The government has, at last, introduced a much-awaited bill in the National Assembly for setting up an authority to regulate trade in food products strictly within what is permissible by Islamic laws.
To be called Pakistan Halal Authority (PHA), the new body will be the first legal entity at the federal level dealing with the halal sector. The Council of Common Interests had in its meeting on March 18 given approval to its creation. The governments of the provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir may also opt to adopt the provisions as envisaged in the PHA bill, 2014. The board of governors of PHA shall consist of relevant stakeholders both from the federal and provincial governments, Shariah scholars and chambers of commerce.
At present, Punjab is the only province which has its own authority called Punjab Halal Development Agency (PHDA) to prescribe standards and processes for certification of halal products. What will be its fate is not clear. Similarly, the fate of Halal Research Council which was set up a few years ago to supervise halal-related affairs in the absence of a formal legal oganisation remains to be determined once the bill is passed. It was empowered to issue halal certification and assurance programme.
Punjab is the only province which has its own authority — the Punjab Halal Development Agency.
An anomalous feature of the project is that the PHA will be run by the federal ministry of science and technology and its minister will be its head. To be precise, the ministry has little know-how of promoting trade that too of halal goods, nor is it much aware of which ingredients in a food product are ‘haram’ and prohibited by religion and hence requiring its ban. These tasks can, at best, be performed by the ministries of commerce and religious affairs. Why the science ministry has been chosen to carry out such a delicate task is difficult to understand.
The proposed PHA will take long-term measures to boost Pakistan’s share in the global halal trade which is expected to be worth $1.6trn by 2018, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 6.9pc, according to a research report by Dubai Chamber of Commerce. Although Pakistan’s share is negligible at present, it can become one of the active players in the global meat trade if the PHA acts effectively. Halal market includes a large variety of food products from raw chicken and beef to processed foods and cold drinks, pharmaceuticals and even toiletries. Indonesia is the biggest halal food market in Asia with Turkey being the second largest.
A major clientele is the Muslim expatriate population which is too particular about consuming halal food. But trade is mainly in the hands of companies based in non-Muslim countries, with none of the Muslim countries being in the top ten. Ironically, the country considered world leader in the halal export market so far has been New Zealand.
There are numerous problems that Pakistani exporters of halal meat face but the major one is meeting the strict safety codes of meat importing countries. There is a lack of capability and technical know-how in processing, storing, transporting and marketing of meat, weak certification system, lack of skills and capacity building programmes for farmers, slaughter men and processors. Meanwhile, the government has done well by giving income tax exemption to investors who install modern meat processing plants.
The proposed Pakistan Halal Authority will set halal standards for government-notified products and processes for adoption by a National Standards Body in accordance with OIC guidelines. The bill also provides a list of halal and non-halal animals. Contravention of the new law will be punishable with imprisonment of up to six months, or with the fine of up to Rs500,000, but not less than Rs50,000, or with both. The OIC guidelines define method of slaughtering of halal animals. It goes without saying that uniformity and consensus especially among OIC member countries is very important to have one halal standard.
Malaysia, which plays a leading global role in the promotion of halal food products, has its own halal standard and awards recognition to international bodies after these are approved for conducting halal certification work. According to a list issued on July 31, 2015, Malaysia now recognises 73 organisations across the world as halal certification bodies. This includes one organisation from Pakistan, namely, Jamea Markaz Uloom Islamia, Mansoora, Multan Road, Lahore. Will it work under PHA or Malaysia may be difficult for it to decide.
Malaysia has also its own protocol for guidance in preparation of halal meat and poultry productions. It was interesting to observe when recently Punjab Food Authority (PFA) directed franchised fast food outlets in Lahore to strictly ensure the use of halal meat after it received several complaints that meat being imported by the food outlets was obtained through stunning. The PFA directed the butchers and fast food outlets in the city to adopt the Malaysian Protocol for the halal meat and poultry production.
Originally published on www.dawn.com
Attendees at the third annual Halal Food and Eid Festival at NewPark Mall in Newark on Saturday had more than 20 Halal food, drink and dessert vendors to choose from in addition to shopping at a large bazaar with more than 30 vendors offering a diverse selection of items such as clothing, jewelry, books, gifts, toys and artwork from around the world.
Held in the main parking lot between Sears and Macy’s, the event attracted approximately 8,000 people, equal to a year ago, according to Irfan Rydhan, Halal fest founder and event director. “This is about the same as last year but this year we did see more people of other faiths and communities attend — which was one of our goals: to market ‘Halal’ foods to the mainstream community more,” Rydhan said.
