WORLD HALAL STANDARDS
GUIDELINES FOR HALAL CERTIFICATION
Halal: Means permissible in the Arabic language
Halal Auditor, Inspector, Supervisor: These terms are used here interchangeably
Halal Food: Food permitted according to the Sharia (Islamic Law)
Haram: Forbidden, including the categories of:
Carrion or dead (unslaughtered carcasses)
Intoxicants including Alcohol
Makrooh: Disliked, detested or discouraged
Mashbooh: Suspect, in doubt or questionable
Mathhab: School of thought in Islam
Najs: Filth, including things that are themselves not permissible such as pigs and its derivatives, blood and carrion; fluids or objects discharged from the human or animals’ bodies such as urine, excrements, blood, vomit, and pus.
Tasmiya & Takbir: Bismillah Allahu Akbar, which means by the name of God, the Greatest.
Zabiha: Thabiha in Arabic which means slaughtered with a sharp instrument.
As awareness amongst Muslim consumers around the World increases, demand grows for authentic Halal foods. Besides meat, several other issues concerning food drew attention. Food ingredients like flavors, oils, enzymes in cheese, and a variety of other derivatives plus new technologies used in food processing have further complicated the picture. Alcohol and pork derivatives could be embedded in all kind of products that need to be identified and avoided. Establishing and adopting Halal procedures in the processing of consumable and non-consumable goods has become important for consumers and producers alike. This document is an attempt to standardize the Halal procedures for the purpose of adopting and promoting these Halal Standards around the World.
III. Halal Supervision
The Halal supervising or certifying organization should have officers who have had education and experience in slaughtering of animals and birds. Certifying organizations of food ingredients and non-food products should employ officers who have updated knowledge in food science and technology , supervision of food processing, and in product derivatives. These officers would be able to effectively monitor and communicate with the industry on matters that are considered sensitive. The organization must be looked upon as a business partner because they would be able to advise and assist the industry in slaughtering, production, quality control, product flow systems, hygiene, sanitizing, packaging, labeling, transportation and storage. Also it is essential for the certifying organization to have religious consultants advising in matters related to proper slaughtering procedures and ingredient approval from religious points of view. The religious advisors should be aided by scientific knowledge and technology so that they can give sound opinions and specify guidelines. The certifying organization needs to keep a detailed account and data on production procedures including receiving and storage of raw materials, processing, packaging, labeling, transportation and storage of finished products. Records need to be maintained on the inspector’s audits and findings during his/her visits. The inspectors and supervisors should have control over the use of the organization’s names and Halal symbols. If the certifying organization ceases to certify a plant or a product the organization should cancel the authorization of the plant’s right to use the organization’s name and /or symbol on those products. Consumers also need to be informed of this change in supervision and certification. In addition, Halal certifiers should be mindful regulations in both exporting and importing countries.
IV. Requirements for Meat, Poultry & Other Animal Species
In general, it is recommended for local communities to follow their Mathhabs, or scholars, regarding the permissibility or prohibition of consumption of species not mentioned in this document.
- Land Animals/Birds
Acceptable species among land animals includes cattle, lambs, goats, buffalo, deer, and camels. Chicken, turkeys, pigeons, ostriches, geese, swans, ducks and alike are acceptable birds. The acceptable animals and birds must also be alive and healthy at time of slaughter.
Unacceptable species includes swine from which all pork and pork products are produced. Swine are considered Haram and they are unfit for Muslim consumption. Other unacceptable animals includes beasts or birds of prey having talons, fangs or tusks such as lions, wolves, dogs, cats, tigers, jackals, monkeys, elephants, falcons, eagles, vultures, crows, owls, etc. In addition, animals which are considered filthy or dangerous are also Haram such as domesticated donkeys, mice, rats, poisonous snakes, scorpions, spiders, lice, etc. The milk and eggs of prohibited species are similarly forbidden for consumption.
- Aquatic Animals
Generally, all fish and seafood are considered Halal without having to be slaughtered. Excluded are species which are poisonous, intoxicating, or hazardous to human health.
