Halal industry: It’s a ‘minefield’

Halal industry: It’s a ‘minefield’

THE finest brains in the Muslim world are grappling with a vexing question: how does one create a universal halal standard?

The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which calls itself the collective voice of the Muslim world, is trying to draft global halal guidelines with the backing of Dubai, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

This news came to light following the furore over the recent discovery that chocolate products made by Cadbury in Malaysia tested positive for traces of pork. Fury erupted, and a boycott of Cadbury stuff was called for.

Oddly, riots did not take place, and heads did not literally roll, as one might have expected in a Muslim-majority country.

But further testing by Malaysia’s Islamic Affairs Agency, the country’s sole official halal certifier, showed that someone had made a dog’s dinner of the investigation. The initial tests had not been definitive and the chocolate was actually halal.

This latest pork panic, according to this report, threw into sharp focus the costly, religious minefield food companies must navigate as they rush to tap the surging $1 trillion global halal market.

One of the biggest headaches for corporations like Mondelez International, Nestle and Unilever PLC is the lack of a unified standard for what exactly is halal, or permissible under Islamic law, despite years of efforts by Muslim authorities to come up with a global benchmark.

As a result, global food firms face higher production costs as they must comply with a mix of national processing standards that can vary widely even within the same country.

Failing to navigate these differences leaves companies exposed to the risk of using ingredients permissible under one standard but not another.

Said Jamil Bidin, Chief Executive of the Halal Industry Development Corporation, an agency linked to Malaysia’s government:

Obviously it’s not good to have so many standards. It’s confusing.

Islam requires practicing Muslims to consume halal products, and, at its most basic, that means foods and drinks that do not contain any alcohol or pork. To be deemed halal, livestock must be slaughtered as the name of Allah is invoked.

Big food firms have been ramping up their investment and expertise in halal, eyeing a fast-growing Muslim population that is forecast to add a billion people by 2050 with rising education and income levels.

The market to process, produce and distribute halal food and drinks will grow into a $1.6 trillion industry by 2018 from about $1 trillion in 2012, according to DinarStandard, a research firm specialising in Muslim markets.

In March, for example, it was announced that fast food giant KFC is to launch a halal-only menu in eight of its London stores in a move which could be extended to other areas of the UK.

The menu, which will form part of a trial, will see the stores selling chicken products which they claim have been fully approved by the Halal Food Authority for the first time.

KFC has 720 stores across the UK, and bosses said the move was designed to ensure the company was catering to a broader range of customers, following a growing demand for halal products.

But food industry executives say the lack of global or regional benchmarks is stunting the industry’s potential at a time when countries such as Japan and Australia are jumping on the halal bandwagon to cater to a rising number of Muslim travellers.

A spokesman for Mondelez, Cadbury’s parent company in Malaysia said:

We welcome efforts to ensure consistency in halal certification and would support a global standard, or perhaps wider regional standards, to help simplify the landscape.

Defining what exactly constitutes halal is an issue of hot debate among Islamic scholars, which makes agreeing on a global standard difficult.

For example, more conservative interpretations hold that each animal must be slaughtered by a hand-held knife. Britain has two main halal certification boards with conflicting stances on whether animals can be stunned before slaughter.

The Kingdom of Brunei, which has a strict interpretation of Islamic rules, sends auditors to neighbouring Malaysian factories to check imports for halal-worthiness.

Another factor complicating the search for a single standard is the intense rivalry between countries for a slice of the industry. US cereal maker Kellogg  and chocolate maker Hershey Co,  for example, are building halal-compliant plants in Malaysia, with investments of $130 million and $250 million respectively.

Dubai is setting up testing and certification centres to profit from the halal business. Malaysia has been pushing its own standards, as has Turkey.

But once country determined not to be caught up in the halal frenzy is Sri Lanka. In February last year a hardline Sinhalese Buddhist group called for the abolition of the Muslim halal system of certifying foods and other goods.

The Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Strength Force, also said foreign propagators of religions should leave the country within a month.

Thousands of supporters of the group attended a rally in a suburb of the capital, Colombo. The picture at the top of the page shows some protesters wearing anti-halal T-shirts.

Thousands of men and women filled the grounds of the rally and the surrounding streets at Maharagama in Colombo’s outer suburbs to hear nationalist speeches by the group’s monks.

The leaders called for a boycott of halal meat and demanded shops clear their stocks.



19 responses to “Halal industry: It’s a ‘minefield’”

  1. Agent Cormac says:

    …someone had made a dog’s dinner of the investigation.


  2. Newspaniard says:

    If only our weak kneed politicians would insist that all halal or kosher food were marked, at least the non-looneys would know to shop elsewhere. Where can I get one of those tee-shirts?

  3. Agent Cormac says:

    I suppose our politicians could be called lily-livered as well. But then, would we know whether it was halal liver or not?

  4. Broga says:

    The effect of the injection of craziness into the religion infected brain is a wonder to behold. Some religious believer eats a piece of chocolate, hears that it is non halal and although he cannot tell from the taste, he is appalled and wants vengeance on the supplier. Someone else eats a piece of the same chocolate and is told it is halal and he is happy.
    Just tell these dopes that it is halal even though it isn’t and they will be happy. Problem solved and much animal suffering avoided.

  5. L.Long says:

    I would really like it to have all kosher/halal meats labeled. Then when I walk into one of the special KFCs I could state out loud that we will walk a little further and find a place that does not approve of torturing animals before eating them. Or at the counter of the food store state ‘Sorry I can’t morally buy meat products from tortured animals’ and have the clerk put it aside. In fact I would put it in my shopping cart just to be able to do that, we must make the point that they are crazy.
    Here in the States we went thru all sorts of crap because the butcher shops were not killing the animals ‘humanly’ and allowing excessive suffering. So laws were put in place. Now we are suppose to put the laws aside because a few religious Aholes like torturing animals for their psychotic gawd?????
    It is bad enough they love torturing women by keeping them in tents.
    Insist on halal? Then import it form the countries controlled by the primitive minded, delusional ones.
    Unfortunately there are too many politicians that consider local islames are large enough to cut into the profits of the one bribing them, so they will give in.

  6. barriejohn says:

    Latest Jesus and Mo:

    Comments worth reading as well.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Great comment from the CEMB forum:

    Living in a muslim country, I obviously eat halal meat all the time. However, back in December I traveled to Europe and after a few days of eating vegetarian food or at that halal Paki restaurant (first time I had Paki food, it was pretty much the best food ever), I gave in and had chicken kebab at a regular restaurant. It was… normal. And then I had a Subway turkey sandwich but it was a disappointment because I thought it would be a real turkey escalope, silly me.

    But if uncircumcised penis counts as non-halal meat, then I broke the rule a while ago

    (He’s been warned now about using the term “Paki” in Britain!)

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    I’m not sure that I have ever heard that Muslims disagree with each other but are quite united in telling non-Muslims what to do. Hang on, no, that is what has been happening for centuries. There is no pleasing the faithful.

  9. lonbo says:

    Please not that The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster requires all pasta products to be labeled Pastafarian compliant.

  10. remigius says:

    The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation…

    Just who are they supposed to be cooperating with? It isn’t with non-muslims, and it certainly isn’t with other muslims. The sunni muslims hate the shiite muslims. Both the sunni and the shiite muslims hate the ahmadi muslims. And the wahabi muslims hate everybody, including other wahabis.

    Do they even know what cooperation means?

