Halal certification takes into account every step in the supply chain, from the basic ingredients used to the manufacturing process to final packaging, all the way until the product reaches the consumer. As such, Halal supply chains must be transparent and traceable in order for products to be eligible for certification.
There are three general areas of Halal supply chains: procurement, manufacturing, and distribution. The first step, procurement, involves the identification, purchase, and delivery of ingredients suitable for use in Halal-certified final products. For example, a commercial bakery wishing to sell Halal-certified cookies would need to find suppliers that can provide flour, butter, eggs, sugar, and baking powder that are either Halal-certified already, or which have traceable and transparent sources that can be verified as Halal suitable by the certifier. This is particularly important if a manufacturer is using another processed product in their own product. For example, if the bakery planned to include candy pieces or frosting made elsewhere, those products would need to meet all of the same Halal standards.
Then, the manufacturing process itself must be Halal. The production facility must be clean and free from impurities, such as dirt, insects, and toxins. The process must be sanitary and ensure that the baked goods are safe to eat. It must also ensure that they don’t come into contact with any unacceptable ingredients. For example, some companies produce products that contain pork as well as products that are certified Halal, and thus, completely free of pork products. These kinds of products would need to be made on dedicated processing lines, or the equipment must be cleaned to certain strict standards between products. The cookie bakery we used as an example would need to demonstrate to a Halal auditor that all appropriate steps were followed to ensure cleanliness and prevent cross-contamination with non-Halal critical ingredients.
Once the product is ready, it must be packaged and distributed such that it reaches the consumer in a Halal state. If our bakery example is planning to sell cookies directly to the public, they might be able to do so simply by demonstrating that they would be handled in a Halal-compliant manner through the point of sale. If they planned to package and distribute the cookies, there would be a few more steps. All packaging materials used need to be suitable for Halal products, and products need to be distributed in ways that maintain the Halal status. For example, they could not be sold unwrapped next to a maple-bacon donut, even if they had been produced in a Halal manner up to that point. Since some packaging materials and food-grade glues contain animal-derived ingredients, Halal certification would also consider how the cookies were stored and packaged.
There are other elements of the Halal supply chain that might not seem obvious at first but they are just as critical as the actual ingredients used. Any kind of food can be contaminated by being in contact with substances that contain toxins, bacteria, or other impurities, even if they weren’t directly added to the product. Similarly, Halal food can be rendered non-Halal by contact with alcohol or pork-derived substances, for example in packaging or cleaning products. Even though they are not added to the food as ingredients, they are an integral part of the food’s production, and as such, must be free from any prohibited substances. That’s why food-grade cleaners, packaging films, and sealants must be Halal compliant.
The thoroughness of the Halal certification process is what gives consumers the peace of mind that they seek in purchasing Halal products. In fact, a significant proportion of Halal consumers are non-Muslims but look to Halal products because they value the purity and assurance of third-party certification that they offer.
Though the process may seem daunting at first, ISA works with you to guide you through the steps of Halal certification at every part of the supply chain. Reach out to us today to see how we can help your products stand out!