Malaysia: Pledge to fill 80 percent gap in global halal food supply

KUALA LUMPUR: The World Halal Conference 2014 closed yesterday with full highlight on the resolutions to further develop the industry, which needs to fill a 80 per cent gap in supply of halal food.

Thought leaders and industry players who attended the conference recognised the scope of food security issues, and pledged a united and integrated appraisal of these issues.

They agreed that united efforts to closely address and resolve these issues must be secured if the global halal industry were to grow and be sustained.

During the two-day conference, the halal food supply chain’s inadequacy, insufficiency and fragmentation were pointed out.

These areas of concerns were the major cause for non-delivery of halal food and non-food items to the growing global halal market, said Halal Industry Development Corp chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin.

“In this respect, many countries will be affected by food supply shortage, particularly Third World countries with large Muslim populations,” he said.

Jamil noted that over the next few years, there will be a phenomenal 70 to 100 per cent increase in demand for food.

He added that there will also be a mismatch between agricultural production capability and global demand.

He said not only Muslim countries are affected by the decreasing supply of halal provisions but so, too, are non-Muslim countries.

He added that the global halal market is supported by 1.8 billion Muslims but the countries involved in the production of halal food and the export trade are only a handful and amount to a mere 20 per cent of food production.

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UK HALAL AUTHORITY FORBIDS MACHINE-KILLED POULTRY

By: MeatInfo UK

Source: meatinfo.co.uk

The UK’s Halal Authority Board (HAB) has signed a motion stating that machine-killed poultry is haram (forbidden) and unacceptable to UK Muslims.

The decision, since no certifers will accept machine slaughter, will mean that 1.8 million machine-killed poultry will be taken out of the halal supply chain each week.

The HAB adopted and signed the motion at a conference on 22 February, attended by representatives from halal certification bodies, businesses, Muslim organisations and mosques.

It was explained that, under Islamic law, mechanical slaughter is haram, as per a consenus already signed by the HAB in June 2012. The conference played a video showing poultry being killed by machine with no pronouncement of Allah’s name. It showed only a sign stating ‘halal’ along with Allah’s name. This, according to HAB, depicted the deception and fraud that can and does occur in machine slaughter.

The signed statement reads: “We, the undersigned, formally declare that the slaughter of animals by mechanical means (including sacred blade) is not permissible and considered haram (forbidden) for Muslims.”

The declaration means there is now no certification body that will certify machine-slaughtered poultry as halal. This effectively means that 40% of chickens previously certified halal will no longer be allowed to be labelled as such.

Religious Minister of Craven Arms Islamic Centre, Imam Sohaib Peerbhai said: “The Muslim community is united on the issue of mechanical slaughter being un-Islamic and fully supports this as not permissible for Muslims.”

Naved Syed, halal adviser to the Yorkshire Association of Asian Businesses, said: “There will be no ambiguous situation regarding machine slaughter any more, as all the certifiers have banned this practice.

“I expect some companies will try to get round this by getting overseas halal certifiers to approve machine slaughter.

******

@MuftiAbdullah: I can personally verify that machine slaughtered chicken, meat not slaughtered by a Muslim, & doubtful meat is imported into Saudi Arabia

The senior body of scholars in Saudi Arabia, the Hiyatu Kibaril Ulama has formally issued a 50 page fatwa that all imported meat is haram”

It is a major travesty and perhaps a conspiracy that millions of Muslims that visit Makkah/Madinah every year are eating haram/doubtful food”

There are local hand slaughter suppliers, but only a small percentage. 90% of fast food chains including Al-Baik use imported meat”

For reference, I have translated the detailed fatwa of the Hiyat Kibaril Ulama as part of the following book
http://t.co/CdpYzR0oU8

