HALAL Islamic Conformity Certification

HALAL Islamic Conformity Certification

Halal food is an issue in which consumers are very sensitive in Muslim societies living in our country, in all Islamic countries and even in foreign countries. There are around 2 billion Muslim population in the world. This figure means that the commercial size of halal food products worldwide is around 660 billion dollars. However, when it comes to halal certification, the issue is not limited to food and drinks. Halal certification is also applicable to all cosmetic products and creams applied to the human body and passed on to the body. In fact, it is important in this respect which textile products are produced from the skin of the animal and which raw materials are obtained from textile dyes. It is even important that the glycerin found in the systems used to filter water is obtained from vegetable or animal substances.

In the tourism sector, which is a service sector, the mention of halal hotel services means that the meals and other services provided in these hotels are provided in accordance with certain Islamic rules. Therefore, halal certification addresses a wide range of sectors. When these sectors are added, the commercial dimension of food and all these services reaches 2 trillion Dollars. Considering the fact that all these figures have led to an annual growth of 8-10, it is obvious how large the scope of halal certification is.

According to the researches, our country is the second largest global market in terms of halal food and lifestyle. In 2018, the size of this market in our country is estimated to reach 240 billion dollars. The largest market in this area is Indonesia. Saudi Arabia ranks third.

In today's modern production system, it is not possible for any Muslim to decide whether or not a product is halal without expert support. In order to make the right decision, analysis and evaluation of experts in the fields of food, agriculture, veterinary medicine, biology, chemistry and the like are needed.

In order for a foodstuff to be halal, it is not sufficient that only the foodstuff itself or the raw materials used in its production are halal. In addition, the origin of the foodstuff, its production or processing processes and processing methods must comply with the principles of Islamic law. At the same time, the materials used in all these processes must be obtained in the right ways according to Islamic religious principles. Halal food must be free of haram or suspected food and substances.

In terms of the meaning of the word halal, religiously allowed, according to the rules of Islamic law means appropriate. It is the food that God allows people to eat and drink. All Muslims must not reach forbidden. He has to live the way he is allowed to live. In this respect, halal food means the foods that a Muslim can consume according to the principles of Islam.

Halal certification is a very complex process. This complexity stems from both the interpretation of religion and the technical possibilities. Therefore, the subject of halal certification should be examined and evaluated very well. Halal documents issued by organizations that are not competent and do not have the necessary infrastructure, even if they have good intentions, carry a risk.

There are some organizations in the world that are not accepted by some sects and religious scholars but who give halal certificate according to Islamic religious principles. For example, the most controversial issue is whether gelatin, blood serum, enzyme and similar substances produced from pig are halal. Although not scientifically proven, some organizations acknowledge that gelatin, collagen and animal yeasts produced from halal uncut animals have been altered and give halal certification to these products. For this reason, these institutions should be examined very well while obtaining halal certificate.

In the meantime, within Islamic religion, there are different approaches on certain issues according to sectarian differences or decisions of religious organizations of countries. There are, for example, different considerations and practices as to whether ethyl alcohol is forbidden by synthetic means or wine. Some organizations may accept the addition of ethyl alcohol to the product at different rates.

According to the halal standards accepted by some countries, slaughtering of poultry is made in the slaughterhouses with gas stuns and these animals are not accepted as halal. In some countries halal certificate is given to poultry slaughtered in this way.

Another issue that is discussed about halal food is whether halal standards prepared by non-Muslim organizations in non-Muslim countries will be valid or not. There are also organizations that support such standards and conduct audits by applying these standards and issue halal certificates.

What is Haram and Halal?

In simple terms, behaviors that do not comply with Islamic religious principles are forbidden, and behaviors that conform to them are halal. As in other religions, the concepts of haram and halal have been introduced for people in Islam. Halal dinen means non-prohibited. Due to their beliefs, people who turn to halal get their reward. However, forbidden expresses the forbidden, and those who turn to forbidden sin. Haram is forbidden.

Behaviors, which are considered as forbidden conceptually, sometimes arise from the behavior itself. For example, drinking wine is forbidden; Sometimes behaviors that are considered haram are considered haram for an external reason. For example, using a stolen money is forbidden.

