News From : DagangHalal.com (17 Jul 2009)
Following a global trend in the certification and sale of halal foods (products prepared in accordance with Islamic law), Muslim countries have developed a draft of common standards for the halal food market.
Working under the supervision of the Islamic Development Agency (İKT), the Halal Standards Preparation Committee, established by experts from 52 countries, has recently produced a draft of mutually agreed upon standards. The newly prepared standard draft was reviewed by experts in a meeting in Ankara this April. It is expected that the halal standards will be given their final shape following a conference to be held in İstanbul in October. The Foreign Trade Undersecretariat (DTM), the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) and Turkish Accreditation Agency have all taken part in the committee’s deliberations.
The experts emphasize that it is of the utmost importance for Muslim countries to define a mutual halal standard and market halal foods within that framework. Current halal standards are numerous and differ from one another; each country applies its own criteria. For a sustainable improvement in trade among Muslim countries, halal standards should be established on a common ground. The list of standards is also expected to weed out differences in interpretation of Islamic rules among Muslim countries, a major obstacle to an atmosphere of healthy trade and competition. The İKT standards will be valid only among Muslim countries until they are reviewed and verified by an authorized international body, posing a problem for the global marketing of halal products.
Turkey pioneers work on halal standards
As a fast-growing economy centrally located between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, Turkey has pioneered the current studies on launching halal standards. This is an important fact in an atmosphere where countries such as Iran, the UAE, Kuwait and Pakistan are pressing for others to adopt their own views on halal standards for the international trade platform. Turkey could serve well as a catalyst to this end with liberal policies minimizing discord in the Muslim trade world. There are currently debates over the specifics of a common halal food standard that will appeal to all sides in the Muslim world; sectarian differences of opinion fuel these problems. Most of the discussions focus on details concerning the slaughter of animals. Islam commands that an animal must be slaughtered in a specific way. Releasing the blood of animals by means of a sharp object, cutting a specific place in a specific manner, doing it for the sake of Allah alone and mentioning his name over the animal during slaughter are all necessary. Recent scientific research has found this to be a method that best drains blood from the carcass — to Muslims, blood is unhygienic and harmful — without posing any health danger from brain and spinal cord tissue. The committee expects to define a mutual standard for this issue during the October meeting.
Having gained importance in global markets in recent years, the concept of halal products has spread to many countries. South Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Singapore and Thailand have already adopted halal standards, and they have quickly discovered the potential in the halal product market: The global halal market is worth an estimated $2 trillion in trade. However, this giant market still lacks a certification body. Halal certification will cover not only food, but will also have rules regarding the packaging, transporting, labeling and logistics of food. Preparation procedures will also be analyzed to ensure their accordance with halal standards. These standards will be applied to hotel operation, pharmacies, cosmetics, medical instruments and many other businesses.
Source: Today’s Zaman with Wires Istanbul