More RP halal-compliant exports sought

More RP halal-compliant exports sought

December 29, 2009, 5:59pm

The Philippines has to adopt the Australian approach for halal meat
and meat products to get a bigger pie of the $150 billion halal market.

This was determined after government and industry representatives
led by Trade and Industry Senior Undersecretary Thomas Aquino went to
Australia to gain a first hand knowledge on the best practices of
Australia’s halal meat processing system through actual plant visits
witnessing of proper halal procedures on the slaughter of cattle,
sheep, goats, and chicken and informative briefings as well.

The term halal, which means “permissible” in Arabic, refers to
anything that is allowed under Islam. In the non-Arabic-speaking world,
it is most often used to describe food that can be consumed by
observant Muslims. Halal standards are complementary with other food
standards, such as the Good Manufacturing Practice and the
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.

The global halal market is estimated to be 1.6 billion consumers in
112 countries in five continents and worth around $80 billion to $150

While the Philippine mission has realized that not all features of
the Australian system are applicable to the Philippines, the mission
identified areas for adoption in the Philippines.

For instance, being a non-Muslim country, the Australian national
government’s intervention was focused on halal meat exports to ensure
access to foreign markets.

Setting up of a similar approach would be appropriate considering
that halal has a religious dimension that would readily fit into the
country’s regulatory framework, Aquino said.

The training of Filipino Muslim slaughtermen especially those who
will be chosen to work on halal meat for exports will raise the bar of
halal conformance in the country.

The potential use of an export certificate for halal meat and/or
meat products possibly by introducing a modified veterinary quarantine
certificate being issued by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS)
was recommended. This will strengthen the acceptability of halal
certification issued by Philippine Islamic organizations.

Likewise, it was recommended that strengthening of the institutional
capacity of the National Halal Accreditation Board in its function of
accreditation of halal certifying bodies and training of Filipino
Muslim slaughtermen be undertaken.

The promotion in the Philippines of a number of certifiers should
encourage competition among them to the benefit of meat processors and
halal meat consumers.

Initial consultations of the Philippine Mission Members with their
Australian hosts and Islamic organizations showed interests to secure
for the Philippines technical assistance in the assessment of halal
certification capability of the Philippines and through the training of
Filipino Muslim trainors and slaughtermen.

The biggest concentration of Muslim consumers are in Indonesia with
212 million, Pakistan with 158 million, Bangladesh with 127 million,
Egypt with 69 million, Iran with 67 million, Turkey with 66 million,
and Nigeria with 64 million.

Non-Muslim countries with sizable Muslim population include India
with 174 million, China with 38 million, Russia with 11 million, USA
with 7 million, the Philippines with 5 million, and Thailand with 4.5