@Halal May/Jun 2020 - Page 6

06 Foreign News @Halal | may-june. 2020 Imaan at a price One cannot ignore the reality of unscrupulous operators HIA participates in Gulfood 2020 in Dubai The Halal International Authority (HIA) has participated in the largest annual food, beverage and hospitality industry Fair in the Middle East, GULFOOD, in Dubai on Feb 16-20. HIA president, Dr Mohamed Elkafrawy, met with representatives of the Emirates Standard and Metrology Authority (ESMA), who gave president the certificate of renewal of HIA’s registration as a Halal Certification Body accredited by the Gulf Accreditation Centres (GAC) and recognised by ESMA for the Halal certification of products and services to be exported to United Arab Emirates (UAE). At the big fair, among the primary exhibitors in the Pavilion Italia were leading companies certified Halal by HIA such as Ambrosi, Laped, CaseificioAlbiero, IGOR, Acetificio M. De Nigris, Sorì Italia and Menz & Gasser. It was an important meeting between the world players in the sector that favoured unrivalled opportunities for the development of international Halal business to Italian brands. Halal certifications for healthy eating Have you ever wondered why most Muslim and non-Muslim countries are constantly seeking Halal certification on food products? The consumer nowadays tries to follow a regular and correct diet for physical and moral well-being. In response to this need, the goal of the Halal certification body Halal International Authority (HIA) is to bring healthy, ethical and sustainable food to the consumer's table. The products we consume every day condition our physical health and our mind as the title of Feuerbach’s famous work “Man is what he eats" says, so the consumer is constantly looking for Halal certified products that guarantee and protect food from pollution that December is the world’s great vacation and travel time, the season of the “thirteenth cheque“, bonuses and exchanging of gifts. From local short hops to holiday resorts through intercontinental travel, pilgrimages or exploring exotic destinations, people are on the move fuelling rampant consumer spending. The airline, hospitality, retail, restaurant and food service industries along with others vie for this lucrative market. It is during these heady times when travellers far from their creature comforts of home encounter difficulties. Thirsty, hungry and fatigued, travellers can inadvertently succumb by allowing their guard to slip with compromises of faith which they ordinarily would not accept. This is the time when we would eat a margherita/vegetable pizza at a non Halal pizzeria, eat grilled prawns/seafood at a non Halal restaurant which may even be using wine in fish marinade or glibly accepting the assurance of the waiter who claims that our chickens are Halal although pork is prepared in the same kitchen etc. Into this medley, one cannot ignore the reality of the unscrupulous operators who wish to capitalise on the season’s bounties through any means possible, questionable or fraudulent. In the last two weeks we have witnessed two establishments misrepresenting themselves as being certified Halaal by SANHA. Different standards apply in different countries. While locals in some places may find it acceptable to partake of meals in restaurants that serve alcohol and some of these restaurants could even hold a Halal certificate of some unscrupulous local body, remember that this is taboo in terms of the Shari’ah. Do not take anything for granted and never compromise on the important aspect of Imaan. The golden rule is ask, and ask again, but if in doubt, leave it out. As an analogy one would never make the important purchase of a home or motor vehicle without seeking advice, undertaking proper research and securing guarantees to minimise your risks since you will be investing a large chunk of your hard-earned wealth and savings for the acquisition. Extras at the vendors’ premises such as provision of ablution and salaah facilities, a purdah section, adorning of the walls with Islamic calligraphy and the salesperson adorning Islamic attire while commendable are not the sole factors in influencing your decision to undertake the purchase. They are complementary factors that are subservient to the value and assurance propositions. When such vigilance is exercised on a material item of this temporal abode, then how much more caution needs to be maintained in upholding our Imaan for salvation into the eternal Hereafter that one spends a lifetime striving for? No Compromise – Imaan Is Priceless. often leads to a diet that is harmful to our health.” Halal-certified products are controlled according to the standards in accordance with the dictates of the Islamic Shariah doctrine according to international Halal standards. Shortfall in income due to Olympics postponement Countries exporting halal could suffer a shortfall of around $3 billion due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the COVID-19, with Malaysia taking a $200 million hit. The July-to-August spectacle had taken centrestage amid efforts to promote halal certification in Japan and encourage Malaysian exporters to open up a market of over 125 million, mostly non-Muslims. Malaysia had organised roadshows and seminars to tempt halal food, cosmetics and fashion manufacturers to start opening up export channels to Japan. At the same time, the country has seen a surge of halal certification bodies. Malaysian certifier JAKIM currently recognises seven of these, while a number of others are accredited by other bodies. According to rudimentary calculations based on visitor numbers and average spend, the global halal industry will see an overall loss in expected income of $3 billion from Japan this year, mainly on the back of tourists now not attending the Games. Relative to an anticipated 25 per cent growth in halal exports to Japan this year, to $800 million, Malaysia stands to be forced to put this $200 million in additional trade on ice until next year. Though the figures at this stage are just estimates, they tend to ring true, according to one of the leading figures in the effort to open up Japan to Malaysian halal exporters. “That could be a reasonable number, as long as these companies would have been using the right strategy,” Yokoyama Shinya, co-founder of Tokyobased Food Diversity, told Salaam Gateway. For the last two years ahead of the Olympics, Yokoyama has been advising Malaysian companies that have shown an interest in the Japanese market how to do business there. He has worked alongside HDC to promote halal in Japan across a number of workshops and seminars in Malaysia. “The whole halal community was disappointed to hear that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not going to be held. But luckily, they are only being postponed,” he added. Companies should take this time in lockdown to build robust strategies in time for the coronavirus pandemic to die down and export markets to reemerge, if only they can stay liquid for that time. The delay will also give more time to companies that had planned to start exporting to Japan ahead of the Olympics but were still not ready to do so by the time the Games announcement was made.