Many Macedonian companies express interest in meeting Halal standards

‘Vigo-48’, ‘Pik Ko’ and ‘Makprogres’ are the first three Macedonian companies to be awarded with the Halal certificate. All of them are exporters of food products with already implemented Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system.

The Halal standard, whose implementation will enable domestic companies to enter a large market, means production of food in accordance to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic (Sharia) law. Halal product is a product that meets all the regulations on food safety, hygiene and sanitation, whose composition does not contain a single ingredient that is forbidden for Muslims to use, which applies the requirements of Halal production standards, and which does not use prohibited raw materials and other resources. As such, Halal product has no substitute and it is protected against competition.

Amir Sakic, Director of Bosnian Agency of Halal Quality Certification, says many companies connect Halal standards with the markets of contries with predominantly Muslim population.

“They forget that there are over five million consumers of Halal products only in our region, which is not a minor figure. On the other hand, our products also have access to European market, namely to 20 million potential consumers of such products,” Sakic said Thursday in Skopje at the certificate awarding ceremony.

Thus far the Agency has issued Halal certificates to 73 companies in the Balkan region, mostly Bosnian and Croatian, Sakic said.

Macedonia has recently joined the process, and considering the interest of businessmen, we believe the number of domestic producers that meet Halal standards is to be much higher, Sakic said.

Halal standard is a document that clearly defines procedures of Halal certification. Halal standard prescribes: what is allowed and what is forbidden to Muslims; how implementation of the provisions of Halal standards is certified and verified; how the Halal slaughter of animals is performed; how Halal products are marked; which additives are Halal, and which are not.

Domestic Islamic Religious Community (IVZ), in cooperation with B&H Agency for Halal Quality Certification, issues the Halal certificate in Macedonia.

Companies are implementing the Halal standard voluntarily, being driven exclusively by their commercial interest, said Jakup Selimovski, Head of the IVZ sector for religious education.

World Halal market meets the needs of 1.8 billion Muslim customers, while there are many non-Muslims who consume such products. Obtaining Halal certification opens the door of global Halal market to companies for sale of their products. Halal market is growing fast with more consumer awareness not only of food sector, but also of non-food products, like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, healthcare, toiletries and other non-consumable items.