Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
HALAL CONFERENCE 2003
The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago was the scene for Halal Food Conference 2003. Under the theme of The Importance Of Halal Certification, eager businessmen and producers gathered in the Hilton on July 11, 2003 to learn about the opportunities available to Halal producers. Some in the audience were long time friends who were very familiar with the importance of Halal. Others came to explore the opportunities it presents. And others came to get an insight into the practice of 1.5 billion consumers.
It was a full day, starting with a recitation from the Noble Quran by IFANCA Director, Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr. After the touching recitation, IFANCA’s President, Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry, welcomed the guests and then the activities began. The topics covered included:
IFANCA’s Halal Supervision & Certification Program
Malaysia’s Halal Guidelines & Certification Program
Halal Certification In Singapore
Halal Certification Of Flavors
Halal Program in Indonesia
Food Safety In Islam
Halal Certification Of Fried Potato Products
Halal Food Production
The Need for Halal Standardization
Dr. Joe Regenstein, Professor of Food Science at Cornell University in New York gave the inaugural address.
Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry, kicked off the technical program with a discussion of IFANCA’s Halal Supervision and Certification program. First, Dr. Chaudry provided some background on Halal certification. Historically, Halal Certification has been driven by the export business to Muslim countries. The pioneers in this area were Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. The first certified products were poultry, cookies and toothpaste. This expanded to frozen meat and poultry, processed meat and food service items.
Halal is a very dear institution for all Muslims and Halal certification became a very important requirement to the Halal consumers. The Halal consumer group comprises over 1.3 billion Muslims around the globe and another 200 million non-Muslims. This includes over 200 million Muslims in Indonesia, 140 million in India, 130 million in Pakistan, 200 million in the Middle East, 300 million in Africa, 20 million in Malaysia and over 8 million in North America.
Today, there are over 80 Halal certifying organizations in the United States. Some limit their activates to certifying meat and poultry products. Most certify products for export only. A few certify a range of products for domestic and export markets. IFANCA is a full service Halal certifier and is the largest food and ingredient certifier in the United States.
Some years ago, IFANCA adopted the Crescent M as the symbol for IFANCA’s Halal certified products. IFANCA Halal certification provides:
Global and local acceptability - IFANCA Halal certificates are accepted all around the world.
Technical content/food technologists - expert auditing, answers to evolving issues, understand and speak the industry language.
Resolves issues through Shura committee - Halal is a matter of faith. Religious scholars address issues and determine new guidelines.
Cost effective consulting - help with technical issues, marketing ideas, labeling and more.
Global affiliations - Halal certification directly or through affiliates in 38 countries.
Confidentiality - all critical information is kept at our main offices in Chicago.
IFANCA is recognized by all major organizations including MUIS Singapore, JAKIM Malaysia, the Muslim World League Saudi Arabia and MUI Indonesia. IFANCA Halal certificates are accepted all around the world.
Hj. Mustafa bin Abdul Rahman, Director of Halal Development - Malaysia, then discussed Halal Certification in Malaysia. Starting with the Quranic verses dealing with food, Hj. Abdul Rahman traced the history of Halal in Malaysia from the 1975 orders by the Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs to the state of affairs today. The original orders defined the meaning of Halal food and the requirement for proper labeling.
In 1982, the Malaysian Government decreed that all imported meat, including meat products, must be Halal.
The Malaysian Halal standard was further introduced in 1994. This applies to locally produced products as well as imported products. The standard provides the definition of Halal and how it is determined (Islamic Law based on the Quran, Hadith, consensus of Islamic scholars or deduction based on the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'ie or Hanbali Schools of Thought, or fatwa by a relevant Islamic authority). It also defines Najis, or impurity, as any discharge from human or animal orifices (including urine, excrement, blood, vomit and pus), dead animals or animals not slaughtered according to Shariah Law (excluding fish), or items that have come in contact with anything Najis.
Finally, the Halal application process was presented. Halal applications are made with JAKIM. Each different product requires a separate application form, though product variants can be grouped 4 to an application. JAKIM will analyze the application for including accompanying ingredients, packaging materials, production process and procedures. A site inspection is required including a meeting with senior company officials and production staff; physical inspection of the plant and ingredients; inspection of the raw material and product storage areas and a review of the quality assurance and hygiene practices. The inspectors prepare a report and the Halal Evaluation Committee will determine if the applicant qualifies for Halal certification. If so, JAKIM issues the certificate and gives permission for use of the Halal logo on the product for one year. Renewals should be applied for 2 months before expiry of the current Halal certificate. Frequent contact and surprise inspections are carried out throughout the certification period. Any changes made by the applicant may cause the Halal certification to be revoked, unless they have been approved by JAKIM. We should note that the procedure applies to all applicants, both local and foreign. A fee is charged for each certificate.
Next, Dr. Marco Avenati of Firmenich discussed the Firmenich experience with Halal. Firmenich is the largest private company in the fragrance and flavor industry in the world. Firmenich was founded in 1895 in Geneva, Switzerland. Fragrances are produced for the cosmetics industry and flavors are produced for the food and beverage industry. As more and more customers in Asia and the United States demand Halal certified flavors, Firmenich knew it had to react to customer demands. In 1998, Firmenich selected IFANCA to certify Halal production. The relationship continued to build as plants in California, Minnesota and Florida were certified. This expanded to Europe when the Islamic Food Council for Europe, an IFANCA affiliate certified the plants in Geneva and the United Kingdom.
Dr. Ata Al-Baroudi of the Food Safety Institute discussed Food Safety in Islam. Dr. Ata discussed the sources of food borne illnesses, including bacteria (E. coli, listeria), mishandling (temperature, cross-contamination), sanitation and hygiene, etc. It is very important to wash thoroughly before and during the handling of food. It is especially important to wash when moving from handling raw meat and poultry to cooked foods. Outbreaks of food poisoning can be very costly, including loss of life.
After a nice Halal lunch, Steve Mickelson of McCain Foods, the number 1 french fry and frozen snack company in the world discussed the Making of Halal French Fries. McCain’s philosophy is to produce high quality products; meet the local tastes and cultural requirements of consumers and to employ people who understand local cultures. McCain has over 55 factories across the globe and sells to over 100 countries.
There are a number of Halal Control Points for Halal production. The production line must be cleaned and sanitized prior to a halal run; the added ingredients must be Halal certified or approved; if batter is used, the batter must be Halal; the cooking oil must be Halal; including the storage and delivery systems; the fryer must be properly prepared and documentation and must be proper.
To qualify for Halal certification, the production facilities must be approved; procedures must be put in place to ensure the Halal production process is followed; make sure all components of the manufacturing are certified Halal; have Halal certification listing the certified products and maintain proper records and inventory of Halal products. When IFANCA audits a facility, they check to make sure employees are educated on Halal principles; they review the production process; evaluate the ingredients and additives and review the sanitation and hygiene procedures. And that is the story of how we produce Halal french fries.
Next Dr. Mian N. Riaz, Graduate Faculty at Texas A & M University’s Food Protein Research and Development Center, gave an Overview of Halal Food Production. Dr. Riaz cited a Cornell University survey that put the number of Muslims in North America at 7 million in the US and 1 million in Canada. He also cited the Wall Street Journal, which estimates the number of Muslims in the US will exceed 12 million by 2018.
Dr. Riaz presented guidelines for producing Halal products. The guidelines are being published in a book, which is due out soon. They are categorized as Halal Production Guidelines for Meat and Poultry; Dairy Products; Fish and Seafood; Cereal and Confectionary; Nutritional Food Supplements; Food Ingredients; and Gelatin, Enzymes and Alcohol.
On the issue of Biotechnology and GMO foods, there is no specific reference to this in the Islamic Law sources. However, it is accepted that GMO from haram sources would be haram. There is a place for biotechnology in Halal food production. One example is the production of GMO chymosin for cheese manufacture.
Both the USDA Food Labeling Division and the Codex Alimentarius Commission have established guidelines for the use of Halal labeling. Also, in the United States, a number of states (New Jersey, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, California) have passed Halal Food Laws to protect the Halal consumer from fraud.
