Introduction to Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THIDA)

The current world Muslim population has been estimated to be 1.5 to 1.6 billions, or 1 out of 4 persons in the world is a Muslim. It is estimated that the Muslim market is worth 800 billion to 1.2 trillion US dollars per year, a very significant new market.

Taiwan is an export-oriented vigorous industrial economy. Over the last several decades, it has always been able to produce and supply all kinds of relatively inexpensive products with excellent and stable quality, often catered for different markets. In the recent years, industries of various fields such as agriculture, seafood, processed food, food flavoring, healthy food, bio-tech, pharmaceutics, cosmetics, and even food machinery, have approached Mosques in Taipei, Taichung, and other cities for Halal certification. Nearly 400 enterprises have obtained Halal certificates for some of their products, which have been successfully exported to the global Muslim market. Thus, a very good foundation has been laid down for Taiwan’s Halal Industry to exploit.

A Halal certified product is a product certified to be in compliance with a series of manufacturing standards specified according to the Islamic Law or ‘Shariah’. These standards regulate all the related aspects of the products, including its ingredients, feeds and slaughtering if animal based material, manufacturing process, hygiene and safety requirements, packaging, labeling, and transportation, etc. Meticulous care must be taken during the certification process to exclude any ingredient that is not compliant to Islamic Law, or has been contaminated by any incompliant material. Not only Halal food is Islamically legal for Muslims to consume, also appeals to the current consumer market trend, healthy, hygienic, and safe. Therefore, Halal products have emerged as a very important new business opportunity.

Based on our experience, most of the Halal certificate holders were able to comply with the agreement signed up with us, the certifying bodies. There have been only a few uncertainties or violations of Halal agreements resulted from negligence, ignorance, or carelessness, and therefore legal actions or corrective measures had to take place. However, prevention is much better than cure. We have resolved to establish this organization for several reasons: 1) to ensure ‘Halalness’ to all Muslim consumers anywhere in the world; 2) to protect the Halal integrity of local certification bodies from mistakes or mishandling by a few black sheep; 3) to avoid consequences from such mistakes that may affect interests of other law-abiding companies; 4) to allow sharing of the limited resources of each individual Mosque in both the Shariah and technical fields. We plan to integrate the Halal teams of two Mosques, Taipei Cultural Mosque(TPCM) which is recognized by JAKIM, MUI, and MUIS, and Taichung Mosque(TCM) which is recognized by JAKIM and MUIS, to collectively shoulder the tremendous responsibility of Halal certification, and to offer more services to the Halal industry, such as promoting publicity, education and training for the Halal certificate holders, establishing technical specifications, and consultation, etc.

Furthermore, as the global Muslim market is developing robustly, we hope THIDA will serve as a platform for more collaboration between government offices, industry players, and academic institutions, promote legislation of government acts to facilitate the manufacturing and exporting of Halal products, help businesses dealing with Halal products be integrated horizontally and vertically, and invite academic arena in leading and guiding towards latest technologies, encourage establishing Islamic financial services and Muslim tourism, and participate in developing business opportunities in the Muslim markets. The services THIDA plans to gradually provide are shown with a ‘Functional Organization Chart’ below.