ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
IFCE Organizes The 4th International Halal Food Conference 2010, With The Theme: "Establishing A Halal Quality Assurance System"
Brussels, Belgium, March 26, 2010, The Fourth International Halal Food Conference gathered leading authorities from major halal markets, food industry, academia and representatives from organizations and companies from all over the world.
IFCE's fourth International halal food conference was the biggest since IFCE started organizing conferences in 2004. Participants came from the UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Germany, the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the USA, Belgium, Ireland, Pakistan and France.
This year, the event was graced by His Excellency, Dato' Hussain Haniff, Ambassador of Malaysia to Belgium. In his opening address, HE Dato' Hussain acknowledged the efforts of IFCE and the conference in the bid to make halal food more readily available and accepted throughout the world, especially in the European market. He urged the industry to further develop the halal markets and industries in Europe. Like the conference organizers, he envisioned the conference to be beneficial in establishing a network that will contribute significantly to building the halal food industry, particularly in Europe.
In his keynote address, Dr Amidhan Shaberah, Chairman of Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) stressed MUI's recognition of IFCE, led by Prof Dr Mohamed Sadek, as a credible halal certifier. He introduced the concept of halal Tayyib to the conference and briefly explained the principles behind this concept. The concept is adopted by MUI in the issuance of halal certificates. To maintain these principles, LPPOM MUI emphasizes the 2-pronged approach ie. adherence to the requirements by halal certification bodies set out by MUI and adoption of Halal Assurance System by halal certified businesses. He ended his address by highlighting the importance of harmonized halal standards among certifying bodies. MUI is committed to this effort, hence it is organizing a meeting to address this issue in July 2010, in Jakarta.
Mr. Lukmanul Hakim, Executive Director of LPPOM MUI delivered his presentation on Developing Halal Assurance System. He shared with the attendees, the importance of Halal Assurance System (HAS) and its success factors. He proposed the integrated organization to achieve and maintain HAS, which includes the selection of halal raw materials during product conceptualization and product development; halal risk assessment; certified suppliers; good warehouse practices and good hygiene and sanitation practices.
Mr. Othman Mustapha, Deputy Director-General, JAKIM shared Malaysia's Halal Certification Program which includes the advantages of halal certification and the various halal certification schemes offered by Malaysia. He introduced the revised Malaysian Halal Standard, MS 1500:2009. He also introduced the guidelines on cosmetics and personal care products, MS2200:2008.
Singapore was represented by Ms. Dewi Hartaty Suratty, Head, Halal Certification, MUIS. She presented a paper entitled 'Experience in Administering Halal Certification in Singapore'. In her presentation, she shared a Muslim minority country perspective of administering and managing halal certification including the development of a clear and transparent halal standard, the efficient use of technology in managing halal and the variegation of legal instruments to safeguard public interests.
Various sectors of the food industry were represented to share their perspectives in establishing a halal quality assurance system, including Ms. Liliana Totoiu of Access Business Group from the nutritional supplements sector; Mr. Mark Van Mulders of Puratos from the chocolates sector; Mr. Jes Knudsen of Novozymes from the enzymes sector; Mr. Etienne Maillard of SI LeSaffre from the bakery sectorand Mr. Riyaz Khan of Nitta Gelatin’s from the gelatin sector. In addition, Mr. Othman Yusoff shared with the conference, Nestlé's success in Malaysia's halal certification program.
National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI) – What it Means for the Halal Industry
As part of the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI) gaining momentum across America, on March 17, 2010 Kraft revealed their plans to reduce sodium levels by an average of 10% in all of their North American brands over the next two years. "We are reducing sodium because it's good for consumers, and, if done properly, it's good for business," Rhonda Jordan, President of Health & Wellness for Kraft said during the media statement. "A growing number of consumers are concerned about their sodium intake and we want to help them translate their intentions into actions. We are aggressively working toward our goal of a 10% reduction across the Kraft Foods portfolio" which includes more than 1,000 different product types, Jordan added, "and we're pushing for greater reductions in the long term. We're constantly looking for and investing in new technologies to help us get there." According to the company, the move will eliminate more than 10 million combined pounds of salt from Kraft products, and will include cuts of up to 20% in some foodstuffs. Campbell's Soup Company and ConAgra Foods were some other food producers who recently began cutting sodium content.