It is forbidden to consume:

  • It is forbidden to eat the meat of self-dead animals that are not slaughtered for consumption.
  • The blood of animals slaughtered in accordance with religious principles in order to be consumed is absolutely shed. It is forbidden to drink or use blood.
  • Pork and pork products are considered haram because pigs are fed in dirty conditions and therefore carry many diseases in their muscles. Today, pigs are very suitable for spreading diseases even if they are raised in clean environments.
  • According to Islamic belief, animals slaughtered to be consumed should be slaughtered only for the purpose of feeding and slaughtering in the name of Allah. All animals slaughtered without observing these conditions are considered haram.
  • It is also forbidden to use alcohol and similar substances that create a sense of intoxication in humans.
  • Finally, products that come into contact with any of the products listed above are also considered haram.

There is controversy among Islamic theologians regarding the acceptance of the meat of all land animals as haram or halal. The meat of animals such as turtles, frogs and crabs is generally considered haram. In addition, the flesh of mules, horses, donkeys and dog-toothed predators and birds of prey claws are also considered haram by most clergy.

As a result, people who do not want to eat forbidden in accordance with their religious beliefs, who avoid sin and want to consume only halal food, naturally want to be sure of this situation and to trust the activities of food producing organizations.

This is why halal food standards emerge. Consumers would like to see the Halal Islamic Conformity document on foodstuffs that indicates whether these products are halal food.

The main feature of the Halal Islamic Conformity standard is to ensure that the production complies with the Islamic religious principles at all stages of production, from the entry of raw materials into the enterprise to the supply of consumers. Moreover, not only the foodstuff itself is suitable, but all the ingredients and additives used in the composition of the product must comply with Islamic criteria, both as a source and as a method of production.

In practice, the Halal Islamic Compliance System is also expected to meet the requirements of the following standards:

  • GMP Good Manufacturing Practice System
  • GHP Good Hygiene Practices System
  • HACCP Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points System

The Halal Islamic Compliance standard requires that all production processes, packaging materials and storage conditions of foodstuffs comply with Islamic religious principles.

What does Halal Islamic Compliance Certificate earn?

Due to their beliefs, people who do not want to worry about haram food are looking for the expression of halal certificate or halal martyrdom on the products. This document is given after the inspections carried out by taking into consideration the rules of various denominations in production activities. It shows that the products bearing this label are not forbidden according to the Islamic religious principles and are internationally valid.

The existence of this document first of all creates confidence in consumers. In this way, consumers make conscious choices. Consumers consume these products safely because the manufacturing companies are under constant supervision within the validity period of the certificate.

Audits and certification activities are carried out by independent and impartial certification bodies. During the inspections, the preparation and processing methods of the products, the additives used in production and the cleaning and sanitary conditions of the enterprises are inspected in detail. The audits are carried out not only in terms of the compliance of the products with religious requirements, but also in terms of their compliance with the cleaning and hygiene conditions of the enterprises.

Apart from this, enterprises gain confidence in domestic and foreign markets by having this certificate. It is gaining advantage in the fight against its competitors. Since other quality standards are also provided, operational risks are reduced and production errors are reduced. This situation creates cost reduction and productivity increase for the enterprise.

HALAL Islamic Conformity Certificate Studies

The International Halal Accreditation Forum was held in 2013 in Istanbul in order to put Halal certification into a system and eliminate the differences of opinion between certification bodies, religious authorities and countries. This forum, under the leadership of TÜRKAK Turkish Accreditation Agency, is the largest study in the world in the field of halal certification, standard setting and accreditation.

Halal certification studies around the world have been initiated with the demands of Muslims in foreign countries where Muslims live in the minority. However, as different views and practices emerged over time, organizations such as the International Halal Alliance Alliance, the World Halal Council, the Institute of Standardization and Metrology of Islamic Countries (SMIIC) have begun work to create a common ground throughout the world. All aim at harmonizing halal certification standards, eliminating differences in implementation between countries and creating an accreditation system that is accepted all over the world.

Among these organizations, the Institute of Standardization and Metrology of Islamic Countries was established in 2010. In our country, Turkish Standards Institute has been carrying out halal food certification studies since 2011, and it is based on the SMIIC 1 Halal Food General Guide prepared by this organization.

Founded in 2002, the World Halal Council is headquartered in Jakarta and around 60 the country is a member of the council. Around 60 countries are members of this council. Halal standards prepared by the World Halal Council based in Indonesia have been adopted by all member states. However, member states also have standards developed by themselves.

