UAE: OIC picks Esma as regulator for halal cosmetics

By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter, Gulf News

Dubai The Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (Esma) is finalising unified halal codes for perfumes and cosmetics which will be a point of reference for firms around the world, wishing to market their products in Islamic countries.


“We are proud to have been chosen by OIC to carry out this task among all the regulatory bodies in the world, it speaks volumes about our work and the success we have had in setting standards in the country,” said Mohammad Saleh Badri, Director General of Esma, speaking exclusively to Gulf News.

Esma is looking to have the standards ready by early next year, which will then be sent to OIC for approval, following which all the firms who claim their products to be halal have to conform to Esma standards.

“We are the technical regulatory authority for OIC for perfumes and cosmetics like toothpaste, skin care products etc. Brands claiming to be halal and need to enter Islamic countries, no matter where they are based need to be certified by OIC according to standards set by us,” added Badri.

Two aspects

The standards in principle will be based on Sharia law, mainly looking at two aspects. The first will ensure that there are no traces of pork or its derivatives in the products, and that the derivatives present in the product are extracted from animals slaughtered in a halal way. The second is to ensure that there are no traces of alcohol beyond acceptable levels, Badri explained, describing what makes a product qualify as.

The unified scheme is being worked out to ensure there is no duplication of certification and will save firms from a lot of formalities, he added.

“We are working closely with OIC and other Islamic authorities, but It is not yet decided as to who will be issuing the certificates, we are setting the regulations and implementation will be worked out once the draft is ready,” said Badri.

The implementation of the scheme means all cosmetics brands entering countries affiliated with OIC, which are 56 in all, including the GCC and other Arab countries will have to comply to the standards.