Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Halal Food: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India proposes that Halal label claims should be backed by religious certification

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Jan 6: With the annual global Halal food market pegged at
Rs 33,00,000 crore, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
(FSSAI) has now proposed that manufacturers, who want to label their
products as “Halal”, should invariably get the necessary certification
from an authorized religious agency.

The new draft rules framed by the FSSAI on food labeling claims has
set a separate section in the proposed legislation that claims related
to religious or ritual practices like Halal or Jhatka can be made
provided that the food conforms to the requirements of the appropriate
religious or ritual authorities. It should also be certified by
authorized agencies concerned.

Halal certification is gaining popularity worldwide and many
manufacturers in India label their product “Halal”. But many times
such claims are not backed by certification leaving scope for misuse
of the claim. The FSSAI now calls upon manufacturers to back their
claims with authorized certification.

Section 12 of the draft bill on food labeling claims states, “The Food
Authority may at any time ask a manufacturer and/or brand owner of any
food on which claims are being made to substantiate the claim…”

India has about a dozen major Halal certification agencies. The Jamiat
Ulema-e-Hind Halal Trust certifies Halal foods all over the country
including Hyderabad. According to the Jamiat, Halal certification is
recognition that the products are permissible under Islamic law.
“These products are thus edible, drinkable or usable by Muslims. Halal
certification from an established Islamic organization helps to build
Halal consumer's confidence without suspicion or doubt over the
consumption of the food products.”

Halal certification is an authoritative and reliable testimony to
support food manufacturers' claim that their products have met strict
Halal requirement by the Shariah Law, the Jamiat adds.

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