Malaysia on December 19 urged international makers of halal foods, or acceptable under Islamic rules, to standardise guidelines in an effort to reach a larger market.
Hundreds of business leaders and policymakers from the halal food industry will hold a World Halal Forum in Kuala Lumpur in May next to discuss issues such as manufacturing and distribution, said organising committee chairman Khairy Jamaluddin.
Forum organisers said current certification standards for halal products vary among countries, sometimes confusing consumers and forcing producers to undergo repeated certification processes in nations with different regulations.
“We want to promote halal as a premium item…for confidence in the integrity of (an) entire food chain that is clean, that is safe, that is healthy,” Khairy told reporters. A halal designation means a product complies with Islamic principles of hygiene and humane treatment of animals, and other rules involving the production processes.
Streamlined global halal standards must satisfy Muslim consumers whose main concerns are religious rules, and must attract non-Muslims who want an assurance of food products’ quality and safety, said Malaysia’s Halal Development Corp. Chief Executive Jamil Bidin.
“Harmonisation of standards is not there yet, so it will be nice if we can see that one day…just one standard that we can (all) follow,” Jamil said. He said the global industry for halal products and services is estimated to be worth up to $2.1 trillion annually.