ln these globalized markets, there are many standards. The same holds true for Halal certification. Various agreements have been made to facilitate the free trade of goods and services. NAFTA, AFTA and other agreements are designed to make it easier for nations to exchange goods and services. Similarly an acceptable Halal standard needs to be developed to facilitate the trade in Halal goods.

The World Halal Food Council was established to do just that, standardize Halal certification. Participants at the WHFC conferences have agreed to the standardization effort and over 40 members are supporting the efforts of WHFC.

Standardization includes qualifying certifiers and limiting their activities to areas of their expertise. Certifying bodies would be registered in their country, monitored by a board of directors, managed by qualified personnel (religious and technical) and equipped with state of the art communications facilities. There will be 3 levels of certifiers: those certifying abattoirs only; those certifying food, food supplements and cosmetics only and those certifying all products. They will only operate in the regions in which they are registered. They will need to establish branches in other countries and register them to operate there.

The certifiers will also be registered with WHFC. WHFC will audit all certifiers maintain up to date records.

Standardization will require adhering to the Codex Alementarius Guideline on Halal, the Fatwa (Islamic decree) of each country on Islamic Law for specific matters and the qualification status by WHFC. In addition, the certifying body must include at least one qualified religious expert and one food technologist in the office, have the required communications equipment and be able to communicate in English or Arabic.

With this standardization, Halal certificates should be universally accepted around the world. This will lead to greater harmonization of activities of the certifying bodies and better service to the industry.