In Arabic, Halal means permissible. It refers to religious dietary guidelines similar to kosher food for Jews. Alcohol and pork are prohibited. Eid means festival or holiday in Arabic. Muslims recently celebrated Eid al-Fitr, “Feast of Breaking the Fast” to mark the end of the month of Ramadan.
The organizers of the Halal Food Festival hope that they will be able to attract even more visitors next year.
Originally published on www.mercurynews.com
A travel company in Turkey is offering the country’s first 100% halal cruise, aimed at religiously observant Muslims, it’s reported.
Travellers joining the ship when it sets sail at the end of September will find gender-segregated sports facilities, spas and Turkish baths, the Anadolu news agency reports. There will also be no alcohol, no gambling and no pork products on the voyage across the Aegean Sea, the report says. Even the ship’s furnishings are being carefully considered. “We don’t even have a painting on a wall of the ship which is against Islamic values,” project manager Gokmen Aydinalp tells the agency.
Travellers on the four-night trip, called On the Trail of the Ottomans, will visit sights in Rhodes and Crete. “It will not be just a cruise which does not have alcohol or pork-related products,” says Kemal Gunay, general manager of Fusion Tour, which is running the cruise. “It will be a cultural and historical tour which promises an atmosphere of social networking.”
Halal tourism is a booming industry in Turkey. Hotels catering to Muslim holidaymakers’ requirements are on the increase, offering features such as women-only swimming pools or beaches.
KUALA LUMPUR, After becoming a major global player with the production of toys and electronic devices, Taiwan is now aspiring to be a significant halal products producer as well. “Malaysia is a testing ground for Taiwan foods market and if we are successful, we will export our products to other Muslim countries,” said Cheng Shyang-Yun, deputy representative of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia.
“The biggest challenge to market Taiwan products in Malaysia is the halal issue. “However, we do not see it as an issue as Taiwan government is encouraging more foods producers in Taiwan to get certification. To date, there are more than 300 halal products in Taiwan.”
He also said the Taiwanese authorities are now seeking to collaborate with Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) to additionally certify the Taiwanese foods products as halal. Spearheading this halal products push among consumers here is Jimrosa Taiwan Foods Shop, which aims to bring halal-certified Taiwan food into Malaysia.
Opening its maiden store at Mid Valley Megamall here, Jimrosa (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd director Willy Seah said plans have already been drawn up for a second shop within Klang Valley and regional expansion thereafter.
Originally published on www.therakyatpost.com
Perak is known to many locals and tourists as the traditional food heaven. It is not uncommon to hear of those willing to travel hundreds of miles just to satisfy their cravings for dishes synonymous with the state.
The three-day programme called the “Perak Food Trail” saw four representatives of the media and 28 from Singaporean and Indonesian tourism agencies travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh.
IPOH CHICKEN RICE
One of the most popular dishes of Perak is undoubtedly the Hainanese chicken rice. When the entourage arrived in Ipoh at about 8pm, the Tourism Malaysia Perak director Ibrahim Seddiqi Talib brought them to dinner at the famous Nasi Ayam Hainan Ipoh restaurant.
The Hainanese chicken rice is a dish originating from the Hainan province in China. Restaurant owner Shahril Hizri Mohamed said the chicken is prepared by boiling it along with stock made from chicken bones.
“The same stock is what makes the rice flavourful. “The Hainanese chicken rice is served with fried bean sprouts, sliced cucumber and a dip made from chilli sauce and ginger,” he said. Shahril said the tasty dish was once only available to non-Muslims as it was not prepared in a halal way. This gave him the idea of starting a business selling halal Hainanese chicken rice.
“I had little idea what a hit my restaurant would become. We even have non-Muslim patrons coming in and complimenting the taste of our chicken rice,” he said. Terry Lai, 54, a tour guide from Singapore attested to Shahri’s claim. “It tastes just like the real thing. Usually the halal version of Hainanese chicken rice would be lacking in something, but the one at this restaurant tastes just as good,” he said.
HALAL CHINESE FOOD
The next day, the entourage was brought to the Caterbest Restaurant in Bercham for lunch to experience authentic Chinese dishes that were halal. Restaurant owner Wong Swee Kok said he decided to operate a halal business to provide Muslims the opportunity to experience the true taste of traditional Chinese cooking.
“This is also to assure them that the Chinese food can be prepared in halal way while remaining authentic,” he said. Wong said many of his chefs and assistant cooks are Muslims and there is also a halal logo in front of his restaurant.
