News From : DagangHalal.com (11 Apr 2009)
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency is planning an inspection of beef jerky across the country after several samples were found to contain pork, a ministry official said.
The ministry’s director general for mass guidance on Islam, Nasaruddin Umar, said the inspections would also be carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade.
“There has been rising concern, especially among Muslims, over pork-laced beef jerky and beef floss after samples were found last week in Bogor, West Java [Province],” he said.
Several samples tested by the agency, or BPOM, had been proven to contain pork.
“This cannot be allowed and should be stopped,” Nasaruddin said.
He said the inspection was not only aimed at protecting consumers but to ensure that producers were “clean, ” adding that the inspection of all beef jerky and beef floss producers would not be limited to just a few samples.
Nasaruddin said the government needed to know whether or not people, especially Muslims, were consuming non-halal food.
The inspections would also involve the Indonesian Council of Ulema’s Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics, or LP POM.
The council became involved following reports that some products containing pork were being labelled with halal stickers.
“This should be checked again, whether or not the labels were truly given by LP POM,” Nasartuddin said. “Do they really have halal certificates [issued by the LP POM]? Or are they just deceiving consumers?”
He said the inspections would be conducted throughout the country and the results would be released publicly.
The inspections would include DNA testing, to determine whether or not each product contained pork, with any resulting actions to be handled by BPOM.
“Those who insist on continuing this will have their businesses closed,” Nasaruddin said.
Muhamad Nadratuzzaman Hosen, LP POM’s director, said his agency would help BPOM test products in at least 20 provinces.
However, he said that to date, there was no actual regulation that compelled industries to have their products tested by LP POM.
According to the food law, food producers are allowed to label their products halal without LP POM certification, he said, adding that false claims could expose firms to fines of up to Rp 2 billion ($176,000).
“To have a certificate from LP POM is voluntary, not compulsory,” he said.
“This test of beef jerky is absolutely a BPOM duty. We’re just helping.”
SOURCE FROM : http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news