Halal certificate to be issued by HAC from today
The Halal Compliance Certification for Sri Lankan industries will now be issued by the Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Ltd from today.
Halal compliance certification for Sri Lankan industries will now be issued by the Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Ltd., (HAC) effective from January 1st 2014. The company is set up under the Sri Lanka Companies Act No 7 of 2007, and has accreditation in 27 countries as of now.
“Halal compliance certification is an important part of doing business in the world today, and as such Sri Lankan Companies gearing their products to the export market, would find that this is an international standard that has to be followed, in order to do business in some key markets across the world. Therefore, HAC will meet a commercial requirement as this certification is like any other compliance standard, such as SLS or ISO,” says Ali Fatharally, CEO of HAC.
The compliance certification is a very thorough process to assure required standards for a wide range of industries which include FMCG, healthcare, pharmaceutical, etc., and HAC has a qualified technical team to handle the scientific process behind this compliance certification.
“All our internal processors are transparent and audited by reputed international firms” says the CEO.
HAC is primarily, a not for profit organization which is founded and managed by some of Sri Lanka’s top professionals who assures the country’s business community that international best practices will be maintained in Halal certification, whilst keeping within the guidelines.
“We can’t go beyond the fact that even though this certification has scientific and commercial implications, it is also based on religious and cultural principles. This certification is to ensure that consumers’ right of choice for Halal compliant products and services is facilitated in a responsible manner. One must also take into consideration a large international consumption market where Sri Lankan produce can be sold with such certification. It is a fact that there are close on 2 billion Muslims over the world who would exclusively buy Halal certified products” says Ali Fatharally.
According to global research firm AT Kearney, the global Halal market is estimated at US$ 2 trillion, making it one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world. This comprises of 67% of Food & Beverage, 22% of pharmaceuticals and 10% personal care and cosmetics.
“There is a high demand from commercial establishments in the country for this compliance certification. Already, 195 Sri Lankan companies, catering to both local and international markets, have requested HAC for certification and we are now auditing their manufacturing standards. HAC plans to speed up the process so that there will not be any impediments placed in the path of regular commerce in Sri Lanka,” says Ali Fatharally, CEO of HAC.
Halal compliance certification involves in depth auditing and monitoring and since it deals with various manufactories’, there is a team of trained technicians, food technologists and supervisors spread across the country to monitor compliance. However HAC is also specific that this accreditation is not a ‘must’ for local commerce.
“This certification is not forced upon anybody and HAC was established to cater to a national need and as far as we are concerned, there is no compulsion for any business to be Halal compliant. Also as much as we say we are a not for profit organisation, it does not mean our services are gratis. We employ a large number of professionals to ensure that best practices are maintained in this certification process. And therefore have to meet the cost in supporting the mechanism we have put in place” says the CEO of HAC.
The Division for Halaal Certification under the ACJU has stopped issuing Halal certificates effective 31st December 2013.
The latest development comes as a result of the expressions of Interest called from the public to facilitate the national need for contributing towards social cohesion and Sri Lanka’s economic development.
The role of ACJU in the future with regard to Halaal compliance audits and certifications would be, in providing consultations on any technicalities of the concept of Halaal compliance, as a social obligation and responsibility towards the Sri Lankan society while facilitating global requirements, ACJU said.
“The process that originated a few months ago, after consultations with various stakeholders, authorities and civil society representatives, the need for allowing an independent entity in the form of a company limited by guarantee, to facilitate this was deemed appropriate. The new company is expected to carry out compliance validation processes on request to meet both local consumer demands as well as international exports pre-requisites, similar to several other consumer good certifications currently available in Sri Lanka,” ACJU said.
ACJU says a transition plan is already in place for interested companies and existing firms to be introduced to the new entity based on requests from the commercial establishments.
The Halal issue was initially raised by the Bodhu Bala Sena who had opposed the Halal certification being issued by the ACJU. (Colombo Gazette)
Reacting to a statement by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) that it would stop issuing Halal certificates, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation said today that though they respect the right of Muslims to consume Halal products it should not be enforced on others.
BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaathe Ganasara Thera told a news conference that they had no objection with the Halal logo being used on export products through the Sri Lankan Standards Institution (SLS), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or through the Chamber of Commerce instead of those powers being vested in a company or on any other religious organisation.
The BBS said it was planning to re-launch the campaign against the enforcement of Halal products on those belonging to other religions.
“This new move by the ACJU proves that so far they have hoodwinked the public and the authorities as we believe that this new ‘unidentified company’ to be another part of the ACJU dressed in a different garb. So we are going to intervene in this matter.