“This helps assure potential customers to try the food here as everything we serve is 100 percent halal,” he said. Meanwhile, Ibrahim said that having more Chinese restaurateurs going halal would do well to boost the tourism industry of Perak.
“There used to be only the non-halal option for popular Chinese fares like “dim sum” and specialty soups. “But the effort of many operators in the food industry to provide halal Chinese food has turned Perak into one of the must-visit destinations for those who likes to travel in search of good food,” he said.
Originally published on www.bernama.com.my
MADRID-. EXPOHALAL SPAIN 2015 plans to hold the first-ever halal Expo in Spain in October this year, said on Wednesday the organizers of the first Halal exhibition to be held in Spain.
Currently, more than three hundred Spanish companies are Halal certified. The majority of them belong to the food industry, with products as diverse as soups, frozen potato omelettes, non-alcoholic sparkling juices or candies, being the meat industry the most consolidated in the Spanish Halal sector.
Anwar El Mezwaghi, CEO of Ambar Connect and the exhibition organizer, was accompanied during EXPOHALAL SPAIN 2015 official presentation by the General Director of Trade of the Community of Madrid (Government of Madrid), Mr. Luis Ángel Martín Martín, the General Director of the public consortium to improve Spain’s relations with the Arabic world (Casa Árabe), Mr. Eduardo López Busquets, and the President of the Spanish Islam Authority (Junta Islámica) and CEO of Instituto Halal (Spanish Halal Institute), Mrs. Isabel Romero.
“Spain has a great cultural, social and economic potential. It also has excellent diplomatic relations with Arab countries, who choose us as a destination for the development of economic activities” explained Anwar El Mezwaghi. A great potential not exploited in off, according to the CEO of Ambar Connect. “The goal of EXPOHALAL SPAIN is to aware Middle East markets on the opportunities offered by Spain,” he added.
The General Director of Trade of the Community of Madrid, Luis Ángel Martín Martín, thanked the initiative and stressed that “our region, infrastructure, trade, cultural and leisure activities, in addition to its accommodation and restoration, has established Madrid Community as an important center for business tourism, and one of the principal European exhibition destinations”.
EXPOHALAL SPAIN 2015 will turn Madrid into the European epicentre of the Halal industry during two days, October 21 and 22, gathering professionals of Spanish and international industry. The appointment, the first Halal fair of Spain and one of the few in Europe, will cover food, tourism and cosmetics sectors among others. The exhibitors, mostly Spanish and from the Mediterranean area, will have access to foreign delegations and buyers from the MENA region, and also from European countries with important Muslim communities, as France, United Kingdom or Belgium. With a special interest to show the Mediterranean products to the Malaysian and Indonesian consumers.
“The fair also tries to highlights Spanish tourism. As a receiver country and given the quality of its services, the Spanish sector can access this visitor profile adapting to basic needs, “said Carolina de Funes, director of Ambar Connect.
In recent years, this sector has showed a growing interest to attend to the needs of Muslim visitors, through specialized agencies, hotels and restaurants with Halal menus. Even luxury firms and spanish fashion establishments are looking for personal shoppers specialized on this public.
“Spain can be a key agent in international Halal markets. We have a unique opportunity to position ourselves as a point of meeting of the Halal industry, “said project manager Maria Salvador, who explained that the fair will be accompanied by a conferences program on the latest debates related to the Halal sector.
“2015 will be the Spanish Halal year, with the celebration next week in Cordoba of the I International Halal Congress of Spain, ” Halal, A Global Concept “, and the exhibition at the end of October in Madrid” said Isabel Romero, CEO of Instituto Halal (Spanish Halal Institute) and president of the Spanish Islam Authority (Junta Islámica).
The term Halal refers to the practices, services and healthy products allowed to the Muslims. Although traditionally it is associated to the food, it actually spreads to many sectors, as tourism or Islamic Banking and Finance.
Casa Árabe opened its doors to representatives of the embassies of Morocco, Malaysia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Between the guests were, among others, the Ambassador of Gambia, Mr. Don Lang Yabou, the General Director of Tourism of Madrid Destino (Madrid City Council), Mrs. Mar de Miguel, representatives of ICEX (Spanish official export entity) , IFEMA, and professionals of the Halal sector.
Being presented by the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) through a partnership with Dinar Standard, a New York based growth strategy research and advisory firm, it has been developed as part of the Waqf Fund’s initiatives to enhance Islamic finance training in the region.
This was told during a press conference at the BIBF campus in Juffair, said a report in the Gulf Daily News.
Central Bank of Bahrain E.D. for banking supervision and Waqf Fund chairman Khalid Hamad said the kingdom was uniquely positioned to increase its standing as a regional financial hub to support the halal food and lifestyle sectors, provided their significant potential size.
