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 FOOD CONFERENCE 2002
On April 21-23, 2002, IFANCA hosted the food industry at Halal Food Conference 2002, which was held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto, Canada. This year the conference theme was CURRENT AND FUTURE ISSUES IN HALAL. This was the 4th in the series of Halal Food Conferences, which are designed to introduce newcomers to Halal certification requirements, to update those already involved in Halal product manufacturing and marketing and to look at future challenges for consumers and producers.
The night before the conference, IFANCA hosted the local Muslim community at the Community Banquet. The banquet provided conference participants and the local Muslim community an opportunity to interact and discuss needs and responses. It also set the mood for the conference. Over 300 invited guests mingled with conference participants at the Anatolia Islamic Center in Mississauga. The participants represented the global food and consumer goods industry, local and foreign governments, and the Islamic community. Over a scrumptious Halal dinner of chicken breast, beef curry, basmati rice and pita bread, they talked about their interests and listened to some enlightening talks.
Dr. Ahmed Sakr, Director of IFANCA and a renowned Islamic Scholar, Speaker and author began the evening by giving an introduction to Islam and the need for Halal. In keeping with the theme of the conference, Dr. Sakr challenged the industry and the government representatives present to look into the issues of animal feed and the use of hormones, and how to make the food Halal and Tayyib (pure).
Dr. Bill Baker, President of Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP), and the Keynote speaker for the evening, followed Dr. Sakr and spoke about the common principles shared by Muslims and Christians. Dr. Baker related a number of his personal experiences in a long career working with Muslims around the globe.
Finally, IFANCA presented a number of awards. Industry Achievement Awards were presented to Lamb-Weston, Inc., R. P. Scherer Hardcapsules, Inc., Firmenich, Inc., McCain Foods and Nutrilite Amway Corp. for their corporate efforts in implementing Halal across their product lines. Service Awards were presented to Al-Safa Halal, Inc., and Better Beef, Ltd. for their efforts in bringing Halal products to the consumer.
The Conference followed on Monday and Tuesday and covered a broad range of topics, including:
Halal Production Standards
Plant Inspection Requirements
Accomplishments/Challenges in Regulating Halal Meat
Import requirements and Halal Certification in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Gulf countries
The Agri-Canada Perspective on Halal
Eliminating Micronutrient Malnutrition
Specific Company Experiences with Halal Implementation
The Conference began with an inaugural address by Mr. Maurice Egan, Senior International Market Development Officer, Agri-Canada. Mr. Egan highlighted the Canadian governmentís role in implementing Halal export requirements to various Muslim countries especially the Middle East. He also praised IFANCAís role as the most qualified and credible Halal certifying organization including and commended IFANCAís responsiveness to the needs of the industry and the government agencies. The Honorable Lyle Vanclief, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in a letter, sent his best wishes for the conference. The Honorable Minister regretted that previous commitments prevented him from accepting the invitation to inaugurate the conference.
Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry, President of IFANCA began the technical program by introducing the theme and discussing some of the issue facing consumers and the industry. He pointed to the use of animal feeds and hormones, which are contrary to the principles of ëpureí eating and have played a part in many outbreaks of disease. Another issue is the mechanical slaughter of poultry, which is not the preferred method of producing Halal poultry. Dr. Chaudry also brought up the questions of alcohol and GMO foods, which have some advantages and disadvantages from an industry and consumer perspective.
The audience was introduced to the Islamic Code of Ethics by Dr. Shaikh Syed J. Quaderi, Religious Advisor to IFANCA. Shaikh Quaderi cited examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, to illustrate the application of this Code. In his unique style, Shaikh Quaderi captivated the attendees with a lecture on Akhlaq-e-Hasana, Good Manners and Ethics.
Dr. Mian Riaz, Professor and Head, Protein Technology Division at Texas A&M University, discussed the problem of cross contamination in the production of Halal foods, particularly meat and the need to maintain Halal production segregated from other production. While close supervision can assure Halal meat maintains that status, the best way to avoid this problem is to produce 100% Halal meat all the time. Since Halal meat is suitable for everyone, there should be no concerns about going 100% Halal. He also sited a Wall Street Journal report, which stated sales of Halal meat are up 70% over the past 5 years.
