Introduction to Halal Certification

Why Halal Certification

     In the past, there were fewer processed foods, Generally Muslims could judge whether a food was halal or not by its appearance and try to avoid foods with unknown ingredients. However, with the rapid changes in processing technology, the advancement of refrigeration equipment and the development of transportation, processed foods from various countries are available everywhere and have become inevitable consumer goods in daily life. Although many of these processed foods have ingredient labels, firstly, the laws and regulations of different countries may not require all ingredients to be listed in detail; secondly, the labeled ingredients may be professional names or manufacturer-specific names, so the general public may not know whether a certain ingredient is edible or not; and thirdly, some of the combined labeled ingredients contain several raw materials, so it is very difficult to determine whether a product is suitable for Muslims to consume by just looking at the ingredient labels. Therefore, in the past two decades, there has been an international demand for Halal certification, which is often carried out by local Muslim organizations in conjunction with Shariah scholars and food and nutrition professionals, who take on the responsibility of checking and auditing food manufacturing to serve the food industry and the Muslim public. Generally, products that have passed the Halal certification can be authorized to display the Halal (حلال) mark, so that Muslim consumers know that they can consume the product with peace of mind.


Overview of Halal Certification in Overseas Countries

     Halal certification is an emerging international demand in the past two decades. Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are the most active countries in promoting halal affairs, and they have formulated halal food and slaughtering industry regulations, and each has its own official organization to monitor and inspect its domestic products and control the imported halal products. To export halal products to these countries, the products must have a halal certificate issued by a foreign halal certification body recognized by the official organization of the country concerned.

     To be recognized by the organizations, foreign Halal certification body must meet the requirements.

     THIDA was established in 2011, to assist the domestic companies to enter the international halal market, we have developed a halal certification system that meets the requirements of various countries, and at the same time, we have sent our staff to participate in foreign halal certification training, striving for international recognition, and actively participating in multinational halal certification organizations. Currently, we have received written recognition from the following foreign official organizations and have joined the following international organizations as members:

  1. Malaysia: Jabatan Kamajuan Islam Malaysia-JAKIM, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, in charge of national religious affairs, please refer to JAKIM's official website Foreign Halal Certification Body (FHCB). the recognition certificate and the recognition letter to THIDA, valid until March 19, 2027.

  2. Indonesia: The Halal Product Assurance Organizing Body (Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Produk Halal), under the Ministry of Religion of the Indonesian government, oversees Halal product certification affairs in Indonesia, the recommendation letter, and the recognition certificate to THIDA, valid until November 14, 2027.

  3. Indonesia: Majelis Ulama Indonesia-MUI, Indonesian Council of Ulama, in charge of national religious affairs, please check: Halal Certification Body of Countries Recognized by MUI Indonesia, recognition certificate to THIDA, valid until September 28, 2020.

  4. Singapore: Majlis Ugama Islam Singpura-MUIS, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, recognition certificate to THIDA, valid until June 1, 2024.

  5. International Halal Integrity Alliance - IHI: Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has about 20 members and THIDA is one of them.

  6. World Halal Food Council - WHFC: Headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia, has about 45 members and THIDA is one of them.

  7. Association of Halal Certifiers - AHAC: Headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, has about 20 members and THIDA is one of them.

Overview of Domestic Halal Certification

     Since the 1990s, domestic food manufacturers have been seeking certification from local mosques to meet export needs. Taichung Mosque started to do Halal certification in the late 1990s, and has been recognized by Singapore and Malaysia despite its meager manpower; Taipei Mosque started to do Halal certification in the early 2000s and was recognized by Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, but the service was terminated at the end of March, 2010; Kaohsiung Mosque also used to do halal certification, but it was also discontinued due to manpower constraints; in addition, Imam Hsiao Yong-tai of Cultural Mosque has issued halal certification for halal meat called "cattle stamp" and halal certificate for restaurants since the 1960s, the concepts of issuing cattle stamps and halal certificate for restaurants at that time were similar to today's halal food certification, and the mosque also occasionally issued halal certificates for processed food manufacturers, which was the actual halal certification. After the renovation of the mosque was completed in 2010, under the leadership of the mosque’s chairman, Mr. Chang M.J., actively promoted halal certification affairs, and within half a year, was recognized by Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and other countries.

     Thinking carefully about the halal certification affairs, giving certificates is not the completion of the work, but the beginning of the process, how to ensure that the certified manufacturers continue to follow the norms to produce halal food, that is, how to ensure the quality of halal, is actually a major responsibility of certification body, so it is necessary to strengthen the post-certification audit and supervision, education and training, so that the factory staff are able to understand the requirements of the halal certification, to avoid inadvertent mistakes; In addition, the food industry also needs guidance and assistance for developing the Muslim market. Looking at the certification situation of each mosque, it is difficult to achieve the desired results due to lack of manpower Halal certification and promotion involves industry, government, academia, and research, and is not quite in line with the main objective of Chinese Muslim Association to serve the Muslim public. Moreover, due to the lack of manpower of the Association for many years, it is not possible to handle Halal certification, and the association has authorized each mosque to issue Halal certification. In view of this, Chairman Kamaluddin Chang and former Chairman Mr. Salahuding Ma, advocated the formation of a special organization to handle related matters, and thus the birth of Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THIDA).

     Since the establishment of THIDA on May 7, 2011, by the end of November of the same year, THIDA has been recognized by the official halal certification agencies of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. JAKIM of Malaysia sent a letter to THIDA on March 7, 2012, informing that certificates issued by the mosques in Taiwan that were recognized by JAKIM could still be accepted by the end of the year and that from next year onwards, the application of halal certificate should be submitted to THIDA.

     THIDA has integrated the halal certification team of Cultural mosque and has agreed with Chinese Muslim Association on the division of work and cooperation on halal certification affairs, whereby THIDA is responsible for the issuance of halal certificates for processed food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and Chinese Muslim Association is responsible for the issuance of halal certificates for domestic hospitality industry, slaughtering industry and meat supply which to serve the Muslim public in the country. We welcome all mosques to join us and work together for the Halal certification in Taiwan.