GCC Panel to issue halal food guidelines

Panel to issue halal food guidelines

12/24/2007 10:58 PM | By Shakir Husain, Staff Reporter

An industry panel has been set up to issue guidelines on how halal food
is produced and sold, a move that seeks to streamline the estimated
$500 billion a year global market.

Delegates attending the recent Global Halal and Islamic Business
Forum in Abu Dhabi called for the setting up of “monitoring offices”
around the world to work with “recognised Islamic centres to conform to
the halal protocols for all foodstuffs to be imported into the GCC

Halal literally means what is permissible in Islam and halal food
must be free from alcohol, pork and other substances Muslims are
prohibited from consuming.

Khalid Al Zamoul, a representative of Kuwait Municipality, said a
committee will be formed to enforce guidelines of the Muslim World
League, a Makkah-based organisation, regarding the slaughter of animals
and food production in accordance with Sharia.

According to a statement issued by the forum organisers yesterday,
the responsibilities of the new committee will include the development
and implementation of educational programmes for food manufacturers.


The forum, which ran alongside Halal World Expo this month, was
attended by Khalid Sharif Awadi from Dubai Municipality, UAE food
safety consultant Amin Mohammad Yousuf and Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah Ali
from Bahrain’s Ministry of Health.

“The halal industry needs this kind of platform to discuss vital
issues affecting businesses throughout the world. The discussions will
have a direct impact on the growth and direction of the global halal
industry. What happens in the Middle East will have an immediate knock
on effect to standards around the world,” said Abdul Hamid David Evans,
a halal industry expert and managing director of Imarat consulting firm.

Leading food companies have intensified efforts to target Muslim
consumers with their “halal” labels, leading to calls for stringent
halal standards within the industry.

More than 80 per cent of the GCC’s total food imports are estimated to be in the halal category, according to industry sources.

Globally, the halal market is estimated to be $500 billion, with the food segment alone being $150 billion.

However, figures vary on the exact size of the market. The Port of
Rotterdam Authority in the Netherlands, which seeks to promote its
logistics facilities for the European halal supply chain, said the
total annual consumption value of all halal products globally was more
than 500 billion euros ($717 billion).

Outside key Muslim markets, Europe’s 30 million Muslims are seen as a lucrative segment of the halal market.

Nestle is among the first multinational firms that took a lead in
having their products halal certified for Muslim consumers and uses
Malaysia as its hub the halal business.