Castel di Sasso, 21 June (AKI) – A company in Italy’s southern Campania region has won certification for the first ‘halal’ buffalo milk mozzarella cheese made according to strict Islamic principles.
The La Baronia company based at Castel di Sasso near Naples has been awarded ‘halal’ status for its mozzarella from Italy’s Zayd Ibn Thabit Islamic Culture Association and TUV food-certification agency.
To be certified as ‘halal’ buffalo-milk mozzarella, alcohol-based chemicals must not be used in the cleaning of equipment and the mozzarella must carry the date it was produced as well as its sell-by date.
‘This initiative is a sign of the attention companies and public institutions are paying to religious minorities,” said Abdallah Massimo Cozzolino, an imam at Naples’ Mosque and the president of the Zayd Ibn Thabit Islamic Culture Association.
”Finally it will be possible to find halal products on the supermarket shelves and this is a step forward for integration too”.
The subtly flavoured buffalo-milk cheese is prized as a delicacy in Italy and abroad and to be authentic must not contain a drop of cow milk and must be produced according to time-honoured traditional methods.
‘Halal’ buffalo-milk mozzarella is the latest product to tap into the lucrative foodstuffs market for the world’s 1.2 billion plus Muslims, which is growing at a rate of over 10 percent annually.
The market for ‘halal’ food products is estimated to be four times as large as that for organic foods.
Some countries even make ‘halal’ certification a condition for the importation of food items.