Muslims around the world are very particular about the food they consume. The Islamic dietary law permits and prohibits consumption of certain foods and drinks, and is very specific about how the food must be prepared for a Muslim’s consumption.
Thus, the businesses that manufacture or sell Halal food must let their customers know that their products are 100% Halal and safe for consumption. A Halal stamp or label on the food means that it has been prepared with strict compliance to the Islamic dietary law.
But, to be able to do that, these businesses require a formal Halal certification from designated authorities of bodies in their respective countries. The process typically accompanies recurrent certification fees along with routine audits from the certification body.
What is Halal?
Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible or lawful” in English. Halal food constitutes what Muslims are allowed to eat and drink. The Islamic dietary law is derived from Quran, Sharia laws, as well as Sunnah (examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad).
Unless specially prohibited, every food is considered halal in Islam. The opposite of Halal is ‘Haram’ which means prohibited, and some of the food items declared Haram by Islam include intoxicants (including alcohol), carrion (an animal that dies of itself), pork, donkey (also mules and horses), birds of prey, monkeys, snakes, scorpions, lizards, etc.
Muslims are also allowed to consume Kosher food that refers to the foods that conform to the Jewish dietary regulations of kashrut. Since the Jews have a dietary law that’s similar to the Muslim one, it’s okay for Muslims to consume Kosher food where Halal food is not available.
Why get Halal certification?
If you manufacture or sell Halal food, obtaining Halal certification is a must for you in almost every country. This becomes more important if you export your food products to a Muslim majority country. Although a certification is not mandated by Islam itself, food authorities across the world make sure that the consumers of Halal food get only authentic Halal food.
Although Halal certification incurs additional and recurrent costs for Halal food manufacturers, it gives the consumers the trust that the product they’re consuming has been checked by the competent authorities for its compliance with the Islamic dietary law.
That is the reason why mainstream manufacturers of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, as well as hotels, restaurants, airlines, hospitals, and other service providers over the world now invest in acquiring Halal certificates as it helps them build and maintain customer trust.
How to obtain Halal certification in the UK?
To get Halal certification in the UK, you will typically be required to apply for the certificate at the competent authority; or to engage with a compliance consultant who will do the whole process on your behalf, an example of a compliance consultant is Gulf Trade UK. After your application is submitted, thorough company audits and documentary evaluation of the quality and production systems of the company follow.
The food processing practices, such as slaughterers, cutting, processing, distribution, etc., as well as the personnel involved in each process, are rigorously audited. In a typical Halal certification case, you will need to follow the following process.
– Certification Application
– Documentation Reviews
– Business Audits
– Evaluation & Recommendations
– Initial Certification Issuance
– Annual Renewal Audits
– Annual Certification Issuance
Although the process is not complicated, the audits are rigorous and recurrent and do come with their costs. As soon as you get the UK Halal certification, you can sell your Halal food products anywhere in the UK. Keeping your certification up to date is key to continuing your sales smoothly.