Despite a variety of firms — ranging from medical device producers to cosmetic producers –increasingly opting to obtain halal certification, halal goods only constitute 30 percent of products made in Turkey, said Food Auditing and Certification Research Association (GİMDES) Board Chairman Dr. Hüseyin Kami Büyüközer, speaking to Today’s Zaman earlier last week.
The term halal refers to products, services and activities that are considered acceptable in the realm of Islam. Halal certification began to be offered in Turkey in 2008, initially in the food sector and later spreading to other non-food products and the tourism industry, as firms began to take the steps to obtain official halal status. The recent İstanbul Halal Expo Fair showcased 6,000 products from 100 firms representing 200 brands.
According to Büyüközer, although halal certification is quickly growing in Turkey, it is still a very new concept in the business world that has just recently begun to catch on. “We are not issuing fatwas; we just implement whatever Islam commands. Products are consumed by both very religious people and by those who aren’t as religious; we have the rights of both in mind,” he said.
Certified firms are inspected between two and four times a year by GİMDES, which is highly sensitive regarding its conditions, said Büyüközer. “If the inspections reveal practices to which we did not grant approval, we cancel the certificates. Up until now, we have canceled the certificates of eight firms and we share this information with the public on our website,” he said.
Halal tourism is on the rise in Turkey and worldwide according to recent reports, which indicate that the tourism industry is rising to meet the demands of pious Muslim travelers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Halal hotels do not serve alcohol or pork, feature separate pools for men and women and gender-based spa and beauty services, employ workers who dress in accordance with Islamic customs and do not broadcast television channels that feature content deemed incongruent with Islamic values.
Originally published on www.todayszaman.com