Halal is an Arabic word meaning “lawful” or “permitted”. The opposite of halal is haram, which means “unlawful” or “prohibited”. When it comes to food and consumables, halal is the dietary standard of Muslims. All pure and clean things are considered halal except for the few following exceptions:
- Swine/pork and its by-products
- Animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering
- Animals killed in the name of anyone other than ALLAH (God)
- Alcohol and intoxicants
- Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears
- Blood and blood by-products
- Foods contaminated with any of the above products
While many things are clearly halal or clearly haram, there are some things that are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect, and more information is needed to categorize them as halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means “doubtful” or “questionable”. Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, etc. would be mashbooh because, more often than not, the origin of these ingredients is not known.
Halal Certification is the process of having a qualified independent third party supervise the production of consumables, attesting that they were produced in conformity with the preparation and ingredient standards of the halal lifestyle. After successful adoption and performance of halal productivity procedures, the supervisory third party then issues Halal Certification to the producer attesting to halal conformity on a per product basis. While halal requires foods to be wholesome and pure, Halal Certification has left the issue of food safety to the government regulatory bodies.
Halal Certification is required to produce acceptable food and consumable products for halal consumers. That includes the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and the many millions of others who also choose to eat halal products because of the obvious positive health benefits associated with the cleanliness and purity of food and drug preparation within the halal framework as well as the compassion with which animals are slaughtered when done so in accordance with halal standards.
HACCP is an important quality management system for the food industry and fits in well with the concept of halal. Implementing HACCP demonstrates the producer’s desire to produce safe products. When implementing a Halal Certification program, the certifying agency will incorporate specific halal procedures within the greater HACCP procedures. HACCP alone does not make a product halal, and a halal product can be made without HACCP.
ISO 9000 is another quality management system that fits in well with the concept of halal. Implementing ISO 9000 demonstrates the producer’s desire to produce consistent quality products. When implementing a Halal Certification program, the certifying agency will incorporate specific halal procedures within the ISO procedures. ISO alone does not make a product halal, and a halal product can be made without ISO.
Halal-certified ingredients can be found in many places. When producing halal-certified products, it is best to use halal-certified ingredients. Your halal-certifying agency can help you find a source of acceptable halal-certified ingredients.
The benefits of IFANCC Halal Certification are many and include the following:
- IFANCC’s expertise in reviewing the products, the ingredients, the preparation and processing, and the hygiene and sanitation procedures in strict confidentiality.
- Implementation of IFANCC’s documented procedure for producing halal products. The procedure is continually refined as new techniques and new ingredients are developed, and it is consistent with HACCP, ISO and other quality and safety standards.
- Halal training for key personnel, who pass on this training to the other staff, ensuring broad-based knowledge of proper methods of handling and production.
- Consultation on product development, marketing, and quality assurance to help roll out new products targeted to the halal consumer.
- The IFANCC Halal Certificate, which is accepted around the world.
- Permission to display the IFANCC certification logo, on the halal-certified product label.
- Listing of halal-certified products on the IFANCC website, www.ifancc.org.
- Referrals to seekers of halal products or ingredients worldwide.
The market for halal-certified products is huge and growing. It includes the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide and many millions of health-conscious non-Muslims who chose to eat halal-certified products because these products are inherently cleanly and manufactured in a compassionate manner with respect to the treatment of slaughtered animals. (When animals are slaughtered in a less compassionate manner, hormones and toxins from fear and shock are released into the respective bloodstreams of the animals; these hormones and toxins find their way into the musculature and taint the aft-consumed meat with unnecessary ingredients.)
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