An eminent group of UK halal scholars have created a new Shariah-compliant halal certification scheme for the food industry, which they hope will be adopted as a worldwide standard.
The Halal Authority Board (HAB), which was formed by the Hijaz Group, includes 13 of the UK’s most respected Islamic Scholars. UK certification business Cert ID Europe has joined as the auditing body for the scheme.
The AB certification scheme has been developed in conjunction with the meat industry and has the backing of 950 UK mosques. It sets out guidelines on all aspects of production, with five modules covering: primary production of livestock; primary processing of livestock, including cleaning and cleansing, slaughter and packaging; further processing; logistics; and foodservice.
Cert ID Europe said the new worldwide standard would help integrate the requirements of 1,500 year old halal beliefs with modern food processing, allowing for a more streamlined process for food businesses. Additionally, it is hoped that the new standard will end the confusion caused by the multiple standards currently available.
Jerry Houseago, business development director at Cert ID Europe, said: “A lot of the issues that have arisen before with halal stem from the fact many processes in modern food technology didn’t exist at the time the Qu’aran and Shariah law was put together. Things like radiation, GM, synthetics and additives weren’t around when it was written, so it has never dealt with them.
“Previously, a lot of these issues weren’t being picked up until the auditors were on-site. With the new scheme, we have turned the process around, so it is now centred around Cert ID’s Minerva online system. Manufacturers will give us a lot more information about the ingredients going into the products and the basis for them saying they are halal prior to getting onto audit. This streamlines the process and allows us to deal with any issues before we go on-site, which means that there aren’t any subsequent delays.”
Houseago added that the HAB’s connection with Muslim consumers added considerable value to the certification scheme, providing an essential element missing from other certification programmes.
Shaykh Siddiqi, founder of the Hijaz Group, is currently in Dubai to discuss the standard with leading members of the worldwide halal community. “It was essential to create a worldwide halal standard to gain the confidence of the Muslim communities both in the UK and worldwide," he said.
“This new proposition offers businesses the opportunity to capitalise on the halal market via a consistent quality standard. This will allow the highest-quality halal products, which are also competitively priced, to Muslim consumers.”