IFANCA at South African Halal Food Conferences
Zeshan Sadekk, MBBS
Representatives of The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) were present. at The World Halal Conference at the world renowned Kristenbousch Garden in the city of Capetown, South Africa. The conference, chaired by Professor Dr. Aisjah Girindra, President of the World Halal Council, was attended by more than 50 representatives of different Halal certifying organizations from around the globe ranging from USA to China. He was assisted by Dr. Mohamed Sadek, Secretary General, World Halal Council. This conference was jointly organized by the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), South African National Halal Authority (SANHA), and the National Independent Halal Trust (NIHT).
The highlights of the special session, chaired by IFANCA President, Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, were the detailed discussions on two important issues facing the World Halal Council. These were membership/constitution issues and global standards in Halal certification. After lengthy deliberations and input from attendees, the proposed resolutions regarding membership/constitution were adopted.
The resolution on global standards and guidelines was also adopted by all members present. Sub-committees were formed to discuss and submit findings to the secretariat. A subsequent banquet, organized by the mayor of Cape Town, was attended by prominent dignitaries from the Muslim community including the South African Minister of Education.
The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) co-sponsored the International Halal Food Conference 2005, “A Window to the Halal World”. The theme was “HALAL: A Symbol of Quality and Purity” and the conference was held September 8-9, 2005 in Durban, South Africa.
IFANCA President, Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, in his presentation touched on the fact that laws governing Halal consumption have been in effect since the 7th century while modern food laws came into existence only around 1820. U.S. FDA regulations are, relatively, even more recent and can be traced to 1906. He emphasized that animals be handled humanely and be given adequate rest, water and food. As for the actual slaughter, the animal should not be made anxious by sharpening the knife before its eyes or by killing another animal while one is watching. He continued that animals be dismembered only once they are lifeless. Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry also spoke on alternative, Halal choices for ingredients, listing the use of propylene glycol and water instead of alcohol, vegetable oil instead of shortening, vegetable mono-and-diglycerides and microbial enzymes. The conference was organized by the South African National Halal Authority (SANHA), and supported by a number of food corporations and government agencies.