Rafi-Uddin Shikoh, Dinar Standard chief executive, who also addressed the press, said even as Islamic capital persisted to seek new growth opportunities, there was very limited engagement with the related halal economy sectors.
“There is a great need to develop Islamic finance professionals’ understanding of the opportunity and how to enhance it in terms of investment, working capital, trade financing, takaful and other necessities,’ he added.
“Strategic investments on the part of Islamic private equity firms in halal food and lifestyle related trades and businesses, trade financing, working capital financing, mergers and acquisitions, takaful, etc are just some of the ways Islamic finance can capitalize on these sectors.”
The halal food and Muslim lifestyle divisions are about to reach $2.47 trillion by 2018, based on the ‘State of the Global Islamic Economy 2014’ report, issued by Thomson Reuters with the help of Dinar Standard.
BIBF head of the centre for academics Ahmed Al Rayes said the managerial level course is tailored for Islamic finance and takaful executives and managers.
“It will give audience a summary of the halal market opportunity and focus on specific areas of financing/takaful needs and gaps by the key halal economy sectors of food, personal care, pharma, media and recreation, travel and fashion,” he added.
Sydney, Australia:- Halal food certification in Australia and other parts of the world has become a contentious issue. Recently, a Western Australian cafe received hateful and anti-Islamic messages after its owners tried to explain halal on Facebook. A South Australian company stopped certifying its yoghurt in November 2014 after it was targeted by a social media campaign. So, the question is What is Halal and how does certification work?
Recently, an independent senator Jacqui Lambie in the country threatened to introduce a private senator’s bill to close what she claims are “legal loopholes” that: … could allow financing of terrorists and Australia’s enemies through halal money.
Lambie is not the first to raise the issue in federal parliament. WA Liberal MP Luke Simpkins claimed that halal is converting unwitting consumers to Islam. LNP MP George Christensen linked halal certification to religious extremism.
Activist groups are telling consumers to boycott halal products. They also claim that the money earned by certifiying products as halal funds extremist groups and is part of a campaign to introduce sharia law in the country.
Halal food certifiers and others in the Australian Muslim community have rejected these baseless claims, and those who make them are yet to produce any credible evidence. But a lack of transparency from certifiers, along with a fragmented marketplace and confusion over what the halal certification process involves, creates a climate of uncertainty for anti-halal campaigners and Muslim consumers alike.
What Is Halal And How Does Certification Work?
What is halal food?
Muslims choose to eat halal food because it meets requirements that they believe make it suitable for consumption. Halal originates from rules set out in the Qur’an and the Hadith (the Prophet Muhammad’s example), which have been followed throughout generations of Islamic practice. For Muslim consumers, knowing how the food was produced is an important consideration. Raqib Chowdhury, CC BY
As a concept, halal does not only pertain to food. Halal means “permissible” and can refer to any aspect of life covered by the teachings of Islam.
Halal is a part of sharia as a system of morals to guide Muslims’ actions and behaviour, but this should not be confused with halal as part of a codified system of sharia law. Halal prescriptions might be considered by observant Muslims to be religious obligations, but Australia is a secular country and halal forms no part of any Australian law.
As with many aspects of Islamic practice, the definition of halal food is a contested issue. For example, there is disagreement within the Muslim community about whether stunning animals before slaughter produces halal meat. Both sides draw on Islamic teachings and traditions to support their positions. Disputes such as this highlight why halal certification is important for Muslim consumers.
How does halal certification work?
There are three different types of halal certification in Australia. Individual products can be certified, meaning the production process and ingredients in that particular product are halal. So a consumer could buy halal yoghurt, for example, from a store that also sold non-halal yoghurt.
Production facilities can be certified, so that any products produced according to the certification standards can claim to be halal. For example, in an abattoir that is certified to produce halal meat, the meat will be halal no matter what cuts or final shape the meat takes. However, it may not even get labelled as halal when it reaches the market.
Retail premises can also be certified so that all food prepared and sold from that business is halal.
The halal certification process varies depending on who is performing the service. This is where uncertainty creeps in. Muslim consumers are largely unable to find out exactly what process has been followed in the certification process and what standards have been set by the certification provider.
Why is halal certification needed?
Halal certification is needed in Australia for two key reasons.
Firstly, certification helps local Muslims decide which products to buy. Modern food processing and globalised markets make it hard for Muslims in Australia to know how their food was produced and where it has come from. To get around this uncertainty, consumers who want to buy halal food need a system that checks whether products meet the requirements of being halal.
