Concern over accuracy of halal labelling

01st May 2014 - Fine Cut

The use of the term halal on products in the UK may be inaccurate in some cases, it has been suggested.

According to the Halal Food Foundation (HFF), more should be done to ensure that labelling of this kind is correct, with many companies thought to be self-certifying.

The body stated there could be a widespread problem with misuse of the word halal on labels and wants to see the industry play a greater role in ensuring that businesses meet the requirements of halal certification.

Under the terms of halal certification by recognised bodies, the whole production process should be approved, as well as all additives and ingredients in the products, including fats, cheese, oils, yeast, E-numbers and emulsifiers.

Halal Food Authority (HFA) chief executive Saqib Mohammed explained: "We at the HFA strongly discourage the use of self-certification and will consumers to seek further information to unveil probable misrepresentation or abuse of the term halal."

In an article about halal food labelling for the HFF, the organisation's information officer Zena Butt stated it is not simply the method used to slaughter an animal that determines whether or not a product is halal, but rather "the entire production process of the product in question" must be looked at "from start to finish".

She advised consumers to ask questions and challenge self-certified halal products, pointing out that social networking means that it is easier than ever to make informed decisions.

A registered UK charity, the HFF aims to educate people about halal and make the concept more accessible.

The body notes there is a growing demand for halal-compliant products in the UK, with Muslims now representing 4.8 per cent of the population.

Many labels currently feature the Arabic halal but do not mention any recognised certification body or carry a logo demonstrating the product has been independently accredited as 100 per cent halal.

Speaking at the 12th Muslim News Awards in London last month, prime minister David Cameron declared: "Halal is safe in Britain."

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