India: Halal products must be certified and labelled

HalalHyderabad: With the annual global halal food market pegged at Rs 33,00,000 crore, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has now proposed that manufacturers, who want to label their products as ‘Halal’, should invariably get the necessary certification from an authorised religious agency.

The new draft rules framed by the FSSAI on food labelling claims has set a separate section in the proposed legislation for a provision to be made for claims related to religious or ritual practices like ‘halal’ or ‘jhatka’ so that the food conforms to the requirements of the appropriate religious or ritual authorities. It should also be certified by authorised agencies concerned.

Halal certification is gaining popularity worldwide and many manufacturers in India label their product ‘Halal’. But often such claims are not backed by certification, leaving scope for misuse. Section 12 of the draft Bill on food labelling claims states, “The Food Authority may at any time ask a manufacturer and/or brand owner of any food on which claims are being made to substantiate the claim…”

India has about a dozen major Halal certification agencies. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Halal Trust certifies Halal foods all over the country, including Hyderabad. According to the Jamiat, Halal certification is recognition that the products are permissible under Islamic law. “These products are, thus, edible or usable by Muslims. Halal certification from an established Islamic organisations helps to build consumer’s confidence witho-ut suspicion or doubt over the consumption of the products,” the Jamiat says.