The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the international body representing all Muslim countries of the world took the initiative to establish a global Halal standard, Halal Association of Pakistan’s (HAP) General Secretary, Asad Sajjad said on Monday.
“OIC has given the mandate to Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) to introduce a Halal standard that would be acceptable to all Muslim sects, ie, Hanafi, Shaafa’i, Maliki, Humbly and Jafery and would be workable for the Halal certification bodies of the world,” the general secretary said.
SMIIC is responsible for regulating the actions and enforcing guidelines for proper functioning of Halal certifying bodies. It developed one universal Halal standard called, OIC-SMIC Halal standards, for Halal manufacturing units, certification bodies and accreditation agencies.
Sajjad said that now there was a need for an OIC-SMIIC logo. The OIC-SMIC logo will be accompanied by the certifying body logo on the product and services.
“OIC SMIIC: World Halal Assembly which will be held in Islamabad on 4 June 2014, aims to provide a platform for religious scholars and technical and scientific experts from all over the world to increase interaction between different business sectors and policy-makers to discuss the importance of using OIC-SMIC Halal standards globally,” Sajjad said.
At present there are more than 400 Halal certifying bodies and organisations in the world, but only a fraction of them are recognised or registered with some international organisations, he said. While some regions have an excess number of certification bodies, others have none.
There are too many Halal standards in the world. Every country has its own Halal standard and even within a country different Halal standards prevail. These standards are similar in most aspects, but not all e.g. types of stunning, acceptance of mechanical slaughtering, ethanol concentration in final products, etc.
“These differences have led to cross country certification by some of the certifying bodies resulting in unproductive competition that may lead to enmity between several Halal/Islamic organisations, which is forbidden in Islam,” Sajjad said.
Due to so many different Halal standards in the world, there is confusion and misunderstanding in the Halal audit and certification process and often the Halal logo is abused.
As a result, supply chains are broken creating artificial shortages of raw material. The loss of Halal status can easily translate into significant loss of revenue for Halal manufacturers and producers, he added.
*This article was originally published on The News International on 29 April 2014. Read the original article here.