999 Explores what the halal scheme means for Muslim faith and international commerce as the UAE takes the lead in creating a unified global halal standard
Are you sure that’s halal? That’s one question that has bothered followers of the faith ever since technological and trade developments over the past centuries significantly altered the way food arrives on our table, raising the necessity for ensuring its halal-ness.
Making matters more complicated is the fact that contaminated products often find their way into supermarket shelves even after a product is labelled as halal, and many unknowingly consume what is not permissible.
Moreover, different countries in the world follow different standards for qualifying a product – food or otherwise – as halal, adding to the confusion. Indeed, among the biggest challenges facing the sector today is lack of a unified standard that can help Muslims identify a product – whether food or a banking scheme or even cosmetics – as halal.
However, as the cover story of 999 Magazine’s March edition points out, with the steps that the UAE has just introduced towards launching common, unified halal standards, that obstacle will soon be a thing of the past.
Last month, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, issued Cabinet Degree No. 10 for 2014, regarding the UAE Regulation for Monitoring Halal Products, including their production and related services.
The Halal Scheme, which was approved recently by the Cabinet, will enable concerned bodies to decide whether any product, made in the UAE or imported, is halal or not. Under the setup, a wide variety of products – food and non-food – will be covered.
Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999, says: “The initiative will be a major step towards ensuring that Muslims will no longer have to doubt the halal nature of food or non-food products that they consume or use as common standards will be applied to products produced or imported across the board, in all Muslim countries.”
Farah Al Zarooni, Director of Standards at the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA), is at the forefront of the work underway on the Halal Scheme. “Within the UAE, we at ESMA are the sole body for issuing all the standards and technical regulations including the halal,” she says.
The technical regulations of the UAE will not only control the halal process, but also make sure that all the ingredients going into the manufacturing are from halal sources. In the case of meat, slaughterhouses will be at the centre of scrutiny, explains ESMA’s Al Zarooni.
As the 999 cover story elaborates, halal isn’t just the way an animal is slaughtered and goes much beyond that, right from the food that is fed while raising the animal to the way the meat is preserved and even marketed. Moreover, the concept of halal isn’t restricted to food but is also a lifestyle.
The March edition of the 999 magazine outlines the halal concept and details the new regulations and guidelines which, once implemented, will result in much-needed clarity for Muslims and marketers catering to this large and growing sector.
The 999 Magazine is a part of the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of the Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the Ministry and Abu Dhabi Police. It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime and enhancement of safety in the UAE.