The Uttar Pradesh government’s move to ban products with a halal tag has sparked a row. A notification issued by the Yogi Adityanath government has prohibited the production, storage, distribution and sale of food products with halal certification. This order, however, exempts products manufactured for export.
Here’s a look at Halal certification and UP’s ban
What Is Halal?
Halal is an Arabic word meaning “permissible”. Within the sphere of the Islamic belief system, it is a binary opposite to “haram”, which means “forbidden”. For Muslims, Halal mostly relates to dietary habits, especially the processing of meat. Several kinds of cosmetics and medicines are also considered prohibited because they contain by-products of animals Muslims are barred from consumption.
What’s Forbidden, What’s Not?
Pork is the only meat specifically forbidden by the Quran. But for an animal meat to pass the halal check, it also needs to be processed and stored in accordance with Islamic law. The criteria for halal meat includes the manner of the animal’s death. Vegetarian dishes are generally considered halal unless they contain alcohol. The prohibition extends to cosmetics and medicines, many of which contain animal by-products. There is an exception, though. A Muslim can consume a non-halal food item only if “compelled by necessity – neither driven by desire nor exceeding immediate need”, meaning that a person who may otherwise starve to death is permitted to eat non-halal food.
How’s Halal Meat Different?
Multiple global bodies involved in the supervision and certification of Halal products lay down guidelines for the criteria for a food item to be considered halal. Department of Halal Certification EU, an Irish certification body working in Europe, says the animal must be alive at the time of slaughter to qualify as halal meat. Apart from several other criteria in terms of the method to slaughter, the rules also state that only an animal slaughtered by a sane adult Muslim would be halal, meaning that meat processed by a non-Muslim would be haram. Animals slaughtered in machines don’t qualify either.
Halal Certification In India
India does not have a mandatory halal certification system and no specific labelling requirements for halal food products imported into India. Some private companies give out halal certification, marking products permissible. These organisations are recognised by the importing countries. The commerce ministy said earlier this year that meat products will be allowed to be exported as ‘halal certified’ only only if they are processed and packaged in a facility that has a certificate by a body accredited by a board of Quality Council of India.
What’s Behind The UP Halal Ban
The UP government’s order says halal certification of food products is a parallel system that creates confusion and is not tenable under Section 89 of Food Law Food Safety and Standards Act, the order said. “The right to decide the quality of food items lies only with the authorities and institutions given in Section 29 of the said Act, who check the relevant standards as per the provisions of the Act”, it added.
It said that certain medicines, medical devices, and cosmetic products are reported to feature the Halal certificate on their packaging or labelling when there are “no provisions for marking Halal certification on labels in the government rules related to drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics”
The UP government’s order follows a complaint that alleged a potential conspiracy to ensure lower sales of products that do not have a halal certificate. This, the complaint, alleged was harming business interests of other communities. Such a malicious attempt not only seeks unfair financial benefits by issuing Halal certificates for items meant for common citizens but also forms part of a pre-planned strategy to sow class hatred, create divisions in society, and weaken the country, the complaint said.
One of the bodies named in the complaint, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust, termed the allegations “baseless” and said it will take “necessary legal measures”. “We adhere to government regulations, as emphasised in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry notification, requiring all halal certification bodies to be registered by NABCB (National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies under Quality Council of India), a milestone that Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind Halal Trust has achieved,” it said.
(This story is auto generated from a syndicated feed. Symbels Journal staff is not involved in its creation.)