When considering Halal food production, make sure you choose an appropriate Halal certifying agency if you want to produce acceptable Halal products. Some considerations are: reputation; references; recognition in your target area and compatibility with your corporate culture and work practices.
Next up was Hj. Abdullah Fahim A. Rahman, Secretary General of the World Halal Food Council (WHFC), discussing the need for Standardization in Halal Certification. The WHFC was set up to standardize Halal certification. It has held a number of conferences and has over 40 registered members around the world. The WHFC will qualify certifying organizations, requiring them to be registered by their state (country); monitored by a board of directors; managed by qualified personnel (religious and technical) and equipped with up-to-date communications facilities. They would be limited to certify products within their home country but allowed to have branches in other countries.
The WHFC has established qualifications for organizations to provide Halal certification. This should result in mutual recognition between Halal certifiers all over the world and will make it easier for Halal consumers and producers.
Speakers from Indonesia and Singapore were unable to come in person so Dr. Mohamed Sadek, IFANCA Director and moderator made their presentations for those sessions. Their presentations were about the Halal programs in Indonesia and Singapore.
The technical part of the conference closed with an open discussion and question and answer session and closing remarks, thanks and dua (supplication) by Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr, Director of IFANCA and the Foundation for Islamic Knowledge.
That was not the end though. Participants reconvened in the evening at the Cotillion Banquets in Palatine for a Community Dinner. They were joined by over 300 guests from the local community and had the opportunity to exchange ideas, answer questions and learn more about the needs of the Halal consumer. Ahmad Karim was the Master of Ceremonies and he introduced the Guest Speaker, Dr. Scott C. Alexander, Associate Professor of Islam at the Catholic Theologial Union in Chicago. He spoke on the topic of Peace and everyone enjoyed a Halal dinner.
Prizes and recognition awards were presented to Imam Warith Deen Muhammad who contributed significantly to enhancement of Halal Programs. Quadir Latifi of IFANCA spoke briefly about the Halal Pantry Project and Junaid Makda and Salman Chaudry spoke about the Chicago Muslim Scholarship Project.
That closes the 2003 Halal Food Conference. Dr. Chaudry summed things up by saying: “This is the 5th annual conference and each time we gather, we find greater and greater enthusiasm and interest among the food industry. We are working hard to bring the quality and benefits of Halal to the food industry and to consumers around the globe and the great encouragement we receive is very gratifying.”
Dutch brewer Heineken is looking into the Muslim market to expand its sales. They plan to use an Egyption barley drink to appeal to Muslims in Europe and East Asia. Muslims do not consume alcoholic beverages. (Reported on July 4, 2003.)
Tara McHugh, a scientist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in California has developed an edible food wrapping made of fruits and vegetables. (Reported in www.just-food.com on July 28, 2003.)
The EU has introduced new regulations on the use of additives in animal feed, particularly the use of antibiotic growth promoters. The regulations will come into effect later this year. (Reported in www.just-food.com on July 22, 2003.)
Germany is considering a ban on chocolate cigarettes. Studies indicate the use of chocolate cigarettes encourages children to smoke. (Reported on www.foodingredientsfirst.com on July 28, 2003.)
Ingrown toenails are rather common. They can be very painful. An ingrown toenail is the condition that develops when part of the nail curves and grows into the flesh. While it can happen on any toe, it is more common on the big toe.
Improperly trimmed nails, poor fitting shoes or trauma can cause ingrown toenails.
Infection is a concern with ingrown toenails. If the nail becomes infected, medical treatment is required. Surgery is normally performed to remove part or the entire nail.
If it is not infected, then treatment may only require soaking the toes in warm soapy water or salt water, thoroughly drying them, applying an antiseptic solution and bandaging the toe.
To avoid ingrown toenails, the nails should be cut straight across, without tapering the corners and tight shoes and socks should be avoided. If you have ingrown toenails, keep the feet clean and dry to avoid infections. And you might want to check with a physician or podiatrist.
(Information for this article was take from www.podiatrychannel.com, www.foot.com, and www.familydoctor.org.)