Halal Food

A Comprehensive Look at Halal Food and Halal Certification


What Defines Halal Food
Halal, which means permissible in Arabic, refers to any object or an action which is acceptable or lawful according to Islamic Sharia law. When it comes to food and cooking, halal defines the dietary standard and guidelines followed by Muslims worldwide. For food to be considered halal, it must meet specific requirements.

Animal Slaughter and Preparation

One of the most important factors that determine whether a food can be classified as halal is how the animals are slaughtered before preparing food from their meat. In order for meat to be halal, animals must be slaughtered according to ritual slaughter (Dhabihah) laws. These laws specify that the animal must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and that it should be slaughtered swiftly using a very sharp blade by cutting the jugular veins, carotid arteries and windpipe in the neck region of the animal. The slaughter is performed with a phrase reciting the name of God. Blood must also be drained from the carcass after slaughter. Meat from animals that do not fulfill these requirements or that have died due to other unnatural causes, injury or illness is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Ingredients and Processing

Beyond slaughter guidelines, the ingredients and processing methods used to produce food also impact its halal status. Halal Food must only contain ingredients derived from halal sources and must avoid use of any ingredient or processing aid derived from haram (non-permissible) sources such as pork, alcohol or animals improperly slaughtered. Additionally, cross-contamination with haram substances during production, storage or transportation must be avoided. Some common food additives and processing aids derived from animal or non-animal sources also require scrutinizing to ensure their halal compliance before being used in food products.

Foods Considered Non-Halal

Aside from pork, which is strictly prohibited in Islamic dietary laws, there are certain other foods that are not considered halal. This includes meat from carnivorous animals and birds of prey as well as meat from animals not slaughtered according to Islamic rituals. Blood and blood byproducts are also deemed non-halal. Other forbidden foods are carrion (dead animal meat), animals killed in the name of anyone other than God and foods containing ingredients derived from any source mentioned above as non-halal or containing intoxicating/mind-altering substances like alcohol.

Halal Certification and Regulation

With rapidly growing international food trade and the versatility of supply chains, halal certification and regulation have become crucial. Different countries and Islamic organizations have established standards and certification procedures to authenticate halal compliance. Certification helps identify products approved by Islamic authorities after verifying slaughtering and processing complies with Sharia law. It provides assurance to Muslim consumers and also protects the halal integrity of products exported internationally. Various symbols and logos are issued by certification bodies that must appear on packaging of certified Halal Food products. Surveillance audits are conducted to ensure continued compliance with standards. This system of third-party oversight plays an important role in expanding halal food markets globally.

Key Certification Bodies

Some of the major international organizations providing halal certifications and oversight include:

– JAKIM (Islamic Development Department) Malaysia: Largest halal certification body globally that mostly follows ASEAN standards.

– IFANCA (Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America): Pioneer halal certifier established in the USA, issues Halal and Kosher certifications.

– MUI (Indonesian Ulema Council Halal Product Guarantee): Governing body for all halal matters in Indonesia, including certification.

– ECHMA (European Halal Monitoring & Accreditation): Pan-European accreditation body focused on standards development and halal monitoring in Europe.

So in summary, halal defines food and ingredients permissible according to Islamic dietary guidelines related to humane animal slaughter processes and avoidance of any non-halal ingredients or contaminants during production and handling. Halal certification provides a globally recognized quality assurance to authenticate products meeting these requirements.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it