Commerce ministry issues draft guidelines for certification of halal meat products

Indian halal industry is in its infancy. Currently, there are no specific labelling requirements for halal meat products imported into India

guidelines for halal meat products

Halal meat products industry is still infancy in India. However, all meat and its products to be exported as ‘halal certified’ only if it is produced, processed and packed under a valid certificate issued by a certification body accredited by a board of the Quality Council of India, according to the commerce ministry’s draft guidelines on the subject. With the aim of streamlining the halal certification process for export of meat and meat products from India, the draft guidelines on halal certification for export of meat and its products are proposed by the directorate general of direct trade (DGFT).

The guidelines said that the certification bodies would follow the procedure laid down as per the Indian conformity assessment scheme (i-CAS) – halal.

It added that the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) 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.

These draft guidelines are being circulated for the public/industry comments and feedback. The views can be sent by February 17 for compilation and to prepare the final guidelines.

With an objective to streamline the certification of meat and meat products as halal from the country, a scheme titled ‘India Conformity Assessment Scheme (i-CAS)’ has been developed.

There is no mandatory halal certification system in India regulated by the government as India does not have a national regulation for the certification. However, certification is undertaken in India through private organisations which have been accredited/recognised by the importing countries.

“As the monitoring body for halal meat and meat products, APEDA shall have the mechanism to ensure that the certification and export of halal products has followed the i-CAS requirements,” it said.

The global halal food market reached a value of USD 1978 billion in 2021. Looking forward, the market is projected to reach USD 3,907.7 billion by 2027.

It said that India’s large Muslim population represents huge opportunities for halal-based entrepreneurs.

However, in India, the country’s halal industry is still in its infancy. There are no specific labelling requirements for halal food products imported into India.

In India, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) certification can be seen on almost all the processed foods but the government neither mandates halal certification nor does it provide a unifying regulatory law hence it is important to have halal regulations in place in India.

Halal certification is given by many private companies in India which marks the food or products permissible. The major halal certifying organisations in India include Halal India Pvt Ltd and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust.

The International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) is an international network of accreditation bodies mandated to enforce halal standards in their economies.
It added that all the major importer countries for halal products have their own regulations for importing halal products.

Countries across the globe including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, UAE, Pakistan and others have their own halal standards; however, so far there has been no global halal standards.

The rapid growth of halal industry has not only led to the halal technologies and innovations but also the halal related laws and regulations which is still not harmonised globally, it said.

“In India certification bodies who are certifying the halal trade being impanelled in the country of export but halal monitoring is still a subject of discussion in absence of authority, regulation and monitoring of products under halal certification,” it added.

Due to changed consumer perception, the halal market not only attracts muslim population but also non-muslim consumers, it said.

“The issues and challenges in halal trade in India are lack of authoritative control, regulation, regular monitoring, enforcement, awareness of the industries, changed consumer perception, cost, market competitiveness, and supply chain management,” it added.

By outlining these problems, it is hoped that this guideline will give thought to discuss suggestions and identify solutions for the problems that have been raised so that food business operators in India have solid platforms to implement the halal concept in their businesses, it said.