The World Halal Forum, also based in Malaysia, is a roofing organization and has halal standards designed by them. It has a very wide working network. However, the Forum is mainly concerned with the market of halal certified products and loses its prestige considerably.

As can be seen, in today's world, halal certification bodies are scattered and their logos, standards, evaluation criteria and perspectives on events are always different from each other. As such, there are many different applications.

The Place of Halal Food Approach in History

Halal food refers to the production, processing, storage, transportation and marketing of foodstuffs in accordance with Islamic rules from the field to the consumer's table. In a broader sense, in the halal food approach, it is essential that the food products of plant and animal origin comply with the Islamic religious principles and everything from raw materials, auxiliaries, ingredients, additives, processing methods, operating conditions and selection of packaging materials. Halal food also means hygienic and reliable food in terms of health. This is also very important in terms of human health and is fully compliant with food safety criteria, except for religious principles.

Before Islam, there were also foods that were essentially allowed to be eaten. For example, those who are still from the Jewish religion today strictly comply with Kosher standards and Kosher certification. Halal food is also included in the rules of this religion. In fact, halal food has always existed with the first humanity. The first prophet Hz. Adam and his wife were expelled from heaven for eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. It has always been important for people to stay within the halal food criteria in nutrition and to eat in this context.

During the Ottoman Empire, “tahir” stamp on food was the result of halal food approach. This stamp on foodstuffs states that there is no harm in consuming these foods. This practice of the Ottomans is accepted as the first example of food certification, even if it is not in the present sense. The basics of this application Hz. Hisbe was founded by Omar. This organization was established to protect and control public order and general morality in Islamic states.

Concerns about Halal Food

Although halal food applications have become so widespread in a short time nowadays, it is actually an application coming from very distant pasts. However, even today, it is still debated whether many food or applications are halal or haram. For example, foodstuffs are questioned for the production of the hormones, enzymes, gelatin and certain additives they contain, or for the methods employed in the production steps. The consumption of unknown additives is doubtful whether it is cut according to Islamic principles or whether it is of plant origin or treated with alcohol.

In addition to this, Halal food certification studies carried out by non-Muslim organizations in foreign countries create trust problems.

A wide range of food additives are used to extend the shelf life of foodstuffs, to preserve their nutritional values, to improve their textural properties, to prevent the development of disease-causing microorganisms, to make their taste and appearance more attractive and to preserve these properties.

Today's working life and working conditions, as well as economic and social conditions, have led to an increase in the number of working people. People no longer find time to prepare food, but they are more likely to eat ready or ready to eat. In short, people's eating habits are changing. Therefore, it is expected that foodstuffs can be stored for a long time and maintain their freshness, appearance, smell, color and aroma in the first time. Food additives are used to provide these properties to products. From the point of view of the producer companies, it is not important that foodstuffs are halal or forbidden, it is only a priority to produce more and consume more.

However, many of the food additives used are questionable. The sources from which the additives are obtained, whether animals are slaughtered according to religious rules or whether the yeast used in cheese production are of animal origin are suspicious. Since most of the additives are imported from non-Muslim countries, their sources are not fully known. It is doubtful that even the organizations that issue halal food certificates perceive the concepts of halal and haram.

One of these additives is gelatin. The use of gelatin in the food industry is extremely high. Although certification bodies in foreign countries write on the product that gelatin is obtained only from cattle, this is not sufficient. They should also state that the cattle were slaughtered in accordance with religious rules and that gelatin was obtained from the bones and skins of the cattle. Otherwise, certification with incomplete information means fooling the consumer.

Especially the enzymes used in cheese production are also suspicious additives. Until recently, most of the enzymes used in the food industry were of animal origin. However, microbial enzymes are also produced today.

In general, the main problem in food additives is related to sources of production. According to religious rules, food additives from uncut animals, dead animals, pigs and pig products or from suspicious sources are widely used in the market. Therefore, the search for halal food today is more important for Muslims living in foreign countries than people living in Muslim countries. In this case, new regulations had to be made in Muslim societies living in different parts of the world in order to ensure that the food they consume is halal. Halal food certification studies are the result of these efforts.

