Philippines: Halal certification accreditation guidelines OK’d

ACCREDITATION GUIDELINES for Halal certification bodies have been approved in a bid to tap the $1.2-trillion global market, the Philippine Exporters Confederation reported in a statement on Friday.

The Philippine Halal Development and Accreditation Board, an attached agency of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), announced on Friday the new criteria and rules at the Trade department’s Halal Forum.

Under the new accreditation guidelines, Halal certification bodies must fulfill the following:

• must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or any appropriate agency;

• include Halal certification as a specific objective in the body’s constitution and by-laws;

• has at least one Shari’ah expert or a Council of Ulama member active in the body;

• has a Halal laboratory or access to government-recognized Halal facilities; and

• has existing guidelines and procedures on certification of Halal food and nonfood products that complies with the unified Halal Certification Scheme.

Agencies or companies interested to certify Halal merchandise and producers can apply with the NCMF Halal Board Secretariat. Accredited bodies must then pay P30,000 to become a registered certification authority. The license can be renewed annually for P10,000 in the first five years, after which, accreditation need only be renewed every three years.

The government has long expressed interest in transforming the country into a competitive exporter of Halal goods to gain a foothold in the industry which grows by $500 billion yearly.

Efforts to develop the local Halal industry began in 2001 when the secretaries of Trade, Agriculture, Health, Science, and the executive director of the Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA) signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an ad-hoc committee on Halal food.

Eight years later, the government enacted Republic Act 9997 that abolished the OMA and created the NCMF with an encompassing and exclusive power to regulate and develop the Halal industry.

The NCMF is mandated to “promote and develop the Philippine Halal Industry and accredit halal-certifying entities/bodies for the benefit of Muslim Filipinos and in partnership with appropriate agencies, individuals and institutions here and abroad,” the act read under Article II, Section 8.

Eliza J. Diaz BusinessWorldOnline