News From : DagangHalal.com (27 Apr 2009)
The Food Auditing and Certification Research Association (GİMDES) will for the first time in Turkey soon begin issuing halal food certificates, bringing the country one step closer to winning a share from the giant global market for halal food — food prepared in accordance with Islamic law, which has reached $2 trillion in size.
Muhammad Zein Nasution, vice director for certification at the Indonesian Council of Ulamas (MUI), recently gave presentations on halal certification procedures and requirements to GİMDES officials. Halal food certification was first launched in Singapore, a predominantly non-Muslim country. The halal food concept has gained in importance in recent years, and halal products are in high demand worldwide. The certification system has also been developed in Western countries. Turkey has, however, lacked such a system, and GİMDES is looking to change this.
The 2nd International Halal Food Conference began in İstanbul’s Feshane conference hall on Saturday with the attendance of experts from 12 countries. Speaking at the inauguration of the meeting, GİMDES Chairman Hüseyin Büyüközer said they had been working to introduce halal food certification in Turkey for the past 25 years and are glad to have made such progress.
Büyüközer said four Turkish firms have already applied to receive certificates and that they expect to issue these certificates as soon as possible, underlining that Turkish consumers have long been looking forward to such a development. He said the entire production process of a food item “from farm to kitchen” will be compatible with halal food requirements. Halal standards also regulate the packaging, transportation, labeling and logistics of foods. Additionally, preparation procedures are analyzed to ensure their conformance with halal standards.
Underlining that there are different types of halal food certificates issued in 60 countries today, the GİMDES head said the conference aims to unite all Muslim entrepreneurs under one single roof and introduce one valid certification system. “This issue interests some 2 billion Muslims in the world,” he added. He said Turkey has the chance to compensate for losses in exports due to shrinking demand in EU and Russian markets by entering new markets with halal food certificates.
Some 24 speakers from the US, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of South Africa were scheduled to give speeches at the İstanbul meeting, which was due to end on Sunday.
Seeing the potential, even non-Muslim countries such as Vietnam began taking important steps to produce foodstuffs in conformity with the standards. In 2007, the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) stepped up initiatives to meet increasing demand for halal food both globally and domestically.