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.
IFANCA held the 9th International Halal Food Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA this year on April 23-24. Attendees began arriving on the 22nd and they were treated to a guided trolley tour of downtown Chicago and a special visit to the "Body Worlds 2" exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry before attending the Community Dinner with other attendees, presenters, IFANCA staff and the local Halal consuming community.
It was a beautiful day for sight seeing with clear skies and temperatures in the 70's. The tour left the Conference Center in Skokie at 11 am and headed for downtown Chicago. After moving through the downtown area, past City Hall, Marina Towers, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, the State of Illinois Building and other sites, the tour made its way past Soldier Field, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium, where it stopped for a photo opportunity. Many pictures were taken with Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. Then it was back on the trolley for a ride through Hyde Park and the Museum of Science and Industry. After a quick lunch, the attendees toured the museum and the Body Worlds 2 exhibit. After that, it was back to the Hotel to freshen up and prepare for the Community Banquet where over 200 guests enjoyed a Halal meal and applauded as awards were presented to Industry members for their service to the Halal community.
On Monday morning the Conference was in full swing. Monday's program opened with a recitation from the Noble Quran delivered by Dr. Jaafar Al Quadri, IFANCA Religious Advisor. Next, Dr. Muhammad Chaudry, President of IFANCA, welcomed the attendees and set the tone for the Conference. The speakers for the first session were Dr. Kristen Gray of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company whose topic was Gum and Confectionary Products – Meeting the needs of the Halal Consumer and K. Sukomaran, Director of the Malaysian industrial Development Authority whose topic was Halal Food Opportunities in Malaysia.
After a short coffee break where attendees got to know each other a little better, the second session began. Dr. Mohamed Sadek, Chairman of the Islamic Food Council of Europe and a Director of IFANCA opened the session and spoke about Globalization of Halal Food Certification – Opportunities, Challenges and Experiences. He was followed by Shahlan Hairalah, Head of Halal Certification International for MUIS whose topic was Developing Singapore as a Vibrant Halal market; Lokman Bin Abdul Rahman, Assistant Director of the Reviews and Certification Department or Jakim whose topic was Malaysia’s Halal Import Requirements and Enforcement and Masood Khawaja, President of the Halal Food Authority (UK) whose topic was UK and the Global Picture of Meat Certification.
After a light lunch and break for noon prayers, the third session began with Mary Anne Jackson, President of J&M Food Products Company discussing The Real World of Halal – Halal from the Manufacturer’s Viewpoint; Mark Overland, Corporate Certification Manager for Cargill Incorporated speaking about Halal Growth and Learning at Cargill; Saad Asrar, Food Scientist for IFANCA, discussing the Complexities and Challenges in the Product Review Process and Suzann Audi, Food Scientist for IFANCA, reviewing Increasing Efficiency/Preparing for Product and Ingredient Review.
After another break, session four began with Dr. Mian Riaz, Head of the Extrusion Technology Program and Director of the Food Protein Research and Development Center at Texas A&M University discussing Halal Food Trade and Opportunities. Dr. Riaz was followed by Liliana Totoiu, Coordinator Halal & Kosher Certification program for Access Business Group, LLC, whose topic was Reaching out to the Muslim Consumer and Chef Demetrios, Corporate Executive Chef for Kontos Foods, Inc., presenting The Evolution of Flatbread: From Ancient Egypt to Today – A Multi-Sensory Presentation.
With ample time to relax and freshen up, the formal evening concluded with dinner and a chance for attendees to relax and interact.
Tuesday morning brought everyone together again for another set of sessions. Eric Butrym, Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs for Firmenich, Inc., kicked off session five with a talk titled Who is Supplying Your Suppliers? – Insuring the Halal Status of Flavors and Ingredients. Eric was followed by Roger M. Othman, IFANCA Webmaster, answering the question What Do Halal Consumers Want?; Dan Schweiker, Chairman, CEO and Founder of China Mist Tea Company, presenting Halal Selling Opportunities for the Small and Medium Sized Food Producer and Dr. Ata Al Baroudi, President of the Food Safety Institute, International, with a presentation titled Ozone: The Organic Silver Bullet for Food Safety and Profit.
After a short break, the final session of the Conference began with Dr. Ravindra Kumar, Technical Director for Danisco (India) Pvt. Ltd., discussing Danisco India’s Role in the Implementation and Standardization of HAACP Guidelines; Jessica Dermer, Business Development Coordinator for the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, speaking about Export Promotion Resources and Dr. Sabir Ali, IFANCA, with a presentation titled Preparing for a Successful Halal Audit/Inspection.
The conference was closed by Dr. Quadri offering a supplication for the attendees and for world peace and Dr. Chaudry thanking the attendees and attendees for making the Conference a continued success. Recognition awards were presented to all the speakers at the end of each session. Everyone was invited to lunch before dispersing and returning to their various destinations.