  11. If they want to eat that type of food, let them live where it is the standard. This giving in to religious idiots has got to end. I try to be tolerant of others, treat all as I want to be treated, but there are limits. When I go to the home of a non-smoker, I never even ask if I might smoke in their home. I’ll just go out doors and have a cig. No big deal to me, no matter what the weather is. However, come to my home, do NOT tell me to not smoke while you are here. THAT is not tolerance, it is RUDE and I detest rudeness and put it right next to stupid, I have zero tolerance for either. Nor will I even consider even trying to change. Screw that shit, my home, my rules, don’t like it, don’t come to my home. Simple. Easy that a child of five could be able to get it. Oh, but the religious, they are certain that they, and they alone are extra “special”. Well, OK, they ARE extra special, extra special goddamn fucking stupid and RUDE.
    Want halal food? Live where that is the norm. Want kosher? Liver where that is the norm.
    Want Sharia law? Live where that is the law. Let those of us who want sanity and reason live as best we can. We have no need to be near your sort of bullshit and will get along just fine without any of you.
    End of rant…………for now

  12. remigius,
    YES, to them “cooperation” means do what they demand of you.

  13. Solage 1386 says:

    Ukip will halt the mass-immigration of people from the Third-World into our country, and thus postpone–for a while–the ascendency of these immigrants’ primitive cultural practices and religious beliefs……For this reason I fully support UKIP, and have in fact voted for them on several occasions……We atheists should celebrate the recent successes of the Right in many European countries, and look forward to many more such triumphs in years to come! In particular, I expect great things from Marine Le Pen……The spineless Liberal-Left has shown itself to be intellectually and ideologically bankrupt, and should be rejected by all those for whom Free Thinking is of paramount importance…..I’m certain that many of you will agree with me!

  14. Solage 1386 says:

    ……Sunni-Faces and Shi’ite-Faces…..The Two Faces of Islam.

  15. Solage 1386 says:

    …..Here in Britain our Left-Wing press approves of the sale of ritually-slaughtered meat to the general public, and to its consumption by children in schools. There are several hundred schools in which only halal meat is served….Also, all meat imported from New Zealand into Britain has been ‘blessed’ by an Imam…and so on. None of this meat is labelled, of course, and its all been done covertly….And all excused by political-correctness combined with the needs of big-business. The tentacles of Islam are slowly creeping through our society……

  16. Solage 1386 says:

    …..Between c.2070 and c.2120 the indigenous populations of the whole of Western Europe will become minorities…..This is inevitable….The triumph of Islam and African-style evangelical Christianity is guaranteed…..Atheists really need to accept this…….It goes without saying, of course, that all of these religious and ethnic groups will be at each-other’s throats as they vie for power and supremacy. Or am I being too pessimistic? Too cynical? Time will tell. The signs are there for all to see…..

  17. Bubba T Flubba says:

    Muslims kill each other inhumanely. If you can bring yourself to watch, there are some videos on you tube that show in graphic detail the cold blooded executions of muslims by muslims. Lines of kneeling men being shot in the head one by one. Barbarism …

  18. Bubba T Flubba says:

    And if we continue to supinely accommodate hair trigger sensitivities, calculated and coordinated hysterical overreactions, divisive demands, stealthy annexation of education, assertions that islamic observances always trump the rights and sensitivities of all other people, wailing jihadi imams bent on corruption of civilised society to the horrors of sharia, islamic desire to see you and me converted to their hate ridden cult at the end of a knife, honour killings, organised rape of white trash teenage kuffar girls, female genital mutilation, enforced marriage of young girls to dysfunctional older men and all the other islamic stupidities and abominations they will prevail and Europe will descend into barbarism just like all the other places infested with islamic degenerates.

  19. Bubba T Flubba says:

    Muslims hate ham if I understand correctly. They consider pigs to be strictly out of bounds. A slap across the face with a rasher of bacon is an intolerable act of barbarism. Well I want all muslims to know that every breath they take contains millions of atoms farted out of porcine rectal sphincters. How halal is that? As Pink Floyd say….”Breathe……Breathe in the air”. And when muslims drink from a cup of fresh water… each cool mouthful contains molecules of water excreted from porcine bladders. This is undeniable scientific fact.