The 8th Multi-Lateral Recognition Arrangement Committee (MRAC) meeting of the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) has discussed the pressing need for the unification of halal criteria, especially now that the world is grappling with the disruption caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
IHAF, an independent, non-government network of accreditation bodies that aims to unify conformity assessments practices in halal, held a virtual meeting, which was attended by 42 participants from various organizations from different countries.
IHAF underscored that the current crisis had highlighted the need to expedite the sustainability of the halal standards unification, particularly now that conformity assessments activities have become more challenging due to the movement restrictions.
Dr Rehab Al Ameri, the Secretary-General of IHAF, said: “IHAF is committed to sustaining the unification of halal standards because we believe this is the best approach to boost international halal trade, especially in this current economic climate.”
The forum also tackled the importance of digitalization in conducting accreditation and certification assessments as well as the IHAF peer evaluations. At the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the industry recently turned to off-site assessments as a response to the impact of movement restrictions and the closing of borders. Members highlighted in the virtual discussion how remote auditing for the conformity assessments activities could make recognition wider, generate more schemes, and save more time and money.
“Digitalization has always been on the rise, but COVID-19 has sped up its adaption rate in various industries to survive its unprecedented impact,” Dr. Al Ameri added.
Brahim Houla of the GCC Accreditation Centre (GAC), the chairman of MRAC, also highlighted how technology could revolutionize the way assessments in halal are undertaken.
“One positive thing we can get out of this COVID-19 situation is that we are now more used to technology and that we see that it’s easier to have this work done remotely. Not to mention, it saves more time and money. We envision the future of halal to cope with all facets of digitalization, which can solidify the unification of halal standards,” Brahim Houla said.
IHAF currently has 38 accreditation body-members and stakeholders from 35 countries across six continents.
–TradeArabia News Service