HMCA Expertise

An Expert's View about Processed Meat in Canada

Last updated: 5 Jan 2012

All you should know about the Halal Concept

HALAL MONTREAL CERTIFICATION AUTHORITY STANDARDS ( HALAL FOOD, PRODUCTION, PREPARATION, HANDLING and STORAGE ) 1- GENERAL GUIDLINES : The average global halal food trade is estimated at $600 billion per year.There is, therefore, a tremenduous potential in the developement and production of halal products especially food. Halal products are gaining world wide recognition as a new benchmark for safety and quality assurance. Products that are halal certified are readily acceptable by Muslim consumers as well as consumers from other religions. The concept of halal in matters pertaining to food covers the religious requirements of Islam ( Shariah Law), and the requirements for good food, in terms of hygiene, sanitation and food safety aspects ( HACCP) in the food processing and preparation chain. The Halal standard emphasises the sources of Halal food, which include animals (land and aquatic), plants, microorganisms, natural minerals, chemicals and drinks Besides the requirements as laid out by Shariah law in determining the permitted sources of food; the Halal standard also insist that the food is safe and not poisonous, intoxicating or hazardous to health. I The standard makes compulsory the requirement to physically separate Halal from non-Halal production, preparation and handling activities. The separation is also applicable to the storage activities where Halal products are to be clearly labelled to avoid being mixed or contaminated with non-Halal products. 2- HACCP system and Halal standards The Halal standards requirements can be readily integrated into The HACCP management systems,The successful application of HACCP requires the full commitment and involvement of management and the workforce. It also requires a multidisciplinary approach; this multidisciplined approach should include, when appropriate, expertise in agronomy, veterinary health, production, microbiology, medicine, public health, food technologyand environmental health. Hence, the application of HACCP is compatible with other management systems such as ISO 9000 and Halal. However for Muslims, there is another issue that need to be addressed and that is, the safe food must also be Halal. This means that the food chain must be safe as well as halal. The halal aspects encompass the sourcing of halal raw material, handling, processing equipment, processing aids, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution and retailing. The combination of HACCP and Halal ensures the food is not only safe but halal. This combination is a powerful marketing tool for both the Muslim and non-Muslim food industries, as there is an increasing awareness of Muslims all over the world on their obligation to consume halal food. This trend of increasing demand for halal foods is expected to continue in parallel with an increasing Muslim population. Furthermore the Islamic awareness of halal food is expanding worldwide especially in the non- Muslim countries. Of late, the halal market surged with the global increasing awareness of the importance of food safety after the recent outbreak of global BSE food contamination in Europe and the new Commonwealth Independent States, where the populations are majority Muslims. The market for halal food products may come from Muslims and non-Muslim countries. In order to capture this enormous market of halal and safe foods, food industries should seriously endeavour to get information on halal food and the halal food production. This means that the halal food cannot be in any contact with haram food or materials and the slaughtering process of halal animals should be done according to Shariah law and completely separated from non- halal animals. Implementing HACCP and Halal Systems is the next logical step for food industries. HACCP systems ensures that the product is safe whilst the halal system ensures that the food can be consumed by all including non- Muslims. , The common elements of the two systems ( HACCP & HALAL) are : ? Both systems require sound and scientific knowledge on the raw materials eg. source or origin types ? Both systems require hygiene and sanitation to be implemented ? Both systems require all possible hazards to be identified and assessed ? Both system require critical control points in a process (at which the hazard might pose a risk) ? Both systems require monitoring of the critical limits or levels ? Both systems require preventive measures and corrective actions at certain steps of a process in the food production ? Both systems require a specific team to be established in the company/ establishment who are responsible for the effective implementation and monitoring of respective system 3- Halal Certification Halal food certification refers to the examination of food processes in its preparation, slaughtering, cleaning, processing, handling, disinfecting, storing, transportation and management practices.The application of halal should apply to all stages of processing "from farm to table".Halal certification provides the following benefits: i. Consumer confidence ? it allows the consumers to make an informed choice of their purchase ii. Competitive advantage ? manufacturers can use it as a marketing tool to secure bigger market share as halal food is suitable for both Muslims and non- Muslims. At international level, it can enhance the marketability of the products especially in Muslim countries. iii. Quality ? it indicates that the food production not only fulfils the Halal requirements, but also strict hygiene practices iv. For the authority ? it provides mechanism to audit and monitor halal food. 4- Compliance to Halal requirements : With the certification, manufacturers are obliged to act responsibly to maintain the halal status of the food they produce.Manufacturers must ensure during all phases of the production, the raw materials, equipment, tools and materials used must not be najs, mixed with any najs material or has been in contact with najs materials. The product and raw materials used must also be safe and will not cause harm to the health. Ensuring a product is halal is not only limited to the materials and ingredients used. Halal requirements cover all aspects of preparation, processing, packaging, distribution and all related processes. Any equipment found to be in contact or contaminated with non halal materials must be cleansed according to the Syariah requirements. In Halal food, cleanliness and hygiene is very closely related to food safety. This is an important prerequisite halal certification and the requirement covers personal hygiene, attire, equipment and working environment. 5- Employees? Understanding of Halal requirements: All employees required to be trained to understand the halal concept, as well as their roles and responsibilities in ensuring the products are handled accordingly. Manufacturers are encouraged to establish a quality assurance unit to monitor all requirements of halal are complied with at all time, especially in critical areas such as procurement. The unit should also ensure that any non-compliance is immediately rectified. 6- HALAL Advisor : Establishment of an advisory panel competent in related Syariah requirements on halal is also encouraged. This panel can be referred to for new product development so that early control can be put in place. This part is carried out by this Halal Montreal Certification Authority (HMCA) 7- Conclusion The halal food issue is a sensitive and serious matter to the Muslims. Halal certification will help boost the confidence of the Muslim consumers that the food and product they purchase are not only halal but also hygienic and safe. As Malaysia has a huge potential to develop the halal food industry and become a halal food hub, manufacturers should take the opportunity to enhance their production technology and systems to produce and market halal products. As Malaysia?s Halal certification scheme is recognized world wide due to its stringent criteria, manufacturers should leverage on this advantage to be more competitive In conclusion, food must be safe for human consumption. An additional requirement for Muslims is that they require the safe food to be also halal because their lives are guided by Islamic or Shariah Law. They are required to consume only halal foods and avoid foods, which are non-halal or haram or food that contain najis ( ritually uncleaned). With the increasing awareness of their Islamic dietary requirements, Muslim consumers now demand more information on food sources and its processing. So, it makes good sense for food industries/ producers to take great heed of this trend by labelling the food properly and especially so, the regulatory bodies are consistently monitoring theauthenticityof halal food sold in the market place. Food safety has been of concern to humankind since the dawn of history and this concern is growing as foodborne diseases has remain one of the most widespread public health problems in this contemporary world that we live in
Posted: 28 September 2011, last updated 5 January 2012

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