Dr. Aisjah Girindra, Director, Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics, MUI, Indonesia, in her matriarchal style explained the historical development of Halal programs in Indonesia, and how she is looking for the unification of Halal standards under the World Halal Food Council.
After a brief coffee break, the conference continued with a presentation by Dr. Tom Baker from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. Dr. Baker spoke of his experiences in regulating Halal meat manufacturing in Canada.
Next, Dr. Frank Eady, Vice President of The Micronutrient Initiatives (MI), Canada, discussed MIís goal to eliminate micronutrient malnutrition, to assure universal coverage and a sustained impact on the health and well being of people. Dr. Eady discussed MIís association with IFANCA and said that with IFANCA, ìWe share a lot of common ground in our concerns for the health and well being of people as well as their religious and cultural beliefs and concerns.î
Mr. Ehsan Sairally, IFANCAís Representative in Canada, explained the Halal certification procedure and compliance in Canada. He discussed IFANCAís role in helping Canadian food companies produce and market certified Halal products. Day one concluded with a visionary presentation by Mrs. Bonnie Bell about AMWAYís marketing strategies to provide Halal nutritionals to the world.
After a delicious Halal lunch, prepared by the Hotel Chef using Halal certified chicken, conference participants enjoyed an afternoon catching the sites of Toronto, including a visit to the CN Tower.
On the second day of the conference Ustaz Hj. Fahim Abdullah, Regional Coordinator, IFANCA-Malaysia spoke about the global situation regarding Halal. Then, Ustaz Hj. Mustafa Abdul Rahman, Director JAKIM Malaysia, and Mohamed Ariff Salleh, Head, Halal Certification, Section, MUIS, Singapore, briefed the participants on the history of Halal and Halal Standards and Import Regulations in their respective countries. Dr. Mohamed Sadek, Director International IFANCA, provided similar information on the Gulf countries.
An overview of Halal from the Agri-Canada perspective was presented by Mr. Maurice Egan, He stated that the worldís Halal food trade averages US$ 150 billion per year. He said that top international suppliers for lamb/mutton/goat are Australia and New Zeeland; for poultry, Brazil and France; and for beef/veal, it is Ireland. According to Mr. Eganís report, tremendous market opportunities exist for Canadian companies to export to the Muslim countries especially, the Middle East.
After the coffee break, the last session concentrated on the industry experience and involvement in Halal production and marketing. Dr. Bernhard Bichsel, President European Decaffeinators Association (EDA), Switzerland, reviewed HACOís experience in the Halal product market. HACO, a Swiss food specialty company is already a market leader in Europe and is looking for new markets in North America. Praising IFANCAís strong position in Halal certification, Dr. Bichsel stated, ìWe turned to IFANCA to help us reach our goal and we foresee a positive outcome from this relationship.î
Dr. Bernhard Bichsel, President EDA, Switzerland, reviewed HACOís experience in the Halal ingredient market. HACO, a Swiss food specialty company, set a goal of becoming a leader in the industrial Halal Food ingredients market. Dr. Bichsel stated, ìWe turned to IFANCA to help us reach our goal. If we arenít there yet, we are well on our way.î
Mr. Brian Olson, Export Director, McCain Foods, presented an overview of the McCain operations and explained his Appetizer Divisionís work in producing Halal appetizers for the Muslim markets abroad.
Two other presentations highlighted the importance of IFANCA certified Halal gelatin, which is produced from animals slaughtered by Muslims. The SKW Biosystems presentation discussed the Halal gelatin production and controls while the R. P. Scherer presentation looked at producing and marketing two-piece Halal gelatin capsules. ìSKW chose IFANCA as their certifier because the industrial community specifically requested IFANCA approved gelatin.î
Mr. Michael Gordon, Director International Sales Services at Lamb-Weston, Inc. was the last speaker at the conference. Mr. Gordon explained the concept of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) as it applies to the production of French Fries. He also highlighted how Lamb-Weston has incorporated the IFANCA Halal Production Requirements into their HACCP plan.
At the conclusion of the conference, Dr. Sadek thanked the participants for their sincere interest in ìdoing it rightî and for bringing a variety of Halal certified products to the Halal consumers around the world. The participants thanked Dr. Chaudry and IFANCA for sponsoring these conferences and for working with them to produce certified Halal products.