In this sense, halal certification is similar to any type of food certification and audit system. Whether it be halal, kosher, gluten-free or organic, food certification services help consumers to make informed decisions about the food they eat. Companies around the world are embracing halal to compete in the large Muslim market. Mark Ghosh/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA
The second reason has to do with trade. With the global halal food trade estimated at A$1.75 trillion annually, Muslim markets provide a lucrative opportunity for Australian companies. If companies want to export their products to those markets, they need to have halal certification.
Who certifies halal food?
Certified halal products in Australia can come from two sources: domestic products that are produced locally and certified by local businesses, or imported products that have been certified overseas.
Numerous halal certifiers operate in Australia. The Department of Agriculture maintains a list of Islamic organisations that have an “Approved Arrangement” to certify halal meat for export. There are 21 such organisations operating in Australia as of November 2014.
However, Australian government regulation applies only to providers that certify meat for export. While much of this meat may end up in the domestic market, certification providers that service only the Australian market do not come under any government regulation.
While some halal certification providers are associated with, or part of, larger Australian Islamic organisations, such as the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, others are stand-alone businesses that provide local certification services.
With so much uncertainty about what constitutes halal, how products are certified and who is doing the certification, consumers who wish to buy halal food can find that a difficult task.
So, what What Is Halal And How Does Certification Work?F or non-Muslim Australian consumers, however, halal food is little different to any other food available. It only matters whether or not food is halal if a person has the religious conviction and desire to eat only halal food. Although improvements could be made, halal certification is one way Muslims are able to do this.
Originally published on www.sciencecodex.com
Initiated by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Thomson Reuters, the 2nd Islamic Economy Awards will be held at the Ritz-Carlton DIFC on January 14.
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in line with the directive of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, the annual award seeks to recognise innovative world-class business initiatives and ideas that are sharia-compliant and contribute to the social and economic welfare of the Muslim population.
Established in 2013, this latest cycle of the award has witnessed a strong participation from international and local companies interested in enhancing bilateral trade and investment relations between Islamic nations while forging closer economic ties with the rest of the world towards fostering prosperity, harmony and well-being for all.
H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, Member of the Board of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: “The latest response to the Islamic Economy Awards speaks volumes about the local and international business communities’ interest to Islamic economy initiatives as the award not only highlights Dubai’s strategic role in promoting Islamic economy but is instrumental in taking the emirate a step closer to realizing its goal of turning Dubai into a world capital of Islamic economy.”
Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, said: “The second edition of the Islamic Economy Awards consolidates Dubai’s leading status as the global capital of Islamic economy. The Award spotlights Dubai as an international hub that convenes Islamic economy innovators and stakeholders towards encouraging creativity and innovation in the sector.
“Islamic economy has today emerged as a vital contributor to the world’s leading economies. At DIEDC, we are committed to supporting innovation in the sector by honouring innovators and highlighting their achievements that will in turn enhance awareness for Islamic economy.”
Nadim Najjar, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters, Middle East and North Africa, said: “Thomson Reuters is proud to be one of the key players promoting the great value of Islamic Economy along with our strategic partners namely the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center. We would like this award to make a statement to the world at large that the financial system can be a force for good in society.”
“Today, we are seeing a global momentum around Islamic Economy. This is no longer just an arena for one country, Islamic Economy is a global economy now. This award will serve to promote best practice and raise awareness around the vast opportunities for investors and companies outside of the Muslim world to participate and support these growing industries,” he added.
The eight award categories are as follows:
1. Islamic Finance – Islamic microfinance, SME and Venture Capital Financing, corporate or sovereign sukuk issuing entities, takaful and retakaful, Islamic banking, and Islamic fund management
2. Food & Health – Agriculture, ingredients and manufacturing, retail, logistics, research and product development and food services, cosmetics, personal care, and pharmaceuticals
3. Media – Entertainment shows, publications, social media, and mobile apps
4. Hospitality and Tourism – Family friendly travel, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), medical tourism, and Hajj/ Ummrah
5. Waqf and Endowments – Innovative solutions, government managed and private awqaf/waqf management services, and cross-border waqf
6. SME Development – Technology, incubation, training, infrastructure and SME Eco System development
7. Islamic Economy Knowledge Infrastructure – Research and educational institutions or initiatives, compliance and standardisation
8. Islamic Arts – Artists, fashion and jewellery designers besides In addition, a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ will recognise an outstanding business leader for demonstrating inspired leadership while positively influencing the Islamic economy and making an impactful contribution to the sector.
Originally published on www.ameinfo.com