B. Slaughterers and Supervisors
The slaughterers and supervisors should be sane Muslims who understand the rules and conditions of slaughtering in Islam. They should be trained in Halal slaughtering practices and be approved by the certifying organization. An adequate number of slaughterers and supervisors should be employed at slaughterhouses and meat processing plants and it is recommended that such staff be employed by the Halal certifying organization.
C. Slaughtering Tools
The slaughtering instrument should be a sharp, single edge instrument that cuts by its edge not by its weight, such as knives, swords, fixed blades, etc. The instrument cannot be a claw, tooth or nail or un-sharpened object.
D. Methods of Slaughter
Hand Slaughter: By this method the animals or the birds are slaughtered by an instrument held directly by the slaughterer’s hand. The slaughterer must be a Muslim well trained with knowledge of animal welfare to cause no pain or suffering to the animal. The person must be strong enough to assume the responsibilities associated with the task of slaughter.
Mechanical Slaughter: Many Muslim countries now accept mechanically slaughtered poultry. Nonetheless, where mechanical slaughtering is used, the process of slaughtering should be controlled by an adequate number of Muslims. The following conditions must be met:
a) The mechanical knife must be a single sharp blade that produces a sharp cut on the front side of the bird’s neck. A dorsal cut is forbidden.
b) Such mechanisms must effectively sever the required vessels. the esophagus, trachea and the two major blood vessels in the neck.
c) Any bird that misses the mechanical knife has to be slaughtered by hand.
d) There should be signs of convulsion in the birds after slaughter.
Stunning: Whilst stunning is frowned upon, it is permissible as long as the animal/ bird does not die instantly as a result of stunning. Stunning of animals and birds if necessary should be performed using a stunning method at a certain strength approved by health and Islamic authorities.
E. The Process of Slaughtering
a) At the time of slaughter, the Tasmiya and Takbir must be pronounced over animals or birds by a trained Muslim slaughterer.
b) It is very important to treat animals and birds humanely and reduce pain and suffering to animals during slaughtering.
c) The knife should cut through the skin, trachea, esophagus and two major blood vessels swiftly to ensure thorough and quick bleeding of the animal. The spinal cord of animal/bird should not be severed during slaughtering.
d) There should be adequate time for bleeding of animal/bird until it dies before scalding and evisceration.
e) Slaughterhouses are encouraged to perform a total Halal slaughter which eliminates the need for additional controls, labeling of carcasses, and supervising, and reduces the risk of mixing meats and contamination.
f) There should not be slaughtering or processing of unacceptable species in the same facility where acceptable species are being slaughtered or processed.
g) The Halal Slaughterer should always keep logs of the dates and times of slaughtering and numbers of animals/birds slaughtered.
F. Packaging and Labeling
Unless the facility is %100 Halal, carcasses must be properly marked and traced throughout evisceration, processing and packaging so as not to mix the Halal slaughtered meat with non-Halal. All packages and containers must be labeled with the proper information and the proper Halal label/logo, under the supervision of the certifying organization. Shipments of Halal meat should be accompanied with a Halal certificate issued by the certifying organization. The Muslim supervisor shall at all times maintain control of the use of Halal logos, stamps and seals.
G. Storage and Transportation
The storage place-cooler or freezer should be inspected by the Muslim inspector and approved for storage of Halal meats. Halal raw and exposed meat and meat products shall at all times be stored separately in dedicated facilities. Containers, receptacles, racks and shelves used for Halal meat and meat products shall always be free from any contamination with non-Halal. It is preferred to store the packaged Halal meats in separate, designated and labeled areas in the cooler or freezer. Transportation of Halal products should be in clean, preferably refrigerated, vehicles in a manner which would prevent contamination with non-Halal products or spoilage during transportation. Separation of Halal from non-Halal products during transportation is not necessary if products are sealed. If products are not sealed there is a likelihood of leakage especially in fresh meats and this calls for separation of Halal from non-Halal products.
