COVID-19 drives non-Muslims towards halal products

Demand from non-Muslim countries for halal products has increased with the COVID-19 pandemic, Zafer Soylu, the head of Turkey’s Halal Accreditation Agency (HAK), said on Sunday.

“The importance of safe, healthy and clean food has emerged with the pandemic. Especially in the Far East, non-Muslim consumers have started to show a high demand for halal-certified products,” he told Reuters. ‘Anadolu Agency (AA).

Soylu said halal certification is now used not only in food-related fields, but also in the service sector.

Emphasizing that Turkey’s halal standards are based on 16 guidelines issued by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC) Institute for Standardization and Metrology for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) in this field, Soylu said: These standards seem to contain only Islamic and fiqh rules, but we must not forget the other aspects of the work we are talking about: hygienic, clean, healthy products, which do not give false and misleading information to the consumer and even the quality are within the framework of halal standards.

“The SMIIC standards include aspects of hygiene, cleanliness and health as well as dimensions of fiqh,” he said.

Soylu said he has seen growing interest in halal standards from non-Muslim countries and their populations.

“There was a demand for all halal-certified products before the pandemic, this demand has intensified now that the importance of these factors has emerged with the pandemic.”

Emphasizing that halal certification mainly emerged and became widespread in non-Muslim countries, Soylu said, “People living in non-Muslim countries have resorted to halal certification to feel safe. Most of the applications sent to us come from non-Muslim countries. .”

Soylu further stressed that an international system should be established for the mutual recognition of halal certificates issued according to the 16 standards determined by SMIIC.

“International trade must operate on the basis of these standards. The halal certificate issued in one country must be valid in other countries under normal conditions.”

“For this, there must be an accreditation mechanism. It is important that halal certification bodies issue certificates in accordance with the accreditation statutes granted by SMIIC-recognized accreditation institutions. The documents must also be acceptable anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, today different countries have different halal standards and different approaches to halal certification. Different accreditation and inspection systems create costs for our exporters,” he explained.

Stating that many food exporters obtain different halal certificates for different countries and the cost is very high, Soylu noted, “If you cannot establish a mutual recognition mechanism and ensure mutual recognition of halal certificates, the cost for producers increases and consumers do not hesitate to know which product is halal and clean.

The global halal market – which caters primarily to Muslims but also attracts those who prefer carefully inspected products – currently stands at around $7 trillion, according to previous statements.

The field includes many sectors such as cosmetics, chemicals and cleaning products, agricultural products, food, energy, tourism and finance.

Turkey, home to a large population that identifies as Muslim, is striving to be a pioneer in this area.

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