Capacity Building on the Development of Halal Food Production Standard and Food Safety


This programme was organised by the National Food Institute (NFI) of Thailand with financial support of WAITRO and SME Bank of Thailand. I, M.N.A. Mubarak, Principal Research Scientist of the Industrial Technology Institute, represented Sri Lanka. All together there were 14 participants from eight countries, namely Cameroon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Jordan. The programme was held at the Al Meroze Hotel in Thailand and this hotel is the first halal certified hotel in Thailand. The selection of the nature of the programme venue added an extra value and participants were very happy about the venue. We all enjoyed popular Thai halal food recipes throughout our stay.

The programme consists of two parts. Part I is a five-day seminar with resource persons from Turkey, Malaysia and Jordan. There were also speakers from scientific institutes of Thailand, among which are from NFI and CICOT. Part II was the implementation of the study; consisting of factory visits and market surveys.

According to the Islamic Sharia law, the halal food concept is very simple. However, new technological developments of the food industry are becoming more and more complex. Due to the breathtaking technological development today and the diversification of sources acquired globally for food processing and production, numerous processed foods are available in the market. It is increasingly difficult for Muslims during this challenging time to ensure the halal status of food in the market. This trend has raised concerns among Muslim consumers regarding new processed food and other consumer products. This was discussed among the participants of the workshop and we all shared our experience. We also learned about the Islamic Sharia law with respect to halal and its implementation in different certification bodies.

In addition to the complex nature of the food processing industry, food adulteration is an issue of major quality concern in the food trade and industry globally. Adulteration involving the replacement of costly ingredients with inferior and cheaper substitutes is common practice in many countries. Adulteration of food products can be very attractive and lucrative for food manufacturers or raw material suppliers, e.g. melamine adulteration issue in infant formula.  Adulteration of any non-halal/hazardous component in halal food renders the food to become non-halal or haram. This issue was a big concern among the participants. We discussed on the matter and tried to find ways to minimise the contamination. We also shared knowledge on analytical techniques that could be used to analyse the contaminants and hazardous substances in food before they are certified as halal. Other matters that we discussed were genetically modified (GM) food and the challenges faced in certifying GM food as halal.

Many cases were shared among the participants of worldwide reports in previous years such as adulteration of haram or shubhah ingredients with food especially porcine-based products in halal food, e.g. in Malaysia, there were issues on non-halal moon cakes, sausages using non-halal casing, haram fish, among others. In the United Kingdom, the Food Standards Agency conducted a test for authenticity of chicken in the market had found pig and cattle DNA in halal-labelled chicken. In Indonesia, there were episodes on ‘Pig Fat Scare’, and the food ingredient MSG was found to be adulterated with enzymes derived from pigs.

Finally, concerning all the above issues, participants are in view that to comply with halal requirements, more stringent auditing/monitoring system is needed by halal authorities of each of the participants’ countries. Reliable state-of-the-art scientific methods are required for analysis of non-halal components (e.g. porcine origin, alcohol) in halal food. Analytical techniques become the major challenge for authentication of halal food and more research is needed.

Benefits gained through participating in the programme

Gained knowledge on Thailand halal standards and halal certification processes

Gained knowledge on organisation structure of CICOT at its activities

Learned about the Islamic principal of halal certification as per the Sharia Law

Met experts and theologists of other countries who work on halal certification. I also had the opportunity to discuss their protocols on halal certification and this will be a benefit for me to share new developments related to the subject.

I was able to build a strong relationship with other halal certification bodies of the region through which we can exchange our experience, weaknesses and future developments on halal certification activities.

Benefits to my Institute

Knowledge received from this workshop could help to develop new testing services related to halal testing.

This workshop enabled me to build a strong relationship with the experts of other halal certification authorities through which we could exchange our experience, weaknesses and future developments on halal certification.

At this workshop I met experts and theologists from other countries who work on halal certification activities for their countries, which is a benefit for us to share new developments related to the subject.

The relationship that I made with NFI and CICOT Thailand officials will help us to remove most of the technical issues on halal certification activities.

Copyright © 2010 - World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations