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Halal requirements for foods imported to GCC

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r.raju

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:35 AM

Hi everyone!

We are looking at importing RTE breakfast cereals like muesli and snack bars from Europe to GCC. The manufacturer is not Halal certified. Since these are regular foods (not animal based) I am wondering if we can import the products on basis of testing the finished product for Halal testing I.e. porcine derivatives and alcohol residue. Would this suffice? Or is it mandatory that the manufacturer has to be Halal certified even for such low risk products? The volume is not huge so it doesn’t justify us asking them to get Halal certified...

I would be grateful if anyone on this forum who has handled a similar scenario or is aware of the requirements could share their expertise or experience.

Thanks in advance!

Roshni



tiamtzet

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 02:56 AM

never deal with GCC HALAL before.

based on the experience from another Islamic country HALAL, HALAL testing cannot replace the certification. All processed food must undergo certification process to be recognised as HALAL. if ethanol is produced/ used during the processing steps, the product will not consider HALAL product even though no residue detected in final product. 

FYI, countries regulate HALAL certificate differently. 



r.raju

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 03:38 AM

Hi thanks for your reply.

Just to clarify we are not labeling the product as Halal. This query is more related to customs clearance. So I am wondering if this means that all manufacturers who export any processed food product even if not animal based must have Halal certification system in place? Is this practical for manufacturers outside the GCC...



pHruit

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 08:19 AM

I'd suggest discussing with the importer/distributor/retailer with whom you'll be working in the GCC.
Halal certification isn't always necessary (or at least it wasn't the last time I was involved in export there a few years ago), but equally the application of customs/import requirements can be somewhat variable and that makes it more challenging.

FWIW analysis of ethanol content isn't likely to be an absolute verification of suitability anyway. For some product types it might possibly help, but halal requirements don't stipulate an absolute absence of ethanol in all products - this can be a natural component (at a fairly detectable level) in some types of product, but they'd still be halal suitable because there is no added alcohol.



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LesleySR

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 01:34 PM

Hi Roshni

 

I believe this very much depends on WHO is asking for Halal certification (importer, final consumer, customs?).

 

There are different Halal standards too, so it is worth checking on the understanding of which halal standard is required?....(eg. standard/Malaysia/UAE)

 

We produce products for a well known cereal company & where not all the ingredients can be certified as halal a statement from the ingredient supplier included on the specification stating "suitable for a halal diet" satisfies our final customer requirements.

 

If you are asking for halal certification from a supplier that is either not halal certified or the products you purchase are not included in the scope of their halal accreditation & your purchase quantity is minimal, suppliers are often reluctant to pursue certification as this is additional cost/effort for them.

 

I've had this issue periodically with imported foods/ingredients and now ask that the project originator includes any "special requests" (eg. RSPO, Organic, Halal, Kosher, specific testing for COAs) so we can properly cost the project.



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GMO

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:01 PM

I used to be halal certified in a former company.  We used the Halal Food Agency and they were helpful, had a reasonable standard which wasn't onerous to comply with.  As said above though, there are different halal standards.

 

If it's acceptable to import the goods on the basis of testing for, e.g. porcine DNA, ethanol and shellfish for example, could you not just ask the supplier if they use any of these on site?  For a cereal bar manufacturer, it's pretty unlikely and as pHruit says, it rules out potential accidental positives from fruit fermentation.  They may be able to provide a statement along those lines and with other GMP controls which would be supportive, e.g. handwashing at entry to the facility.  If the HFA standard is acceptable though, it is one of the better standards out there.  Yes it's extra work but not a massive amount.  It's not like having an additional BRC audit. 







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