@Halal March/April 2021 | Page 24

Malaysia and the global halal industry should take the bull by its horns now

Industry Talk

@ Halal | March-April . 2021
Location of the Muslim population in the world – in green .

Challenges and emerging opportunities

Malaysia and the global halal industry should take the bull by its horns now

The concept of ‘ halal ’ is interlinked with ‘ toyyib ’, which means ‘ good ’. Thus , the meaning of ‘ halal ’ is permissible in Islam and suitable for human beings .

The integration of ethical values and religious values opens up the halal industry ’ s boundary from 2.8 billion Muslim consumers to non-Muslim consumers worldwide .
It is well-accepted by non-Muslim consumers as a lifestyle choice because of the halal industry ’ s values such as animal welfare , social responsibility , being environment friendly , and stewardship to earth , economic and social justice .
The government is focusing on increasing halal products to make Malaysia an international halal hub . Thus , one of the best achievements was when the Malaysian Halal Certification , which caters for the halal goods sector , was named by the United Nations as the world ’ s best example of halal food benchmarking .
The halal companies , especially those in food processing , can depend on Malaysia ’ s halal certification strength . Malaysia was the
pioneer in establishing halal laws in the early 1980s and remains a force in halal certification globally .
Also , Malaysia is positioning itself as the knowledge centre for the trade and investment promotion of halal products and services by organising the Malaysia International Halal Showcase ( MIHAS ) and the World Halal Forum ( WHF ) as the international avenue for showcasing the halal trade ( MATRADE 2011 ).
Due to high demand from Muslim consumers worldwide , the market for certified halal products is thriving domestically and internationally .
Challenges in halal industry
The absence of viable international schemes to accredit halal certification bodies ( HCBs ) has long been a problem for the halal industry ( Hussein Elastrag , 2016 ). The majority of halal food is being produced in non-Muslim majority countries and is certified by dependent HCB ’ s that operate with little regulatory oversight .
There are over 300 officially recognised certifiers globally . But there remains limited oversight by impartial accreditation bodies , leaving substantial room for misrepresentation . Current accreditation initiatives , such as being developed by SMIIC , GSO and ESMA , are in the right direction . More coordination between the accreditation bodies is needed to avoid unnecessary duplication or competition .
The confusion surrounding halal standards is primarily because there are too many bodies involved . They are different governmentlinked organisations , private organisations and independent halal certification bodies ( HCB ’ s ), national standards bodies , regional bodies ( such as ASEAN , GSO and the EU ) and