Turkey: Turkey to issue “Halal” certificates as of Fall 2011

Chairman of the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE), Hulusi Senturk, said Thursday that a list of standards for “halal food” was accepted by 33 Islamic countries in a meeting that took place in Cameroon on May 16 and 17.

“Halal” is an Arabic word meaning “lawful” or “permissible”, and the term not only covers food and drink, but also to all matters of daily life. When it comes to halal food, most people think of meat foods only. However, Muslims must ensure that all foods, particularly processed foods, pharmaceuticals, and non-food items like cosmetics, are also halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies.

Speaking to reporters, Senturk said that the TSE began a process whereby Turkish food standards would be identical to the “halal food” standards of the Islamic countries.

As of fall 2011, we will begin issuing “halal” certificates in Turkey, Senturk said.

The “halal food” market is worth around 930 billion USD per year. We have to make sure that Turkish entrepreneurs can compete in this market by complying with “halal food” standards, Senturk said.

There are around 1.8 billion Muslims across the globe.

“What is Halal?”

The word “halal” refers to an object or action that is permissible according to Sharia. Halal meat is slaughtered according to the method of animal slaughter prescribed by Sharia.

This method involves:

-Slaughtering with a swift, deep cut using a sharp knife on the neck,

-Cutting the jugular veins but leaving the spinal cord intact,

-The premises, machinery, and equipment is cleansed according to Sharia before any production takes place,

-The animals are permitted for consumption,

-The animal is of the permitted age, raised on halal feed ingredients,

-Slaughtering is done by a Muslim and facing the Qibla or direction of the Ka’aba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia,

-Reciting the takbeer: the words “Allahu Akbar”,

-Pre-stunning an animal is prohibited,

-After slaughtering, the body is hung upside down to drain the blood.