The attendees to the conference included IFANCA officers and staff, Industry representatives from around the world, international Halal certifiers, government and trade representatives and business people. Both companies producing Halal certified products and others interested in learning about Halal and considering Halal certification attended. As indicated by the topics discussed, information on what it takes to produce Halal certified products, as well as what Halal consumers are looking for (domestically and internationally) and the growth opportunities in the Halal market was presented. Ample opportunity for questions and answers was provided and ideas and experiences were exchanged.
IFANCA thanks the presenters and the attendees for their interest in Halal and their active participation in the Conference. We look forward to continuing to work with those already committed to Halal food production and we stand ready to serve those of you looking to claim your share of the growing Halal certified product market.
Have a craving for Quiche or Brownies? Check out IFANCA Halal certified, Love and Quiches. Susan Axelrod set up shop in her small family kitchen thirty years ago. Today, her company Love and Quiches operates out of a 65,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility and is synonymous not only with quiche, but also with her carefully selected, handcrafted line of desserts.
Her line of desserts began as a simple request from a loyal customer for pecan pie – one with that special home-baked taste her quiches were known for. Using all-natural ingredients, including real butter and Georgia pecans, Susan developed her now famous recipe, baked the pies and then froze them to capture the just-baked flavor her customers requested.
Products are distributed throughout the U.S. as well as much of the Middle East and segments of Asia. Love and Quiches Desserts Director of International Sales, Mr. Elias Sejean, has offices in Dubai and is focused on expanding distribution of Love and Quiches Desserts throughout the world. To learn more about the company's delicious cakes and quiches, visit www.loveandquiches.com. While the website is directed at foodservice professionals, there is a link on the home page to a mail order site with a select group of products available directly to consumers.
Mangosteen Juices By Xango Now Halal Certified
Mangosteen, a popular fruit in Indonesia and Malaysia, is known as the Queen of Fruits. XanGo LLC has captured the goodness and delicious taste of Mangosteen, in their newly IFANCA Halal certified drink, Xango.
The Utah based company is a recognized category creator as the first company to market a premium Mangosteen beverage, XanGoTM Juice, to consumers worldwide. XanGo's expansive operations include the United States and numerous international markets such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada. For more information on XanGo and XanGoTM Juice, visit www.xango.net.
With more corn being used for ethanol production, corn prices have more than doubled from their decade-long average price of $2 a bushel. Corn being the primary feed for cattle, rising prices leave cattle owners with no choice but to hike up the price of milk and meat.
In an interview with The Denver Post, Cindy Haren, Chief Executive of the Thornton-based Western Dairy Farmers' Promotion Association, stated that, "the average price of milk rose 19 percent in the spring of 2004, milk purchases declined less than 4 percent." A gallon of whole milk at the supermarket is expected to cost almost $3.35 in the USA by October 2007, vs. $3.07 in January, according to Ken Bailey, an agricultural economist at Penn State University who specializes in the dairy industry. Meat prices will probably follow suit.
No doubt the international market will feel the burn too, given the growing demand for skim-milk powder, dry whey and whey protein concentrates, all of which exported for food manufacture and feeding programs in regions including the Middle East, Asia and Africa. IFANCA Halal certified companies like DariGold, Glanbia, KRAFT, Hoogewegt, Saputo and others will see the price hikes at least in the near future. "However, as more acreage is planted under corn in the years to come, the prices of diary ingredients will stabilize," said Diane Lewis of the USA Dairy Export Council.
Thanks so much for being so incredibly helpful during the preparation of the Halal piece. The American edition piece ( in Forbes magazine) is out on newsstands now, I believe, and the Asian edition--a longer version--closes this week.
I do hope I can stay in touch, and perhaps tap you again for your deep expertise? I'm hoping to do more pieces on Muslim consumers in the future...
Thank-you for allowing me to attend the IFANCA Halal Conference. The information that I learned over the two days was exactly what I needed to be able to work with the Carl's Jr. suppliers for Malaysia. It was a pleasure to meet both of you and Dr. Chaudry in person.
Karen Reel Director, Franchise Services, CKE International
Halal Law Getting Closer To Enforcement In Illinois
Department of Agriculture (DOA), State of Illinois, held a public hearing meeting on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Ms. Margaret Vandijk, General Counsel of DOA, and Dr. Colleen O'Keefe, Division Manager of DAO conducted the proceedings. More than sixty concerned Muslim Illinoisians participated in the meeting. An overwhelming majority of the participants testified in favor of the implementation of the Halal Food Law.
The Chicago Tribune, on April 23, published an article on the move, titled "Muslims in quandary over state food law", which included an interview with IFANCA President, Dr. Muhammad Chaudry.
The interview can be read here (registration required).