V. Guidelines for Halal Certification of Processing Plants and Procedures
A. Overall Approval of Plants and Procedures
For a facility to be approved for general Halal certification, it must consistently perform the same type of production and produce the same group of approved products using the same ingredients, otherwise continuous supervision is necessary. Upon request for approval by the processing plant, the Halal certifying organization should:
1. Review the production layout, production procedures, policies, and practices. This will involve direct inspection and discussion with the plant management and personnel.
2. Review and approve all ingredients. Ingredients and the supplier’s procedures need to be established and all new suppliers or any change in the ingredients during the year’s certification period need to be evaluated.
3. Develop and approve a written procedure for “Halal-only” certified production, which could differ from non-Halal production, i.e. develop a Halal Assurance System or a Halal Critical Control Point system.
4. Authorize, in writing, how and when the producer can use the certifying organization’s name and Halal logo on products and in advertising, and confirm packaging.
5. Review sanitation procedures, sanitation chemicals, preparation of equipment, to evaluate the cleaning program.
6. For simple or dedicated production lines, where the same processes are used daily, there is no need for supervision like in canning plants. Once production practices are documented and set up, the trained supervisor doesn’t need to be present to supervise all aspects of production. In such situations, the plant and all production may be considered Halal all the time, requiring only an annual review and a certification letter. When an annual certification letter is issued to the processor, a control listing of lot codes produced under Halal supervision must be maintained by the certifying organization to attest to the Halal status by lot or batch code.
7. Perform impromptu audits to check documentation, sanitation, ingredients, sign-in logs, packaging, labeling and storage.
B. Guidelines for Complex Production
Prepared foods usually contain a wide variety of ingredients or derivatives and thus there is a need for the certifying organization to be extra careful in reviewing and approving suppliers’ sources. The production plant of complex and multiple meat based products such as soups, stews, prepared meals, etc must have an on-site Muslim supervisor. If the plant produces vegetarian and Halal products but also produces non-Halal meat products on an irregular bases, the facility needs to conduct specific cleaning and preparation processes before starting Halal production. For complex production where Halal meat products are processed, the certifying organization must be informed every time the Halal production is scheduled. In this case, the following guidelines should be followed:
1. There should be an on-site inspection performed by a Muslim at the beginning of each production shift to check ingredients, cleanliness and packaging.
2. The raw meat to be used for processing must originate from a Halal slaughtering plant.
3. Complete and thorough cleaning must be done prior to the commencement of Halal production. Equipment, piping (CIP in place or dismounted), feed lines, conveyors, cooking equipment, utensils retorts, kettles, totes, barrels, and all other equipment used for Halal production must be thoroughly cleaned and free from foreign material.
4. It is preferred to run the Halal production at the beginning of the work shift when all machines are clean and sanitized. Whenever a non-Halal product is run between Halal productions, a Muslim inspector must inspect again all the ingredients, cleanliness and packaging.
5. The certifying organization must obtain a production report of what is produced as Halal and non-Halal products by lot code.
6. Packaging control procedure must be in place to assure that only Halal certified products are labeled with Halal labels or logos.
7. The processing plant must not process pork or pork derived ingredients using the same equipment and machines. Otherwise, a complete physical separation must be established at the plant to prevent any chance of contamination of Halal food with forbidden ingredients.
C. Documents Needed for the Used Ingredients or Derivatives
Manufacturers supplying ingredients to processors should provide authorized statements that such ingredients do not contain alcohol or unacceptable animal based products. These documents need to be produced before the production of complex Halal products. If an inspector finds non-approved alternative ingredients or supplies that cannot be accepted then the certification procedure is immediately suspended or revoked until cleared by the certifying organization.
D. Requirements for Packaging Materials
Packaging materials may be questionable in their Halal status. Plastic containers of frozen foods may appear to be acceptable while the source of some of the ingredients of plastics may not be clean. In many cases, stearates of animal origin may be used in their production. Metal cans are also suspect and some of them may use oil to manufacture cans. Such oils must be derived from Halal sources. The packaging or canning materials must not contain any Najs, toxic or harmful component.
