Philippines: Guidelines for halal certification issued

IN A BID to further develop the halal industry in the country, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) yesterday published the criteria and guidelines for the accreditation of halal certification entities.

NCMF Resolution No. 46, signed on Dec. 19 and published Tuesday, lists the finalized qualification criteria for accreditation of halal certification entities/bodies.

The criteria was formulated by the Philippine Halal Development and Accreditation Board after various consultations with concerned stakeholders and submitted for approval to the NCMF for its imprimatur.

It covers both local and foreign bodies/entities that seek to certify Philippine food and non-food products as halal for commercial purposes.

The body/entity seeking accreditation must comply with the following qualifications. They should:

• be a Muslim organization duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or any appropriate agency of the government;

• have at least one Shari’ah expert or a council of Ulama in its active membership, who is directly involved in the rendering of decision whether a certain product is halal or not;

• have a signatory to the Halal certificates who is a reputable ulama who possesses a degree in Shari’ah Law;

• have Muslim food technologists, microbiologists, chemists either as regular members or consultants, as well as personnel who have formal training on Halal monitoring and inspection;

• have a Halal laboratory or access to government-recognized Halal laboratories;

• have an existing guidelines and procedures on certification of Halal food and non-food products that generally conforms with the unified Halal Certification Scheme.

An application form together with other pertinent documents — such as the SEC certificate of registration and sample of Halal certificates and logo used — shall be submitted to and received by the NCMF Board Secretariat at least two weeks before the date of actual audit on the office and operations of the body/entity seeking accreditation.

The application will be checked by the Evaluation committee of the Halal Board that shall make appropriate recommendation to the Board.

The NCMF en banc shall be the final approving body and shall issue an accreditation certificate or license.

An amount of P30,000 shall be charged to the body/entity whose application for accreditation is approved.

They shall also be responsible for the cost of audit on its office and actual operations that shall be incurred by the audit team and Halal Board, including transportation and accommodation, composed of not less than two but not more than four personnel.

Meanwhile, the Halal Board and/or its deputized partner agencies shall monitor Halal compliance of manufacturing plant, areas or abattoirs.

The suspension of license for a minimum of three months to a maximum of one year will be due to failure of the certification body in monitoring the Halal status or Halal compliance of processing plants or areas and abattoirs, and failure of the certification body to submit quarterly updated reports on the monitoring and inspection activities of the concerned plants or areas and abattoirs.

If a license is revoked, it will be due to the following infractions: the certification body/entity loses its legal status by law; revocation of its registration with concerned regulatory government agency (i.e. SEC); deliberate violation of the criteria and guidelines; resignation or total absence of its ulama member/s and Muslim scientists; and continued violation on grounds for suspension beyond the maximum one-year suspension period.

The validity of the certificate or license is two years.

The NCMF Halal Board shall notify the certification body/entity two months before the expiration of the certificate or license.

The application for renewal of license should be submitted one month before the date of expiration. The cost of renewal of accreditation will be P10,000 annually, for up to five consecutive years. — Johanna D. Poblete