What are halal-certified products? Why has UP banned them? | Explained | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

What are halal-certified products? Why has UP banned them? | Explained

Nov 18, 2023 10:33 PM IST

Ban on halal-certified products in UP is in the interest of public health, the order issued on Saturday said.

Halal-certified products are those which have apparently met the requirements of Islamic law and are suitable for the consumption of Muslims. Halal is an Arabic word which means permissible -- as opposed to 'haram'. The UP government on Saturday banned halal-certified food items -- from their manufacture, storage, distribution and sale with immediate effect.

UP government has banned halal-certified products except for import. (Photo of a market in Virginia)(AFP)
UP government has banned halal-certified products except for import. (Photo of a market in Virginia)(AFP)

Halal certification was first introduced in 1974 for slaughtered meat -- as no record of halal certification is found before that. Halal meat meant the meat which has been procured through the process permitted in Islam. The animal has to be slaughtered through the throat, oesophagus, and jugular veins but not the spinal cord -- as opposed to the jhatka method of slaughtering an animal where the neck gets the blow.

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In 1993, halal certification was extended to other products.

Why do non-meat products have halal certificates globally?

Recently, there was a ruckus on a Vande Bharat train over a sachet of tea premix as it was halal-certified. A passenger sought to know what a halal-certified tea means. The company explained that the certification was because of other countries as they export that tea premix. The certification was meant for Muslim countries. So halal is not limited to meat, even some cosmetics have halal certification to denote that they don't contain any 'haram' products like alcohol, pig fat etc.

Who gives halal certification?

Private organisations accredited by the countries which import the products give halal certificates in India as there is no government regulation in this area. The commerce ministry issued a draft guideline early this year on halal certification saying that the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority would be designated as the overall monitoring agency for this purpose. "All meat and meat products to be exported as 'halal certified' only if it is produced, processed and packed under a valid certificate issued by a certification body duly accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), Quality Council of India," the draft guidelines said.

The major halal-certifying organisations in the country include Halal India Pvt Ltd and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust. The International Halal Accreditation Forum is an international network of accreditation bodies mandated to enforce halal standards in their economies. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, the UAE, and Pakistan have their own halal standards.

Why has UP government banned halal-certified products? Export products exempted

The UP government said halal certificates for vegetarian products like oil, soap, toothpaste, and honey, where no such certification is necessary, suggest a deliberate criminal conspiracy targeting a specific community and its products. The ban is in the interest of public health and to prevent confusion. The ban exempts products meant for export.

"Halal certification of food products is a parallel system which creates confusion regarding the quality of food items and is completely against the basic intention of the said Act and is not tenable under Section 89 of the said Act," the UP government order said.

The action came as the government said it recently received information which indicated that products such as dairy items, sugar, bakery products, peppermint oil, salty ready-to-eat beverages, and edible oils are being labelled with a halal certification. "….there are no provisions for marking halal certification on labels in the government rules related to drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics, nor is there any mention of halal certification in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and its related rules. Any direct or indirect mention of halal certification on the labels of medicines, medical devices, or cosmetics constitutes falsification under the said Act, making it a punishable offence,” it said.

(With agency inputs)

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