As mentioned on its website, NSRI is a partnership that includes 17 national health organizations and 26 cities, states and related entities. NSRI is a voluntary initiative, its goal is to reduce Americans' salt intake by at least 20% over five years. According to NSRI, heart attacks and strokes kill more than 850,000 people in the U.S. each year. High blood pressure – a common result of excessive salt intake – causes cardiovascular disease, the nation's leading cause of premature death. Lowering blood pressure saves lives, and reducing salt intake lowers blood pressure. Not a regulatory measure, NSRI is modeled after a successful initiative developed in the United Kingdom. It will not affect federal, state or local nutrition labeling laws.
NSRI members work with food manufacturers and the restaurant industry to lower the salt levels in commonly consumed products. "It's a positive step," says Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, President, IFANCA. "The use of salt is way beyond what the body needs." According to NSRI, "nearly 80% of the salt we consume comes from processed, packaged and restaurant-prepared food. Single items often contain more than a day's worth of sodium, the component of salt that affects blood pressure. The salt in the food – not on the food – is the problem. Only the manufacturers and restaurants can address it. Reducing salt in processed food can help reduce everyone’s risk of heart disease and stroke."
How does NSRI affect halal certification? "For certification, it's a minor adjustment. For formulation, it's a big adjustment because salt is the cheapest of preservatives and flavoring agents," says Dr. Chaudry. "Its use has, therefore, increased. So companies have to add something else to replace the salt. The formula changes as a result of these additions and will need to be re-submitted as a new product formula," says Dr. Chaudry.
Labeling, he says, too is impacted. "Ingredients and nutrition labels change and these have be approved by either the USDA or internally by the manufacturers themselves. It's an opportunity to add a halal logo, if the product meets halal certification standards, since labels are being redone." As for whether the cost of these 'new, NSRI-friendly' products would be impacted, Dr. Chaudry noted that they could rise incrementally.
First International Halal Conference on Cosmetics and Toiletries
Kuala Lumpur, April 13 and 14 - The first international conference on halal cosmetics and toiletries is to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 13-14 April. According to event organizers, Asif International, the emerging halal cosmetics and toiletries sector has enormous potential given that Muslims comprise approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide.
The event is being held at the Matrade Exhibition and Conference Centre in Kuala Lumpur, and is intended for every segment of the halal cosmetics industry including manufacturers, distributors and certification agencies. A mini exhibition will run alongside the conference program, where companies will showcase items such as fragrances, skincare and raw ingredients.
Attendees will discuss the global market for halal cosmetics and toiletries, including its future trends and R&D activities. In addition, current standards and certification for this market will be examined as proposed by JAKIM.
The two-day event kicks off with a session discussing cosmetics as the next emerging halal sector, and includes presentations on identifying halal ingredients, how to market end products, and a case study of the development of UK brand, Saaf Pure Skincare.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Increases UK Halal Outlets to 74
Calling it their 'halal trial', KFC has increased the number of its outlets around the UK offering a halal menu in seventy-three locations. These are listed on their websites and are in locations where halal would positively impact the bottom line. Meat used at these facilities is certified by the Halal Food Authority. The company can be lauded for making its position on halal, and the definitions of halal that they adhere to, public on their website: http://www.kfc.co.uk/about-kfc/halal/.
Meals-on-Wheels Offers Halal in Dearborn, Michigan
Dearborn, MI - In a huge step forward for the Muslim Community, ACCESS Social Services Department and the Senior Alliance Area Agency on Aging 1-C have joined hands with the Muslim community to bring halal food to Muslim residents as part of Meals-on-Wheels, a program targeted to seniors. Meals-on-Wheels has chapters throughout the United States and food is delivered to people ages 60 and older who qualify. Donations are suggested although the meals are free.