Management commit to more halaal facilities

Management of Stellenbosch University have committed to investigating possible locations to build more kitchens that can be certified under Halaal requirements.On 28 August 2013, the Student Housing Committee (SHVK – Studente Huisvestingkomitee) requested that a suggestion on where further Halaal food provision services can be located on campus as well as an action plan regarding the implementation of this suggestion be compiled and presented by Dr Ludolph Botha (Senior Director: Student and Academic Support), Mr Pieter Kloppers (Director: Centre for Student Communities) and Mr Hein Swanepoel (Director: Commercial Services) by the end of September 2013.The most likely location for the second Halaal kitchen on campus would be Goldfields residence, as the residence does not currently have its own kitchen and the kitchen is housed separate from the other buildings.The decision comes after a long road of consultation and discussion between SU management and the SRC. Following the information that SU had lost a number of Muslim students within the first few weeks of the academic year to other universities due the lack of Halaal food provision services available on campus, the SRC passed a motion in February 2013 requiring that further steps be taken to ensure that Muslim students also experience the inclusive welcoming culture of the University. (The motion is available here)The motion was then presented to the Rector’s Management Team at one of the monthly meetings between this team and the SRC Executive Committee. After further discussion between management and the SRC as well as between ISUS (the Islamic Society of the University of Stellenbosch) and the SRC, the point was raised at the most recent SHVK meeting by PK Vice-Chairperson, Phillip van der Merwe, on behalf of the SRC Executive Committee. Both PK Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson sit on the SHVK to ensure that the students have a voice and are heard where matters of accommodation and student communities are decided.Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel (Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching) recognised that the lack of such facilities was a clear problem and that a practical solution would be sought. Prof Schoonwinkel also reported that the possibility that a further Halaal food stall would be added in the Neelsie would also be investigated.The SHVK is the first body to approve suggested increases in residence fees and has previously decided on matters such as the eradication of Ontruiming in short holidays

Former Lancashire county leader is criticised over animal stunning motion

LANCASHIRE Council of Mosques chairman Salim Mulla has criticised former county leader Geoff Driver for imposing his animal welfare views on the Muslim community.

He spoke out after the Tory urged the giant authority to pre-stun all animals killed for meat in school meals.

Coun Driver put a motion to this month’s county council meeting calling for this to become official policy despite the view of some Muslims that such meat was not ‘halal’ as defined under Islamic law.

He said: “This is about one issue and one issue alone, animal cruelty.”

He added that ‘80 per cent’ of halal meat was prepared in this way.

Jenny Mein, Labour leader of the county, which is responsible for school meals in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Rossendale and Chorley, referred the issue to Lancashire’s scrutiny committee.

Coun Mulla, Mayor of Blackburn, said pre-stunned meat was not considered Halal by some Muslims.

He said: “This is Coun Driver’s view on animal welfare and I respect that.

“However he should not impose that view on Muslim families whose children go to Lancashire county council schools.

“There is a view in Islam that Halal meat should not come from animals stunned before slaughter which I subscribe to.

“Muslim parents should have a choice of meat that adheres to their view of halal.

“There are Orthodox Jews in Lancashire who would share my concerns.

Coun Driver, who put forward the motion, said: “This is not a matter about halal, it is a matter about animal cruelty.

“The process of slaughtering an animal without stunning it involves severing at least three of the four main arteries, and it dies in considerable distress.

“There is an alternative that is acceptable to the vast majority of Muslims.”

Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I am not sure this motion to the full Lancashire county council meeting is the best way forward. The county council and council of mosques need to sit down and find a solution for this.”

Tajikistan Certifies Halal Food

DUSHANBE – Food that meets Tajikistan’s halal standards became available for public sale July 20, authorities told Central Asia Online.

“[Eating halal food] is one of the main rules for observing Sharia,” Council of Ulema Deputy Chairman Abdulbasir Saidov told Central Online.

Six Tajik food producers already meet the new standards, said Narzullo Sharipov, chief of Tajikstandart, the government agency for overseeing compliance with various standards, and the food is expected to gain prevalence.

The government developed the halal standard over the past two years with help from the Tajik Council of Ulema, the Health Ministry, the Committee for Religious Affairs and the Agriculture Ministry Veterinary Service, as well as by reviewing neighbouring countries’ experience, Sharipov said.

Halal food may not contain any haram (forbidden) components, such as pork or meat from animals slaughtered by suffocation, electrocution or a blow; and a Muslim must perform the slaughter, with him or someone else pronouncing Allah’s name during the process, Saidov said.

The requirements apply across food categories, including meat, bread, baked goods, dairy products and non-alcoholic drinks, Tohir Mudinayev, another Tajikstandart official, added.

