Turkish minister: Int’l council needed for halal food

Nurettin Canikli calls for standardization, certifications amid growth of $1 trillion halal food industry

By P Prem Kumar

nurettin-canikli-jpg20150401123539Turkey’s Minister of Customs and Trade has urged Muslim countries and halal food producers to cooperate in creating a council under the Organization of the Islamic Conference for the prosperity of the industry and the benefit of consumers.

Speaking at the World Halal Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Nurettin Canikli said halal should be the center of attractions among Muslim countries, as the demand for such food is growing each day due to consumption among both Muslims and non-Muslims.

“The growth of the halal industry requires all of us to have a supreme council which will standardize all decisions and certifications. This would enhance the reliability of halal food among consumers,” he said.

Explaining that the halal food sector has a worth of more than $1 trillion, he stressed the need for certification enforcement departments and harmonization among producers.

“No countries should say its own certification is the best. What is best in your country would not be applicable in another country, which then is an issue for exporters and importers of such products,” he added. “It should no longer be my rules but our rules.”

Regarding halal food security, Canikli said consumers tend to make mistakes by assuming that all food items produced in Muslim nations must be halal, even though studies have proved that some non-halal [ingredients] could be added.

“I am not naming any countries but at the same time, we cannot say that all products coming from Muslim countries are halal,” he said.

Turkey had initiated a study to examine food items from Western countries and their ingredients, particularly gelatin, according to the minister.