According to Dr. Chaudry, ìWe are extremely pleased with the Halal Food Conference. We had a good mix of attendees with about 60% coming from the food industry, 22% from government bodies and the remainder from other areas of concern. The fact that 25% of the industry attendees were new to IFANCA illustrates the importance the industry is placing on Halal marketing. There was a good interaction between the industry, Islamic scholars and the consumers on the challenges ahead, both during the Community Banquet and the Food Conference. We concluded the conference with a clear indication that the Halal trend is continuing very strong and the industry is responding to the needs of the Halal consumer.î
The 4th Halal Food Conference ended on a high note with participants looking forward to the opportunities ahead and consumers looking forward to the greater variety of Halal certified products that would be available.
The journal Science reports that scientist have altered a tomato gene to make the fruit taste fresher. Since tomatoes have to picked before they are ripe so they can be transported to market, this will return some of the lost flavor. (Reported in Yahoo! News on April 11, 2002)
Over 2,000 Hershey employees went on strike at two factories in Hershey, PA. Hershey officials don't expect any immediate impact on supplies.
Coca Cola Company will introduce Vanilla Coke in the US on May 15. The product will also be available in Canada sometime thereafter.
Muslims in northwest China have set up the first Muslim Food Association in the region. Ma Yuande, director of the committee in charge of ethnic affairs and religion, said the association would help develop Muslim food markets in China and neighboring countries. (Reported in www.peopledaily.com on April 20, 2002)
Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. will market First Advantage, a baby food containing DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid). DHA and ARA are fatty acids found in breast milk. (IFT Weekly Newsletter on March 27, 2002)
The European Commission has proposed a permanent ban on the use of antibiotics in animal feed. David Byrne, European Union food safety commissioner expects antibiotics to be phased out completely by 2006. (Reported on www.meatingplace.com on March 27, 2002.)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture may be asking for consumer input on including soy milk in school lunch programs. Regulations require milk to be served at school lunches for schools to be reimbursed for the meal. However, the definition of milk is 'cows milk', so serving soy milk would require Congressional approval. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on April 23, 2002.)
Velvet Ice Cream Company of Utica, Ohio, announced it will produce a new line of light ice cream using Splenda, a no-calorie sweetener. Splenda is Halal certified by IFANCA. (Note: the ice cream is not certified by IFANCA.)
The Aztecs and Incas cultivated tomatoes as early as 700 A.D. They were introduced into Europe by the Conquistadors and found favor Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Technically tomatoes are fruits, even though many of us think of them as vegetables. (A fruit is the edible part of the plant that contains the seeds. A vegetable is the edible root, leaves, and stems of a plant.)
While the French added mystery to the tomato, the British believed it was poisonous. In the United States, the Creoles in New Orleans used tomatoes in gumbos and jambalayas. In Maine, tomatoes were served with seafood. Tomatoes became an important part of the American diet and many a home gardener includes tomatoes in their garden. Commercially, tomatoes are produced throughout the year.
Studies have linked the consumption of tomatoes to reduced risks of cancer. In a study on the effect of carotenoids and lycopenes on the risk of prostate cancer, it was determined that lycopenes reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes contain lycopene and consuming tomatoes, either raw or tomato sauce or foods with tomatoes, such as pizza is beneficial for reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
A medium size tomato (~150 g) contains 35 calories, .5 grams of fat, 1 gram each of fiber and protein, 10% of the recommended daily requirement of potassium, 20% of the Vitamin A and 40% of the Vitamin C requirements.
Tomatoes are best when they are fully ripe. When ripe, they are a little soft. Unfortunately, tomatoes are shipped before they are ripe to avoid bruising. It is best not to refrigerate tomatoes as cold temperatures stop the ripening and affect the taste. Tomatoes will ripen at room temperature. For faster ripening, place the tomatoes in a paper bag. (As tomatoes ripen, they emit ethylene, which speeds up the ripening process.) In fact, ethylene is used to commercially ripen tomatoes and other fruits.
Enjoy a tomato, vegetable or other fruit with every meal or as a snack between meals. For more info, visit the California Tomato Commission website at www.tomato.org.
(This information was extracted from the California Tomato Commission website at www.tomato.org.)