standards for the halal food market.

a global trend in the certification and sale of halal foods (products
prepared in accordance with Islamic law), Muslim countries have
developed a draft of common standards for the halal food market.

under the supervision of the Islamic Development Agency (?KT), the
Halal Standards Preparation Committee, established by experts from 52
countries, has recently produced a draft of mutually agreed upon
standards. The newly prepared standard draft was reviewed by experts in
a meeting in Ankara this April. It is expected that the halal standards
will be given their final shape following a conference to be held in
?stanbul in October. The Foreign Trade Undersecretariat (DTM), the
Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) and Turkish Accreditation Agency have
all taken part in the committee’s deliberations.

The experts
emphasize that it is of the utmost importance for Muslim countries to
define a mutual halal standard and market halal foods within that
framework. Current halal standards are numerous and differ from one
another; each country applies its own criteria. For a sustainable
improvement in trade among Muslim countries, halal standards should be
established on a common ground. The list of standards is also expected
to weed out differences in interpretation of Islamic rules among Muslim
countries, a major obstacle to an atmosphere of healthy trade and
competition. The ?KT standards will be valid only among Muslim
countries until they are reviewed and verified by an authorized
international body, posing a problem for the global marketing of halal

Turkey pioneers work on halal standards

As a
fast-growing economy centrally located between Europe, Central Asia and
the Middle East, Turkey has pioneered the current studies on launching
halal standards. This is an important fact in an atmosphere where
countries such as Iran, the UAE, Kuwait and Pakistan are pressing for
others to adopt their own views on halal standards for the
international trade platform. Turkey could serve well as a catalyst to
this end with liberal policies minimizing discord in the Muslim trade
world. There are currently debates over the specifics of a common halal
food standard that will appeal to all sides in the Muslim world;
sectarian differences of opinion fuel these problems. Most of the
discussions focus on details concerning the slaughter of animals. Islam
commands that an animal must be slaughtered in a specific way.
Releasing the blood of animals by means of a sharp object, cutting a
specific place in a specific manner, doing it for the sake of Allah
alone and mentioning his name over the animal during slaughter are all
necessary. Recent scientific research has found this to be a method
that best drains blood from the carcass — to Muslims, blood is
unhygienic and harmful — without posing any health danger from brain
and spinal cord tissue. The committee expects to define a mutual
standard for this issue during the October meeting.

Having gained
importance in global markets in recent years, the concept of halal
products has spread to many countries. South Africa, New Zealand,
Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Singapore and Thailand have already adopted
halal standards, and they have quickly discovered the potential in the
halal product market: The global halal market is worth an estimated $2
trillion in trade. However, this giant market still lacks a
certification body. Halal certification will cover not only food, but
will also have rules regarding the packaging, transporting, labeling
and logistics of food. Preparation procedures will also be analyzed to
ensure their accordance with halal standards. These standards will be
applied to hotel operation, pharmacies, cosmetics, medical instruments
and many other businesses.

17 July 2009, Friday