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OIC Out to Standardise Halal Products

Nov 2009

What is Halal and what is not? Many Muslims are clear as to what is prohibited and what is allowed. However, for many of the Islamic faith, the lines are blurred. This is why Islamic countries are getting together in an attempt to standardise and codify Halal products.

With Halal products and services estimated to be worth more than US$2 trillion, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is working on a single standard that would apply to all its 57 member countries.

Jamil Khir Baharom, the religious affairs minister for Malaysia, said in a Reuters interview that his country is ideally placed to lead the way.

“Malaysia’s Halal certification is recognised worldwide so perhaps we can play an important role in creating a global standard,” he said. “We need a halal certification that everyone can use easily.”

While most Halal-haram issues are clear cut, such as the prohibition of pork and meat not slaughtered in the Islamic way, there are gray areas in products like non-alcoholic beer or even vinegar.

At the same time, some countries are stricter in the implementation of Halal and haram laws than others. Indeed, a codified standard for Halal products and services would be of immense benefit to Muslims everywhere.

It is just a case of bridging the vast differences in certain issues that occur across the Muslim world. It is easier said than done.

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