Manufacturers and exporters are advised to comply with food safety standards for halal food certification to maintain the integrity of products and facilitate and increase trade.
Dr. Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, chief executive officer of Prime Group, said a standard is a document prepared by consensus, approved by a recognized body, contributed by its stakeholders for common and repeated use, and it is voluntary.
“Even if the (food) product has no pork content, no alcohol content or GMO (genetically modified organism), if it has contamination, then you cannot consider it as halal,” she said in mixed English and Filipino in a virtual event. Alvero-Al Mahdi said standards can be regulatory, schemes, or guidelines depending on what standard a receiving country uses. She underscored the important role of standards, technical regulation, guidelines, laws, and directive to maintain the integrity of halal products.
Alvero-Al Mahdi said there is thus a need to comply with the requirements not only of halal but also those on food safety and food security, such as product adulteration, of the host country.
Aside from product specification required by a host country, she said, other countries have specific requirements, such as those concerning the use of additives and labeling. “What are the benefits of food safety and halal standards? It increases the consumer trust on halal, then mutual recognition,” she added. “Then it also increases trade and also helps trade facilitation.”
Alvero-Al Mahdi said standards likewise help for traceability especially for the source of raw materials, whether it is adapted or it will be accepted to the requirement of the halal standard. She said there are also diminishing technical barriers between countries as they have “common understanding” because of the standard.