what is halal food?
Halal food is defined as food permitted under the Islamic Law and should fulfil following conditions:
1. does not consist of or contain anything which is considered to be unlawful according to Islarnic Law;
2. has not been prepared, processed, transported or stored using any appliance or facility that was not free from anything unlawful according to Islamic Law; and
3. has not in the course of preparation, processing, transportation or storage been in direct contact with any food that fails to satisfy 1 and 2 above
In addition, halal food can be prepared, processed or stored in different sections or lines within the same premises where non-halal foods are produced, provided that necessary measures are taken to prevent any contact between halal and non-halal foods. Halal foods can also be prepared, processed, transported or stored using facilities which have been previously used for non-halal foods provided that proper cleaning procedures, according to Islamic requirements, have been observed.
Criteria for Use of the Term "Halal"
The guideline mentioned above points out that the term halal may be used for foods which are considered lawful. Under the Islamic Law, all sources of food are lawful except the following sources, including their products and derivatives which are considered unlawful:
1. Food of animal origin
1.1 Pigs and boars.
1.2 Dogs, snakes and monkeys.
1.3 Carnivorous animals with claws and fangs such as lions, tigers, bears and other similar animals.
1.4 Birds of prey with claws such as eagles, vultures, and other similar birds.
1.5 Pests such as rats, centipedes, scorpions and other similar animals.
1.6 Animals forbidden to be killed in Islam, i.e., ants, bees and woodpecker birds.
1.7 Animals which are considered repulsive generally like lice, flies, maggots and other similar animals.
1.8 Animals that live both on land and in water such frogs, crocodiles and other similar animals.
1.9 Mules and domestic donkeys.
1.10. All poisonous and hazardous aquatic animals.
1.11. Any other animals not slaughtered according to Islamic Law.
2. Food of plant origin. Intoxicating and hazardous plants except where the toxin or hazard can be eliminated during processing.
3.1 Alcoholic drinks.
3.2 All forms of intoxicating and hazardous drinks.
4. Food additives. All food additives derived from item 1, 2 and 3.
Islamic Law also regulates the slaughtering procedure of lawful animal. This is explained by the guideline that all lawful land animals should be slaughtered in compliance with the rules laid down in the Codex Recommended Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Meat (CAC/RCP 11, Rev. 1-1993) and the following requirements:
1. The person should be a Muslim who is mentally sound and knowledgeable of the Islamic slaughtering procedures.
2. The animal to be slaughtered should be lawful according to Islamic Law.
3. The animal to be slaughtered should be alive or deemed to be alive at the time of slaughtering.
4. The phrase "Bismillah" (In the Name of Allah) should be invoked immediately before the slaughter of each animal.
5. The slaughtering device should be sharp and should not be lifted off the animal during the slaughter act.
6. The slaughter act should sever the trachea, aoesophagus and main arteries and veins of the neck region.
All food should be prepared, processed, packaged, transported and stored in such a manner that it complies with halal definition mentioned above.
Production of halal products requires certain raw materials, additives, process, handling, and transportation to meet the criteria of the term of halal as mentioned above. In addition, the industry should have a good system in order to assure that the products meet this requirement forever and no mistake can be made during the production period. The system called Halal Assurance System (HAS) proposed by Apriyantono (2001) can be adopted. This system consists of 5 components:
1. Standard of halal management and halal system. Halal management is managing of all the function and activities necessary to determine and achieve halal products. Halal system is defined as the organisational structure, responsibilities, procedures, activities, capabilities and resources that together aim to ensure that products, processes or service will satisfy stated or implied aims, i.e., production of halal products.
2. Standard audit of halal system. Basically, standard audit of halal system is conducted to:
2.1 Determine the conformity of halal system elements with specified requirements.
2.2 Determine the effectiveness of the implemented halal system in meeting specified objectives.
2.3 Verify that non-conformities identified in a previous audit have been rectified as agreed.
3. Haram Analysis Critical Control Point (HrACCP). A system which could point out the critical points where haram or najees (najasa) materials may contaminate halal materials, as well as preventing haram materials to be used for the production of halal foods. There are 6 elements which go to make an HrACCP system:
3.1 Identify and assess all haram and najees materials.
3.2 Identify the critical control points.
3.3 Establish the monitoring procedures.
3.4 Establish corrective actions.
3.5 Establish a record-keeping system.
3.6 Establish verification procedures.
4. Halal guideline. This consists of general regulation of halal foods and standards procedures of production of halal foods. In addition, specific regulation and procedures may be added, for example, in the case of food additive production.
5. Halal database. It consists of list of materials used for food production; information of the source and preparation of each material is mentioned in the list as well as its halal status and other important information.
To ensure that the industry has met the halal requirements in producing halal foods, especially those that would like to put a halal logo in its packaging, the industry must ask help from a reliance and acceptable halal certifying organisation. The halal certifying organisation will then audit and certify its products, raw materials, additives, production facilities, administration and management. Once the industry has got a halal certificate for its products, it can be used as a formal basis for applying a halal logo. This certificate can also be used to declare that the products are halal and hence the products can be imported to Muslim countries or sold to Muslim consumers.
Reference: Ir. Endang S. Soenaryo and Dr. Ir Anton Apriyantono; Halal Requirement For Instant Noodle Manufacture.
Paper presented at The 3rd IRMA Summit, Thailand, 14-15 March 2001