Halal Certification Requirements
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In contrast to Halal, Haram means forbidden. Haram designates prohibited objects such as food products and actions.
The following food products or nutritional elements are considered to be Haram:
- Pork meat and all food products which contain elements of pork meat
- Alcohol and food products with alcoholic components
- Meat from animals that died of natural causes
- Meat from carnivorous animals
- Blood and its by-products
- Meat from animals that have not been slaughtered according to the Islamic norms
- Meat and meat products from predators with fangs
- Meat and meat products from raptors with claws
Examples of Quran verses concerning nutrition:
Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and those animals killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you are able to slaughter before its death, and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and prohibited is that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. (5:3)
He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. (2:173)
Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist? (5:91)
O you who have believed, fulfil all contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you - hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends. (5:1)
The Hanafi. Built upon the teachings of the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa and also named after him, the fiqh with the largest number of followers, predominant in the countries of the former Ottoman Empire, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, and also the Balkans.
The Maliki. Predominant in North African and West African countries, named after the Medinese jurist Malik ibn Anas, whose work named 'Al Muwatta' (The frequently confirmed) is held as the foundational text of the Maliki school.
The Hanbali. The smallest Sunni Islamic school, based on the teachings and works of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, an Islamic scholar. His most known work, named 'Al-Musnad,' is a collection of approximately 30,000 Hadiths; the school is predominant in Saudi Arabia and some countries in the Persian Gulf area, which are mainly influenced by Saudi Arabia.
The Shafi'i. Predominant in South-East Asia and East Africa, based on the Islamic jurist Muhammad ibn Idrīs asch-Schāfiʿī, whose most important work named 'Risala,' analyses the methods of the jurisprudence and the principles of the school.
There are also recognized Shia law schools.
The Ja'fari. The oldest Islamic law school, based on Dschaʿfar as-Sādiq, an imam and scholar. The adherents of the law school are also known as the Twelvers. The school is predominant in Iran and also some parts of Iraq.
The different views on sea animals is one topic that shows us the differences between the law schools. The adherents of the Hanafi law school believe that not all sea animals are allowed for human consumption. They base their view on the Islamic Catechism, which indicates that only sea fish are allowed for consumption. Other sea animals, like crabs and mussels, are forbidden.
Fish, Fruits, and vegetables in their natural state are also considered to be Halal.
However, the Halal status can be questioned if ethanol is being used during the processing or if the alcoholic fermentation is already in process.
- The aim of the Islamic regulations regarding slaughter is to end the animal's life in a sympathetic, quick, and painless manner.
- The slaughter always has to be held in the name of Allah since the animal is also God's creature. In this way, we ask God for his permission.
- The knife needs to be sharpened.
- During the slaughter, the cervical arteries, the jugular veins, and the trachea of the animal have to be cut through with one incision. The aim is to let as much blood as possible flow out of the body. The spinal column can be cut through once the skin is removed, and the body is opened.
- Every practicing Muslim, who is trained in the slaughter and knows the Islamic law, can carry out the slaughter.
- Islamic slaughter is viewed as a purification process. Therefore, only those animals which are allowed according to Islamic law can be purified in the name of Allah.
- Sea animals are considered to be pure and halal. It is not necessary to slaughter these kinds of animals.
- Islamic slaughter (Zabiha) is forbidden in some European countries.
- The usage of stunning, which does not lead to the death of the animal nor affect the bleeding, is approved by the majority of Muslims. By now, stunning is used in industrial slaughtering all over the world.
- Muslims are required to treat animals with respect and dignity. During the slaughter, much emphasis is placed on ensuring that an animal is not able to see other (slaughtered) animals nor blood. The knife should not be sharpened in front of the animal. Also, the animal should be rested and well-fed before slaughtering.
The Jews, for example, are allowed to consume wine if the wine is produced by a Jew or the production is overlooked by one, whereas Muslims are not allowed to consume nor to sell or possess alcohol or any other foods with elements of it.
Another difference is the way they slaughter and process the meat. Jewish people sprinkle the slaughtered animal with gritty salt in order to draw out the remained blood. They also cut out some fats and hip sinews which will not be consumed later on.
During Passover (Pessach), there are special rules and commandments which only apply for that particular festival. Food and food products that are allowed for consumption during that festival are labeled with a special logo and certificate (Passover certificate).
In Islam, there are always the same restrictions and rules.
If there were non-Kosher substances used on a Kosher production line, there is still a possibility to kosher the production line. A rabbi has to clean the production line with boiled water and cleaning agents.
This possibility does not exist with cross contamination of Halal food with non-Halal food. In this case, the production would have to be stopped.
Also, Jewish people are not allowed to consume milk and meat at the same time. Depending on local customs, milky food may be consumed only about three to six hours after the consumption of meaty food. Vice versa, the waiting period amounts to between one and three hours.
This kind of restriction does not exist in Islam.
Halal Food means food permitted under Islamic Law, and these foods should fulfill the following conditions:
- Does not consist of or contain anything which is considered to be unlawful according to Islamic Law
- Has not been prepared, processed, transported, or stored using any appliance or facility that was not free from anything unlawful according to Islamic Law
- Has not in the course of preparation, processing, transportation, or storage been in direct contact with any food that fails to satisfy 1 and 2 above.
- Notwithstanding Section 1 above: Halal food can be prepared, processed, or stored in different sections or lines within the same premises where non-halal foods are produced, provided that necessary measures are taken to prevent any contact between halal and non-halal foods; halal food can be prepared, processed, transported or stored using facilities which have been previously used for non-halal foods provided that proper cleaning procedures, according to Islamic requirements, have been observed.
Non-permitted Food, Ingredients or Additives
The term halal may be used for foods which are considered lawful. Under the Islamic Law, all sources of food are lawful except the following sources, including their products and derivatives which are considered unlawful (Haram):
Ingredients of Animal Origin
- Pigs and boars.
- Dogs, snakes, and monkeys.
- Carnivorous animals with claws and fangs, such as lions, tigers, bears, and other similar animals.
- Birds of prey with claws, such as eagles, vultures, and other similar birds.
- Pests such as rats, centipedes, scorpions, and other similar animals.
- Animals forbidden to be killed in Islam, i.e., ants, bees, and woodpecker birds.
- Animals that are considered repulsive generally like lice, flies, maggots, and other similar animals.
- Animals that live both on land and in water, such as frogs, crocodiles, and other similar animals.
- Mules and domestic donkeys.
- All poisonous and hazardous aquatic animals.
- Any other animals not slaughtered according to Islamic Law.
Ingredients of Plant Origin
Intoxicating and hazardous plants except where the toxin or hazard can be eliminated during processing.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- All forms of intoxicating and hazardous drinks.
- The person should be a Muslim who is mentally sound and knowledgeable of the Islamic slaughtering procedures.
- The animal to be slaughtered should be lawful according to Islamic law.
- The animal to be slaughtered should be alive or deemed to be alive at the time of slaughtering.
- The phrase "Bismillah" (In the Name of Allah) should be invoked loudly and immediately before the slaughter of each animal.
- The slaughtering device (knife) should be sharp and should not be lifted off the animal during the slaughter act.
- The slaughter act should sever the trachea, esophagus, and main arteries and veins of the neck region.
Preparation, Processing, Packaging, Transportation and Storage
All food should be prepared, processed, packaged, transported and stored in such a manner that it complies with Halal Requirements above and the Codex General Principles on Food Hygiene and other relevant Codex Standards.
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