International Halal Food Conference in Belgium a Great Success


Europe’s only premier Halal event, the International Halal Food
Conference organized by Islamic Food Council of Europe (IFCE), returned
to Brussels this year. The event had moved to Amsterdam in 2006
following a highly successful inauguration in 2004 in Brussels.

third international Halal Food Conference, held on 21 November 2008 at
the Sheraton Hotel, Brussels Zaventem Airport, Belgium was an
astounding success attracting around 50 food industry professionals
from 15 countries.

The prestigious biennial event got bigger and gained higher prominence
this year. The event was graced by Madam Wan Suraya Radzi, Minister
Counsellor for Economic Affairs of the Malaysian Embassy. Distinguished
guests include Dr Hartiulistyoso Edy, Agricultural Attaché of the
Indonesian Embassy. He is also the President of the Indonesian Muslims
Association in Brussels and Ms Deborah Lee, 1st Secretary (Commercial)
of the Singapore Embassy.

The attendance of such important guests marks
the surge of importance of the Halal industry in Europe and the
credibility of IFCE being the premier Halal certification expert
throughout Europe. The event was supported by the Indonesian Council of
Ulama (MUI) and the Halal Industry Development Corporation of Malaysia

Drs Hj Amidhan Shaberah, Chairman, MUI kick-started the conference with
a huge welcome from the audience. He presented Halal investment
opportunities in Indonesia. He responded to many questions from the
floor with regards to Indonesian Halal policies. Drs Hj Amidhan
expressed strong support and recognition of IFCE as a credible Halal
certifier of Europe. He commended IFCE’s ability to organize three
international halal food conferences. The event added to the stature
and credibility of IFCE as the premier halal certification body in
Europe, matched by no other halal certifier in the region.

Next, Ustaz Hj Zainal Abidin Jaffar, Senior Manager, Halal Integrity
Division, HDC introduced the new authority in Malaysian Halal
certification. He shared with the conference the comprehensive
Malaysian Halal Standard, the MS1500. He also updated the conference on
some developments in Malaysia’s Halal certification. He iterated that
IFCE is a Malaysian recognized Halal certifier in Europe and a partner
to HDC.

Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, President, Islamic Food and Nutrition
Council of America (IFANCA) presented a conference paper on the
developments in Halal certification. A mind-opening presentation, he
shared on the history and current activities in the Halal industry and
markets. The evolution of Halal from self-produced Halal meals to the
multi billion dollar industry today was particularly interesting to all

Shahlan Hairalah, an international Halal consultant with years of
special interest in Halal science, marketing and economics, presented
the current and future trends of global Halal certification. He
revealed the various regional markets and the rise of the middle class
affecting Halal consumption globally. He emphasized the importance of
the 4 Forces of Successful Halal Trade as the key in reaping all-round
benefits of the surging Halal industry.

Other guests included conference speakers from multi-national
corporations. They are Donald Sgontz from Abbott Laboratories,
Christine Lodder from Mead Johnson, Jes Knudsen from Novozymes, Mark
Overland from of Cargill Inc, Etienne Maillard from Lesaffre and Mark
Van Mulders from Puratos. All spoke very highly of IFCE; about timely
hosting of the conference and their relationships with the certifying
body, IFCE. All of them shared how they had systemically implemented
IFCE’s Halal program in producing high quality and premium products.
They stressed the importance of selecting a Halal certifier that shares
their corporate mission and expresses high levels of integrity and
capability. In this important and critical aspect of business they
expressed great satisfaction to have chosen IFANCA in the USA and IFCE
in Europe.

Mufti Ebrahim Desai, Chief Religious Advisor for IFCE presented an
Islamic perspective on the commitment to producing and certifying halal
products. From Ceylon Jamiyyatul Ulama, Sri Lanka, J. T. Mahmud
presented the Sri Lankan experience in Halal certification.

Another IFCE associate Dr Jabbar Khattak, biotechnologist and auditor
presented a paper on the status of biotechnology in halal certification.

Professor Dr. Hj. Mohamed Sadek, Chairman of IFCE and the chief
conference organizer, concluded the conference by summarizing the
presentations. In his closing remarks, he thanked all participants and
speakers for their continued support to the conference and to IFCE. He
urged participants to continue their strong support and contribution in
meeting the demands of Halal markets.

Dr. Sadek promised the food
industry that IFCE will keep providing the halal services, second to
none and IFCE halal certificates will remain acceptable in all
countries, especially, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Participants
gave IFCE and Dr. Sadek a standing ovation in agreement and for their
excellent achievements over the years.