E. Requirements for Labeling
The Halal certifying organization must have a written agreement with the processor indicating that the printed labels and packaging materials that will be supplied to the processor are approved by the certifying organization. Under no circumstances can a company use a certifying organization’s name and or symbol on its packages as certified Halal unless they have a written approval from the organization. The use of all Halal logos, symbols and stamps must be under the control of the certifying organization. The information on packages or containers of Halal food should include, among other relevant information, the name or symbol of the certifying organization, name of product, list of ingredients, weight, date of production and special codes for tracing products back to the source.
F. Requirements for Storage and Transportation
Same as those required for meat and poultry mentioned above.
VI. Guidelines for Halal Certification of Food Service Facilities
- The restaurant or food service facility must be inspected by a representative of the certifying organization upon request from the owners/managers. The inspector will check all the cooking utensils, kitchen equipment, freezers/coolers, packages and storage areas and examine the menus and prepare a report of his findings. If the review is positive the restaurant will be certified to serve Halal foods for a year to be renewed yearly upon request and inspection.
- The restaurant must not process or serve pork or pork products at any time. Also the facility must not use or serve alcohol.
- The raw or further processed meat to be used in food preparation must originate from an approved Halal slaughtering/processing plant. Each box of Halal meat must be marked Halal and accompanied with a Halal certificate from the processor.
- All food ingredients, including flavorings, oils, marinating solutions, etc. must be disclosed to the inspector and must be approved as Halal before being used.
- The Restaurant facility and equipment must be cleaned periodically and thoroughly. Utensils and equipment must be cleaned with hot water and detergent after use. Fresh meets should not come in contact with other food items.
- There should be clean restrooms located outside the dinning area where employees must wash their hands with detergent every time they use them. Good hygienic practices are encouraged all the time by the restaurant employees. Customers should have access to the restrooms too.
- Once the restaurant is approved by the certifying organization, the management should post the Halal Certificate for the facility in a place where customers and inspectors can see it and inquire about it if they wish to.
- Impromptu audits to the facility by the Muslim inspector should be performed periodically to guarantee compliance.
VII. Requirements for other Halal Foods and Ingredients/Derivatives
A. Plants and other Species
Generally, all plants and other species such as mushrooms, algae, bacteria, etc. are considered Halal except those which are poisonous, intoxicating or hazardous to human health.
B. Fruits, Juices and Vegetables
Fruits, vegetables and natural juices are all considered Halal when they are pure. Processed fruits and vegetables may not be acceptable if they are processed in factories using non Halal oils, fats, preservatives, flavoring, etc. The use of processing oils and other added ingredients must be evaluated for Halal status.
C. Milk and Dairy Products
Milk: Milk derived from domesticated Halal species is acceptable.
Yoghurt: Yoghurt and yoghurt products should not contain gelatin. If gelatin is used, it must be derived from bones and hides of Halal slaughtered animals.
Cheese: Many cheeses contain rennet and other enzymes, which are derived from animals. It is essential to ensure that these enzymes are derived from Halal slaughtered animals or from microbial or plant sources.
D. Bread, Breading, Cakes, and Pastries
Bakery goods do pose Halal concern. Breading on products like fried chicken or cheese sticks or use of breading in stuffing of fillers may contain questionable ingredients like cysteine, fats, oils, colors, flavors, preservatives and alcohol based ingredients. It is important to make sure that no alcohol or un-Halal animal based ingredients are used in breads, breading, cakes or pastries.
E. Fats and Oils
Fats must be derived from Halal slaughtered animals and oils from a plant source. Haram preservatives or processing aids must not be used in vegetable based oil.
