British group creates international halal certification program

A group of scholars in the UK has created what they say is a halal certification program that has the potential to become the international standard for the global food industry and make life easier for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim consumers.

The Halal Authority Board (HAB) in the UK  has designed what they say is a “realistic and practical” certification scheme that regulates the production of halal products in accordance with Islamic law and modern food processing.

The hope is that a worldwide, uniform standard would streamline the process for halal food production and end the confusion among consumers who are confronted with a patchwork of different standards in the market, says HAB.

The main pillars of the certification program will include the production, processing and preparation of halal foods, particularly meat.

The HAB’s certification program has the backing of 950 of the UK’s 1,400 mosques. The Shariah board itself is made up of 13 Islamic scholars who represent a wide cross-section of the Muslim community.

The system will also be overseen by third-party certification group Cert ID Europe.

Meanwhile, the news of a potential international halal certification program comes on the heels of an inflammatory controversy which has figured as an election issue in France, home to the largest Muslim population in Europe.

In February, far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen charged that all meat consumed in Paris was halal, unbeknownst to non-Muslim consumers. The controversy prompted butchers in France to call for national and European laws that would make it mandatory to disclose how the animal was slaughtered.

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