Getting the right halal message across

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013

SUBANG JAYA: With over 1,400 of the 4,700 companies dealing with halal food failing to get halal certification, the Department of Standards Malaysia is set to correct the misconception that the term meant just “pork-free” and “alcohol-free”.

Standards Malaysia director-general Fadilah Baharin said there needs to be an understanding of the broader halalan toyyiban concept which can be defined as permissible for consumption with relation to Syariah law as well as safe and hygienic.

Towards this end, the department, together with its smart partners Persis Management and Services Sdn Bhd and the Egnatia Group has started an industry research that includes consumer understanding and awareness, investments and export market potential as well as challenges and opportunities faced by consumers, the authorities and the industry players.

Fadilah said the research started in the middle of last year and was expected to be completed next month, following which a series of workshops would be carried out nationwide.

She said a key insight of the research was the interpretation of halal as limited to “pork-free” and “alcohol-free” processes.

“However, halalan toyyiban, which sets the criteria on safety, hygiene and cleanliness, is not clearly understood.

“The potential of the halal industry can increase multi-fold if the awareness on halal is improved,” she told a press conference at the Grand Dorsett Subang here to announce the research yesterday.

A workshop was also held, with participants from the halal industry discussing key findings of the first Malaysia Halal Industry Market Report 2012, produced by the Egnatia Group.

Egnatia Group chairman Ali Kasa said 31% of the 4,700 companies filing applications for halal certifications may not be successful due to various reasons, including misinterpretation of the halal criteria.

Referring to the report produced by the company, he said: “The report, which will be made public in a few months, aims to scrutinise the Malaysian halal industry landscape from the perspective of its major stakeholders: consumers, businesses and regulators.”

Persis Management and Services CEO and principal consultant Fe Jazzareen said the report includes an in-depth research and rational analysis of the halal market potentials in Malaysia as well as globally.

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