Halal Islamic Conformity Certification in Turkey

Halal food certification studies started in our country with 2000 years. Prior to this date, companies sending goods abroad received more halal certificates from the Presidency of Religious Affairs or from foreign organizations and sent their products. There has not been much demand for halal food certificate in the country.

GİMDES (Food and Needs Supervision and Certification Research Association) was the first organization to carry out this work. As a non-governmental organization, this organization was established in 2005 to conduct research on halal food and healthy products. 2009 has started certification studies since. This organization is also a member of the World Halal Council, WHC.

The Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) has only started certification studies since 2011. TSE certification studies are based on the Halal Food General Guide standards prepared by the Institute of Standardization and Metrology of Islamic Countries (SMIIC). In recent years, other organizations that have issued halal Islamic conformity certificate have emerged. They are mainly accredited from Indonesia-based organizations.

However, there are some criticisms about halal food certification activities in our country. The basis of these criticisms is that the food produced in our country is already halal. With the certification, it is claimed that there is unfair competition in the Turkish market. At this point, it is asserted that there is nothing to discuss in the food sector other than slaughtering animals and alcohol use in our country. In addition, the meaninglessness of seeking halal in foodstuffs such as milk, cheese, honey or spices is emphasized. But the truth is not so. Because the inspections carried out by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock reveal that there are serious problems not only in halal food but also in the food sector in general. Especially in terms of compliance with hygiene and cleaning conditions.

The hesitations about whether the water used in food production or even consumed directly in our country are halal has started with questioning whether the water exported to Israel meets the Kosher standards. As it is known, after the water is taken from the source, it is filtered. Membrane system is used for filtering. This system contains glycerin. If herbal ingredients are used to produce this glycerin, it's fine. However, if these animals are slaughtered in accordance with the standards if they are of animal origin, the dimension of whether or not the work is halal comes into play. Even this example demonstrates the need for helical certification in foodstuffs.

As a result, crop and animal production activities are of strategic importance for food safety and need to be addressed at national level to ensure sustainability. Today, it is no longer talked about why halal food should be caused, but instead it is discussed. Therefore, the food sector and the issue of halal food should be supported by scientific studies in fields such as economy, technology, medicine and business. Halal food certification studies are not only important in terms of religious rules, but also in terms of the hygiene and sanitation conditions of production sites and production methods. Essentially one of the basic requirements of religion is to be clean and healthy. Halal food definition, quality, reliable and healthy products should be understood. Therefore, as in other product certification systems, hygiene and sanitation conditions must be met and food safety requirements must be taken as a basis in all processes such as harvesting, processing, packaging, storage and transportation.

The most controversial aspect of Halal Islamic conformity certification studies is that there is still no full unity between countries and organizations. This is the main reason for some of the concerns and debates that are taking place today. In addition, certification bodies need to open the system and the method applied more and be transparent. Consumers should resolve their hesitations and be more conscious. At this point, the accreditation institutions have responsibility. For halal food certification and accreditation, a structure should be developed in which the parties concerned will work together. Although there are studies in this direction, it is hard to say that fast results are obtained.

At this point, consumer associations and non-governmental organizations should be more organized, contribute to the relevant institutions at academic level and raise awareness of people. Unfortunately, today's written, visual and electronic publications on halal food cause serious information pollution.

It is also a wrong approach for food producing companies to consider halal certification only as an economic value. As stated at the beginning of the article, the size of this market is around 2 trillion Dollars. However, if this issue is taken from the perspective of interest and profit, it will be the halal food market itself that will suffer from this.

One of the issues discussed is whether or not halal certification studies should be performed by Muslim organizations with proven competence in this field. The Kosher certificate for Jewish communities is issued by a Jewish organization. It is a controversial issue that a halal food certificate must also be issued by a Muslim organization. This is significantly related to the sensitivity shown to the subject. Documentation work by non-Muslim organizations depends entirely on what standards they apply, how well they know these standards, how well they have mastered the Islamic religious principles, and whether they know how sensitive society is. Today, foreigners own 80 percent of the halal food market worldwide. This is a huge rate. Therefore, both the Institute of Standardization and Metrology of Islamic Countries (SMIIC) and organizations within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are expected to be more active in increasing the international trade and recognition in the halal food market. In our country, it is expected that academic studies will be conducted under the leadership of universities, an accreditation laboratory will be established and a Halal Research Institute will be opened.



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