“Permission to use the halal label for one year is granted by a special Tajikstandart committee, including specialists from Tajikstandart and from the Tajik Council of Ulema,” Sharipov said. “Today, Tajikstandart quite strictly monitors certified Tajik halal producers’ compliance with the requirements. They have to sell off all their older food before using the label.”
Both producers and consumers to benefit

Two factors drove Tajikstandart to develop its own halal standard, Sharipov said. First, some food carrying haram components – like genetically modified organisms and chemical dyes – appeared; second, customers demanded it.

Although Tajikistan previously produced and imported food called halal, no official Tajik body set a standard, meaning some food might have been called halal by mistake, he said.

The Council of Ulema welcomes the move, Saidov said.

“Many Tajik residents constantly run into the problem of buying halal food,” he said. With limited producers and distributors of halal food and no proper certification process, consumers in the past often turned to foreign suppliers. “First, this impairs the growth of Tajik producers, and secondly, imported food costs much more,” he said.

Enforcing the standards will give consumers “some sort of a guarantee … against dishonest producers,” Akhad Sadykov, a journalist who writes commentary on religious matters, told Central Asia Online.

“Producers of halal food are working not just to make some money but also to improve their image,” he said. “This is particularly important in Tajikistan, where most of the population is Muslim.”
Locals react favourably

Many Tajik producers were complying with halal requirements even before the government issued a standard, 29-year-old Dushanbe resident Sitora Nazarova told Central Asia Online.

“For a long time now, I have been buying only meat and dairy products labelled ‘halal.’ … My husband strictly adheres to the requirements, so our family observes them all,” she said. However, she said she is happy it will now be regulated.

Abdudzhalol Shodiyev, who has been producing “Pokiza” sausage for 15 years, marked his products as halal almost from the start.

“Though Tajikistan hadn’t adopted the standard when I started making sausage, as a devout Muslim, I observed all the requirements,” he said.

Shodiyev intends to expand production now that the standard has taken effect. “I’m thinking about re-equipping the entire plant to meet the new requirements,” he said. “I think the cost will be high but recoverable, because the demand for halal food is growing in Tajikistan every day.”

One place selling halal food is the modest-sized Mekhrob shop, which has enjoyed a strong reputation for many years. Last year the shop owner performed the Hajj. Now, with the introduction of the official halal standard, he has decided to sell only halal food.

“All our food, which is mainly produced in Tajikistan, meets the halal standard,” shop assistant Nosir Khamdanov said.

Saudi Cold Storage aims 40 pc rise in export

Saudi Cold Storage Sdn Bhd, a manufacturer of food products and processed items, aims to increase its export segment to 40 per cent within the next five years, from the current 10 per cent.

Chief operating officer Louis Tan Leong Chin said currently the company exports its products to Vietnam, Oman, Batam in Indonesia and Southern Thailand.

“We really pushed our exports last year and being in this small and medium industry, we need to look at the outside market which is larger, and it gives us flexibility in terms of profitability and raise our profile in the local market.

“We also want to become a halal solution food manufacturer that is highly innovative for the global community especially for Muslims because Malaysia’s halal certificate is well recognised globally,” he told Bernama in an interview.

Tan said the company plans to export its products to the Middle East, Cambodia, Myanmar and Singapore because this region’s taste profile is very similar to Malaysians’.

“We are also looking at exporting to the European Union (EU) and for this matter, we are in the process of obtaining the necessry certification from the EU authorities.

“So a lot of our internal teams are putting up their efforts to comply with the requirements of the European standards to obtain the certificate, and once we get the certification, we can export to anywhere in the world,” he added.

Besides increasing its export segment, Tan said the company also targets to improve its revenue to RM180 million next year from last year’s RM160 million.

Saudi Cold Storage produces several brands of processed meat products such as sausages, meatballs, chicken, sausage frankfurts and burger meat through the Saudi Gold brand.

The company also sells processed meat products under the Farm brand, operates a food service business under the Homecook brand, and produces processed meat products that can be cooked in steam under the Topchoice brand.

Saudi Cold Storage was established in 1985 and its factory is located in Sungai Petani, Kedah.– Bernama

‘We must grab a bigger share in the market’

Source: The Express Tribune

FAISALABAD:

Pakistan can earn enormous foreign exchange by increasing its share in the global halal food market worth billions of dollars, Government College University, Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Zakir Hussain said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Home Economics at GCUF.