F. Alcohol By-Products
Alcohol usually refers to ethyl alcohol. All products or ingredients containing alcohol are prohibited in Islam, even for cooking purpose or in fillings such as for candies. Artificial and natural flavors, colors and some type of meat or vegetable bases may contain alcohol products used to carry the flavor. The level of alcohol in the final food product should be below 0.05% to be acceptable. This amount will vary by country . Vinegar, a by-product of alcohol, is permitted in Islam but it is advisable not to use the words “wine vinegar” in order not to confuse consumers. Amyland Isomers of Amyl Alcohol is not acceptable.
G. Other Ingredients/ Derivatives
It is important to check all ingredients added to Halal Consumables and to Non-Consumables during processing before use to make sure that such ingredients are Halal certified by a certifying organization. The following is a list of some ingredients or derivatives. For more listing of ingredients check with the manufacturer and with your Muslim scholars or advisors for opinions.
Anti-Caking: All anti foaming agents are acceptable with the exception of Edible Bone Phosphate, animal Stearic Acid and Animal Magnesium Stearate unless derived from Halal slaughtered animals. All vegetable oil or silica based preparations are Halal.
Antioxidants: All acceptable, except Tocopherols unless derived from vegetable oil.
Artificial Sweetening Agents: All Halal.
Clones and GMO’s: The acceptance of Clones of species and Genetically Modified Organisms for Muslim consumption is still questionable. The final status of their approval or not is awaiting Muslim Jurists to decide on. (see also Transgenic below).
Colors: All Halal, providing that animal emulsifier is not used as a carrier or ethanol used as a solvent.
Emulsifiers: Plant derived emulsifiers and those derived from animals that are slaughtered Halal are acceptable.
Enzymes: All plant and microbial enzymes are acceptable. Also enzymes from permissible animals that are slaughtered Halal are acceptable.
Flavor Enhancers: Must not have animal enzymes used as catalysts.
Flour Treatment Agents: Sodium Steroyl Lactylate, Calcium Steroyl Lactylate and L-Cysteine Hydrochloride must be derived from a Halal source.
Food Acids: Lactic Acid must be derived from a Halal source.
Fusel Oil: This is a mixture of several alcohols, chiefly amyl alcohol, produced as a by-product of alcohol fermentation. Fusel Oil is not acceptable for use as flavoring for Halal goods.
Gelatin: Gelatin is a water soluble protein prepared from collagen, which is obtained from the corium or inner layer of beef hides from cattle slaughtered for human consumption. The extraction of gelatin from collagen is a separation process not a change of state. Halal gelatin can only be obtained from collagen obtained from the inner layer of beef hides of cattle that have been slaughtered Halal. Islam allows the use of the skin or outer layer of the hide only after tanning for production of canteens or water carriers, garments, shoes, belts, etc. Muslims are forbidding from consuming the hides unless under duress. All fish gelatin is considered Halal.
Glands from Cats or Beavers: Ingredients from these glands, which are used in some strawberry and chocolate flavorings, cannot be used in Halal flavorings.
Glycerin /Glycerol: Must be derived from plant sources.
Humectants: Glycerin and Hydrogenated Glucose Syrups must be derived from a plant source.
Mineral Salts: All salts are Halal.
Non-Consumables: Non-food substances and materials such as cosmetics, clothing, shoes, etc. which are applied to human body and worn by Muslims should be checked to make sure that all the ingredients used in their manufacturing are not derived from Haram sources. Also, Halal non-consumables should not be toxic or hazardous to human health.
Preservatives: All preservatives are considered Halal except those which might be dangerous to human health.
Propellants: All Halal.
Thickeners: Enzyme-treated starches must be Halal sourced.
Transgenic: Plants that have other plant genes transplanted into them are Halal. Plants with animals’ genes introduced to them may be acceptable only if the animal species are acceptable. The introduction of genes from non-acceptable species to acceptable species is not permitted.
Vegetable Gums: All gums from plant sources are Halal.
Vinegar: Muslims are allowed to consume products that change from a Haram state to a Halal state. For example low fermented fruit juice with alcohol is Haram, however vinegar resulting from it is considered Halal.
Originally published on www.halaltransactions.org