From the Publisher’s Desk
Muhammad Munir Chaudry
The winter issue reminds us a year has already passed. Reflecting on 2013, we see there was a lot of halal related activity.
A myriad of halal conferences were held over the past year across the globe, from here in the US to far away Indonesia and many places in between. We see the emergence of the Gulf States, particularly the UAE, seeking to play a more prominent role in the halal economy. Is the leadership moving west from the ASEAN region? A number of conferences focused on standards, with the goal of agreeing on a global halal standard. This would help the industry create products that are universally acceptable to halal consumers. So far this has proven difficult as consumers have varying ideas on what qualifies for halal and what does not.
A number of new concerns affecting halal consumers have emerged in addition to the ongoing issues. The idea of insect farming to help feed the growing world masses has been floated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. We know that locusts are halal, but raising locusts and other insects for food is another matter. Then there is the $300,000 hamburger made from synthetic beef produced in a laboratory. Is synthetic meat halal? Lethal stunning of poultry is another topic gaining some popularity, especially in Europe. This goes beyond the matter of stunning in general to eating dead birds, which is clearly not allowed under halal requirements. The ongoing questions of machine slaughter vs. hand slaughter and halal certification of kosher meat are still issues the halal community is grappling with; but the momentum is moving to the most pure form of halal — Muslim hand slaughter of non-stunned meat and poultry. We still have a ways to go to achieve that, and consumers have a major role to play in this journey.
Finally, I am proud to announce IFANCA was awarded the prestigious Islamic Economy Compliance and Standardization Award at the Global Islamic Economy Summit held in Dubai on November 25. The award is a tribute to IFANCA’s success as a leader in developing processes and procedures for halal certification and our 30 year service to the halal community.
As you look over this issue in the warmth of your living room, do reflect on the challenges facing the halal marketplace. Everything is possible if you, the consumer, make your needs known and do not settle for less than the best.
Muhammad Munir Chaudry, president