Hussain said the Food Act must be implemented so that people consume unadulterated food. He urged food experts and university staff to take all possible steps to raise awareness about the advantages of pure food.

Dr Faqeer Anjum from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) said the global halal products market had become a trillion dollar industry. He said the halal meat market was worth $440 billion.

GCUF Dean Dr Naureen Aziz Qureshi said Pakistan’s share in the global halal foods market was negligible despite it being a Muslim majority state.

Dr Surraya Zakir talked about the advantages of nutritious and healthy foods.

She said such seminars gave experts and stakeholders an opportunity to sit together and plan to work together on the different issues.

UAF to offer language training for teachers

The Institute of Career Development (ICD), Cambridge English Centre, has authorised the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, to impart Cambridge Business English Certificate trainings, ICD Director Dr Osama Qureshi said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of the language training course for teachers at the UAF’s New Senate Hall. UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said he hoped the course would help teachers and students to improve their English and get admissions and scholarships in universities abroad.

Dr Osama Qureshi said the participants of the training course would be evaluated every month at the campus.

He said the course would improve the communication skills of the participants.

Qureshi said career counseling, grooming courses and faculty training would also be offered at the campus.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.

Malaysia: Chicken Abattoirs Warned for Not Adhering to Halal Standards

MALAYSIA – The owners of three chicken slaughterhouses located in Cheras, Jinjang and at the Chow Kit Market have been issued a stern warning by the Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for failing to adhere to halal standards.

Bernama.com reports that the halal standards include the manner of slaughtering and method of processing the chickens as well as the level of cleanliness.

The errant operators were given a week to ensure the halal standards were strictly adhered to and Jakim officers would inspect the premises again, said its Halal Hub Division director, Hakimah Yusoff.

She said inspections at the three chicken slaughterhouses at 1am today also showed that they used strong electric current to weaken the chickens besides allowing only a short bloodletting period before placing the chickens in hot water for processing.

“This process does not follow Jakim’s halal standards,” she added after leading the four-hour “Ops Ayam” at the three premises.

The “Ops Ayam” was conducted in conjunction with Aidilfitri to ensure the operators of chicken slaughterhouses in Kuala Lumpur abide by the halal standards.

Officers from the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department, Immigration Department, Veterinary Services Department, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Health Ministry also took part in the concerted operation.

During the operation, the Immigration officers also detained an Indonesia immigrant worker for misusing his work permit.

The slaughterhouse in Cheras handles about 20,000 chickens per day, the one in Jinjang 4,000, and the one at the Chow Kit Market, 2,000.

Middle East: Sin Free Ale

Source: The Economist/Beirut and Cairo

Non-alcoholic beer is taking off among Muslim consumers

drinkers may struggle to see the point of non-alcoholic beer, but it is growing in popularity around the world. Last year 2.2 billion litres was downed, 80% more than five years earlier. In the rich world it is mainly consumed by a health-conscious minority. But in the Middle East, which now accounts for almost a third of worldwide sales, the target market is the teetotal majority. In 2012 Iranians quaffed nearly four times as much as in 2007. Consumers in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also have a growing taste for it (though across the region, alcoholic beer still outsells it).

Delster, brewed by an Iranian company, Behnoush, turned alcohol-free in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution. After Hamas, an Islamist movement, won a landslide election victory in Gaza in 2005, a Palestinian brewer, Taybeh, launched an alcohol-free “Halal”version of its ale. Its label is green, the colour of Islam.

More recent sales growth is the result of growing consumer aspirations, says Maii Abdul-Rahmen, a Dubai-based analyst for Euromonitor, a research firm. Drinking beer, even the non-alcoholic variety, taps into a popular desire for a globalised lifestyle that neither fruit juice nor even Coca-Cola can offer, argues Guilda Saber, the brand manager of Laziza, a Lebanese non-alcoholic beer. This glamorous image is helping brewers to increase their sales in bars and restaurants of a product that has so far mainly been consumed at home.

