Most local food not officially halal: MUI

| 07/01/2010 | Reply

Hans David Tampubolon ,  The Jakarta Post

The
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) says the majority of food products
circulating on the Indonesian market have not passed official halal
certification.

Such certification means food products are safe to be consumed by Muslims, MUI says.

“Of
around 30,000 food products circulating in Indonesia, around 80 percent
do not have an official halal certificate,” MUI Food and Drug Analysis
Agency (LPPOM MUI) director Lukmanul Hakim said as quoted by detik.com
at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Despite the fact that
officially halal products constituted only a fifth of products
available in Indonesia, Lukmanul said there had also been a growing
awareness among consumers about the necessity for official halal
certification of their daily consumable goods.

Lukmanul also said
the LPPOM MUI would face much stronger challenges in the future, as
Indonesia had entered a free trade era with China and member states of
the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“There will be a lot of [new] products from abroad circulating in the Indonesia,” he said.

Tariffs on 7,881 goods traded between six ASEAN founding nations were lifted on Jan. 1.

Meanwhile,
MUI chairman Maruf Amin said the council’s standards for issuing a
halal certification were internationally recognized.

“Today, countries in Europe as well as Australia and the US use MUI procedures and regulations as a guide,” he said.

Maruf
also said MUI had been requested by Australia and New Zealand to
supervise and determine minimum standards required for the issuance of
halal certification in those countries.

However, Indonesian
Association of Halal Product Manufacturers (APPHI) chairman Paulus Y.
Rusli said MUI still needed to improve its halal certification system.

“There
are a lot of complaints from foreign producers. They say their
products, which have already received expensive halal certification in
their country, are not [automatically] recognized as halal here,” he
said.

“So, I think it would be better if we all had the same standards,” he added.

Paulus also hoped the LPPOM MUI could improve its working agreements with food producers.

“In
the past, [MUI] has tried to find things we are doing wrong. The
council should have more faith in us, because we want to be completely
open and honest with what we are producing,” he said.

“Hopefully, things will improve, and we also hope the cost of halal certification will not become more expensive,” he said.

Category: Asia, Halal Integrity, Indonesia

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