According to a local news report, "ACCESS is trying to create awareness in the senior community of the services available to them, keeping in mind the cultural sensitivity factor," said Social Services Director Amne Talab, who is an appointed State Commissioner on Services to the Aging. "The Senior Alliance was instrumental in identifying the funding for this unique program and helping us identify a company to provide the halal food," she said.
Halal in the Media : Army Times Features Halal MRE’s
Mary Anne Jackson, an IFANCA client, and President of Deerfield Illinois based J & M Food Products Company, was quoted in an article for Army Times, discussing its My Own Meals and J & M brands of halal meals that the company has been providing for Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military since 1996. It also makes its halal meals for grocery stores, universities and prisons.
According to the report, "the meals are not always easy for the troops to locate when their unit is deploying rapidly and has no inventory. In some cases, soldiers and their relatives have contacted Miss Jackson directly to locate or order meals." "For the most part, there are… halal meals in theater at all times," responded Mary Ann Jackson. "If someone tells you there aren't, they're wrong. They're in Kuwait, they're in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Afghanistan. They're everywhere."
Abdenour Moussawi, an inspector with the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, supervises halal food production at J & M Foods Products Company facilities. Moussawi inspects equipment for cleanliness and supervises halal production. J & M Food Products Company purchases meat from halal butchers in California, Washington, Iowa and New Jersey, where Muslim butchers must invoke the name of Allah as the animals are slaughtered.
In 2006, Pepsi and Coke agreed to stop selling sugary drinks in U.S. Schools.
In 2009 the California legislature passed a measure that would have required child-care centers to serve only low-fat or skim milk and to limit sugar and deep-fried foods. This move was agreed upon by Governor Schwarzenegger.
The packaged foods industry has started replacing high fructose corn syrup with sugar, as an ingredient, despite the higher cost of sugar.
Frozen Foods Are Popular in Shrinking Economic Environment
What started out as a special request from the Malaysian government for halal beef, in 1992, today is a company that pioneered processed halal foods - Al Safa Halal. With the US economy in distress, eating out has reduced and sales of frozen food products has spiked. Al Safa's many frozen food products have found even more eager shoppers. Widely distributed to many grocery stores and foodservice operations throughout North America, its product line has grown to include entrees with chicken, turkey, beef, fish, pizza, samosa and falafel. Its continued success is based upon the guiding principles of halal and the quality of its products. Muslim butchers perform slaughter in accordance with IFANCA standards. All facilities are government inspected and HACCP approved. All ingredients and all procedures are halal approved and independently monitored by IFANCA inspectors.
Springfield Smoked Fish Company Offers Select Halal Certified Products
Springfield Smoked Fish Company in Springfield, MA which has roots in Eastern Europe, has more than three dozen fish products, most of which are now halal certified. While fish itself is halal, certification is needed when manufacturers add certain ingredients like food colors, food flavors, smoke flavors, antioxidants, etc in the processing of their products. Run by the Axler family for three generations, Springfield Smoked Fish Company products are created using recipes the company’s founders brought with them. Distributed nationwide under both the Springfield and Axler's brand names, their halal-certified products are also available for purchase online. Focusing on quality, they use smoke that is produced directly underneath the fish using real wood fires rather than liquid smoke which can leave a bitter after taste. The company uses real spices and very few preservatives as part of their ingredients. Other fish factories date the shelf life of their pickled herring for one year but Springfield Smoked Fish Company has a six month expiry date, demonstrating limited use of preservatives. For quality halal smoked fish, look no further.
World Choice Foods Serves Up Halal and Healthy BREKfish Breakfast Strips – Delicious & Permissible
BREKfish, a delicious new product, is an all-natural, gluten free, pure fish product, containing nothing artificial and no preservatives. Five simple ingredients, wild caught Pacific Salmon, sea salt, 100% Vermont maple syrup, organic canola oil and real hard wood smoke, are hand crafted to produce BREKfish. Packaged in recycled cardboard, printed with water-based ink, and complete with a recyclable poly liner, the manufacturers of BREKfish have total respect for the environment. BREKfish Salmon enjoys IFANCA halal certification, is permissible for Muslims and can be enjoyed for breakfast, on a sandwich or as a snack!