Halal Consumer Magazine
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—The World Halal Forum, an international trade fair on Halal products, announced that it is going to offer Halal certification to cosmetics and toiletries whose ingredients meet Islamic Halal standards. The nation, however, will not ban the import of cosmetics that do not meet Halal standards or are not certified as Halal. Malaysia currently bans the entry of meat that is not Halal.
According to a May 12 AFP report, Halal certification for products is also increasingly sought after by manufacturers in a bid to tap into a lucrative Muslim consumer market. Malaysian officials have estimated the global trade in Halal food is worth 580 billion dollars annually and could potentially hit one trillion dollars.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—In a major victory for Muslims in Britain, the British supermarket chain Tesco will soon be selling Halal food purchased from Malaysia. April 2007 is the estimated date that 40 Tesco outlets in London and north London will offer these products to the area’s approximately 1.7 million Muslims. The total purchases by Tesco will be to the tune of $278 million over the next five years.
“The global trade in Halal food, which complies with Islamic standards, is worth $580 billion annually and could potentially hit $1 trillion, according to Malaysian officials,” say reports.
Toronto, Canada—With a major portion of their nation’s farm income derived from livestock, Canadian firms can form joint ventures to develop Malaysia’s fast-growing Halal food industry, says Ms. Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry in Malaysia.
Ms. Aziz told some 300 participants at a seminar here that with Malaysia poised to be a Halal hub, “it will be good if we can source some raw materials we do not have from Canada.” According to Ms. Aziz, “Raw materials from Canada can be used to produce Halal products and certify them as Halal by using our standards and then market it globally from Malaysia.” She also explained that the process of producing Halal products does not stop at slaughtering livestock according to Islamic procedures but includes hygienic practices and products used in the process of producing the goods and services.
Australia and New Zealand are the two main suppliers of Halal beef for Malaysia.
Rafidah was leading a trade and investment mission to Canada comprising 49 representatives from the private sector, MITI, Malaysia Industrial Development Authority, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, the state governments of Penang, Perak, Kedah, Sabah and Selangor, as well as Multimedia Development Corp Malaysia. Source: BERNAMA.
According to a BBC May 8 report, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi told delegates at the first World Halal Forum that Halal should be a badge of quality, not just for food but for good business practices as well. Calling the growing Halal industry an opportunity for both Muslims and non-Muslims, he said, “Halal represents just and fair business transactions as well as caring for animals and the environment. Halal embodies social justice and welfare as well as protection of the poor and the weak.”
Commercial realities were the focus of the three-day forum. Attendees were urged to establish global, uniform standards for food and non-food items while meeting Islamic standards. Event organizer, Mr. Abdal Hamid Evans, said the global Halal market is potentially worth as much as $500 billion per year and that the “farm-to-fork nature of Halal requires a forum where all of the different elements can get together, where issues can be resolved.” Sources: http://news.bbc.eo.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4752081.stm; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asiapacific/4752081.stm
by Ayub Khan
New York, NY—New York’s Halal Foods Protection Act of 2005 will be implemented shortly according to officials. The Act—which was signed into law last year—was not implemented earlier, as the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets was still to begin inspections.
A department spokesperson said that so far no complaints have been filed and that it continues to conduct outreach with Halal establishments and certifying agents about the new law. He added that no inspectors have been specifically assigned for Halal work but that they intend to utilize Food Safety Inspectors or Farm Products Inspectors to perform Halal inspections when they begin doing them.
New York ‘s Halal Foods Protection Act of2005 requires the following individuals and businesses to register or file with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets:
Their recently launched website can be accessed at www.agmkt.state.ny.us/Halalsite/halals.html.
by Ayub Khan
On July 8, 2002 California became the fifth state to enact Halal regulations when then-Governor Gray Davis signed the Halal Food Bill (AB1828) into law. Muslim Californians felt elated believing that Halal products would finally be regulated by the law and that they won’t be defrauded by cheaters anymore. Four years after the law was enacted it appears that there is very little regulation of the Halal meat industry with virtually no fines levied on those who violate the law. Worse, governmental agencies are not even sure who is tasked with monitoring and regulation.
The bill provides that a person who, with intent to defraud, sells any meat or meat preparations falsely representing them to be Halal or prepared in compliance with Islamic religious requirements, or who fails to indicate that both Halal and non-Halal meat is for sale in the same place of business, is punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $600, or imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than 90 days, or by both fine and imprisonment.
The law, however, does not provide details as to which governmental agency is responsible for its enforcement and hence this ambiguity. When contacted, California’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) replied by saying that the issue falls outside of its regulatory authority. Instead it directed us to the Department of Food and Agriculture. “General issues related to food labeling and enforcement of legislation related to food issues such as the Halal Act may be addressed through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards. The State level has responsibility for measurement standards, regulations for advertising, quantity, and labeling to list just a few. Enforcement of regulations is through the Department of Food and Agriculture’s County Weights and Measures Offices at the county level… ” read the email from the DCA.
When contacted, Mr. Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, California Department of Food and Agriculture, said his department has nothing to do with this issue. “This agency does not have jurisdiction in this matter. Please contact the state Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Health Services, or local government agencies that regulate retail food facilities,” Lyle wrote in an email.
Queries to other departments as well as an email to the governor’s office received no response. This running from pillar to post raises some serious questions about the seriousness with which the law was enacted. Was the Halal Food Bill (AB 1828) just a suave PR exercise on part of the elected representatives or was it a result of genuine concerns about protecting the Muslim consumers? The government of California can begin answering this question by specifically naming the agency which is responsible for verifying and enforcing the legitimate Halal certification.
Richmond, VA—A state law went into effect on July 1, 2006 aimed at protecting Muslim consumers from Halal food fraud. The Halal Food Bill mandates all businesses that advertise the sale of Halal products verify that they are indeed Halal. The bill was sponsored by Del. Kenneth C. Alexander, D-Norfolk.
The new law makes it a class-3 misdemeanor for businesses to falsely advertise food as Halal. Violators will be fined $500 for each offense. Businesses that advertise Halal foods must include notice of a Web site and telephone number to verify their legitimacy. “It shall be unlawful to label any repackaged food or food product or display or offer for sale any unwrapped food or food product that represents the food or food product as kosher or Halal without indicating the person or entity authorizing such designation by providing the name or symbol of the authority or providing a phone number or website to access the information,” the law states.
The Halal legislation has been enacted in several other U.S. states but its enforcement has been lax with virtually no known fines levied on violators in any of them.