UAE: Government certification to be must for halal products

Sajila Saseendran, Khaleej Times

Dubai Accreditation Centre announces launching of a scheme of Halal accreditation for Halal certification bodies.

Will cover all procedures, products of the food chain in Dubai

Halal logoAll Halal meat products and slaughtering facilities will require government certification after Dubai introduces its new accreditation norms for the Halal industry in 2014, a senior official has said.

The Director of the Dubai Accreditation Centre (DAC), Amina Ahmed Mohammed, announced that the DAC is launching a scheme of Halal accreditation for Halal certification bodies. This is in line with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the emirate to become the hub and centre of Islamic economy.

Efforts to regulate Halal products had received a major boost at the recently held 8th Dubai International Food Safety Conference, where experts highlighted the need for standardising Halal products. Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) is working on formulating a comprehensive framework to be laid down by 2014. DAC’s official announcement follows these developments under the directives of Hussain Nasser Lootah, the Director-General of the Dubai Municipality.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Mohammed said the standardisation and certification of meat products and slaughtering will be given first priority as they make up the most important part of the Halal industry. “It will not be easy to cover all Halal products. We will have to go phase by phase. We will start with the critical products, and cosmetics will be included in the second stage.”

After covering the slaughtering services and meat products, she said, the mandatory accreditation will be implemented for other Halal food products. “This will include all procedures and products involved in the food chain… from farm to the fork…from raw materials to food processing and transportation.”

She said the DAC will start receiving applications from certifying companies by the beginning of next year. “We are the third party independent body checking the checkers. That means we will be accrediting the companies that will certify Halal products and facilities. We are waiting for further announcement on the Islamic economy (from the government) and for guidelines on the standards for the Halal industry from Esma to begin extending our services to the Halal sector.”

The global Halal food industry is reportedly valued at $685 billion (Dh2.5 trillion), of which $83 billion is attributable to the GCC countries.

Being the only internationally recognized accreditation body in the Gulf region, DAC provides recognized accreditation services to other GCC countries as well. As of now, more than 200 laboratories, certification companies and inspection companies are accredited by the DAC, which is also a full time member and signatory of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

The DAC is also a member of the accreditation committee of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Countries), which earns it specific recognition of all accredited bodies of all OIC countries.