There are still some sizeable independent brewers in the region, such as Behnoush, and Aujun of Saudi Arabia, which has recently jazzed up the packaging of its popular Barbican beer. Others are owned by global giants: Heineken gained the Birell and Fayrouz brands of non-alcoholic beer when it bought Egypt’s Al-Ahram Beverages, which also produces the alcoholic variety. Likewise, when Carlsberg bought Feldschlössen, a Swiss brewer, it took on Moussy, a no-alcohol brand that is popular in the Middle East.

As the field becomes more crowded, brewers of alcohol-free beers are seeking out different target markets. Moussy, for example, is aimed at trendy young men and women—one of its advertisements shows a mixed group drinking together at a beach resort. Birell has a more blokey image: an ad features a bunch of football-watching men having their heads turned by a passing blonde (ogling women is apparently less sinful than swigging alcohol).

Some brewers are optimistic that the current wave of religiosity in the region will increase demand. One such is Efes, a Turkish brewer of alcoholic beer, which launched Efes Zero in 2011. Others worry that if consumers become more overt in expressing their faith, that might make them turn away from anything that even hints at Western decadence.

However, prominent Saudi and Egyptian clerics have issued fatwas declaring it permissible for Muslims to drink zero-alcohol beers. The Saudi ruling said the key issue was whether one could get intoxicated by consuming a large amount of the drink (thereby ruling out low-alcohol beers). Laziza’s owner, Almaza, a Lebanese brewery, is taking no chances. Although it is marketed as a beer, Laziza is not fermented, since the process of removing the alcohol afterwards can leave traces of it. Its bottles declare it to be “0.00%” alcohol, to distinguish it from the fermented brands, which only promise to be “0.0%”.

Probe urged into tainted meat

Source: Gulf Daily News

AN URGENT probe could be launched after 22 imported products were found to be contaminated with either pork or horsemeat.

A total of 172 frozen and canned meat brands, which were labelled beef and sold at supermarkets and fast food chains in Bahrain, were tested by the Health Ministry in collaboration with the laboratories at the Arabian Gulf University (AGU).

Six of them contained pork while 16 contained horsemeat, revealed the ministry yesterday.

They have been immediately pulled off shelves across the country and supermarkets selling the products, which were labelled “halal”, have been fined.

However, consumer protection activists are demanding action against those responsible and are urging people, who bought the contaminated products, to file lawsuits against the companies and markets that sold them.

One Islamist councillor also demanded concerned government officials to be prosecuted for mismanagement and negligence.

“We fined all of those who sold beef mixed with pork and sold them with halal tags,” said a Health Ministry official.

“Traders and importers have been warned not to bring in banned meat or else would see them removed from the market and confiscated.

Tests will continue and we will also increase inspections at all of the country’s entrances to ensure that European Union meat products are not allowed in.”

Inspectors from the Health Ministry and Industry and Commerce Ministry’s consumer protection directorate collected samples from all forms of meat, including chilled, minced, burgers, kababs and frozen food that contain pieces of beef.

However, all meat sold at fast food chains and chilled meats found in supermarkets have been cleared of contamination.

Joint municipal councils consumer protection committee chairman Ali Al Muqla said the scandal could have been avoided if proper inspections and tests were carried out.

“We don’t have proper testing machines at land, sea or air ports and mostly tests are dealt with through observation rather than procedure,” said the Islamist.

“Certain government officials are responsible and a government probe has to be launched for mismanagement, improper planning and negligence with them being referred, if proven guilty, to the Public Prosecution for legal action.

“Consumers affected by the contaminated meats should not stay quiet and file cases in courts to seek compensations.”

Mr Al Muqla, who is also Muharraq Municipal Counil vice-chairman, urged authorities to conduct tests on all products coming into the country.

“We have always said that we are suspicious of canned meat products, but both the concerned ministries told everyone that all imported meat was safe and fit for human consumption,” he told the GDN.

“There are more products that need to be tested such as crisps, oils and ice creams to ensure they have not been mixed with pork or horse extracts.”

Meanwhile, Industry and Commerce Ministry consumer protection director Sinan Al Jaberi said that a second batch of canned meat products was being tested.

“The contamination in the 22 products doesn’t exceed two per cent, but that doesn’t change the fact that consumers were cheated,” he said, adding that the Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Ministry has agreed to ban the 22 products.

He said selling products under misleading labels is a criminal act and the Public Prosecution will be informed.

mohammed@gdn.com.bh