To achieve goal of Halal around the world, Muslim community have to act together.
by Dr Huseyin Kami Büyüközer
Conferences, exhibitions and seminars are held in Muslim and non-Muslim countries to spread the word on Halal certification and to awaken Muslims to the availability of Halal certified products. The same goes for GIMDES Halal Products Research Institute in Turkey.
GIMDES recently held the 4th International Halal Food and Healthy Products Conference in Istanbul. Twenty esteemed scholars from different countries gave lectures on various topics. Concurrently with the conference, the 2nd International Halal and Healthy Products Exhibition also took place, which actually proved that the market of Halal food and products has expanded for the last few years. Moreover, the 9th Annual General Meeting of the WHC (World Halal Council) was held after the conference. These important events about Halal certification and Halal products will enable the Ummah to open their eyes.
The industrial age affected all businesses and facilitated the lives of people. However, now everything is so industrialized in developed countries that people have started to consume foods that are prepared by fully automated factories of giant food companies. These so called foods are ready-made, often times already cooked and they are complex mixtures of chemical processes instead of natural products. In a way, we can consider such foods to be synthetic. Consumers who are always bombarded by advertisements in the media have no choice but to consume these ‘plastic’ foods.
The food industry is under the control and management of the Western countries. This includes design, machinery, system integration and raw materials as well.
Almost all food factories in Islamic countries have been producing margarines, biscuits, chocolates, candies, cokes and other sodas based on recipes taken from the West and even under the supervision of foreigners.
As if this captivity weren’t enough, GMOs (Genetically Modified Products) have spread all over the world.
Muslim has to account for every single bite that he takes; so what can he do now? Should he close his eyes and go on eating whatever he is served? Or should he feel responsible and take care about what he consumes? More importantly, should he continue to sleep or should he wake up, and try to break the chains with which he is bound?
These questions so pertinent to Muslim Ummah are now answered by the Halal certification systems.
We see a growing demand for Halal certified products. Malaysia, Indonesia and some Middle East countries require Halal certificates for food imports. Muslims living in non-Muslim countries increasingly show their preference for Halal certified products. We now see that Halal certified products corners are being provided by almost all retailers in UK, Germany, France and other European countries.
A 9 billion dollar market is available in the UK, another 7.5 billion dollar market in France and a total of a 70 billion dollar market in Europe.
Estimates suggest a potential 850 billion dollar market for Halal certified food for the whole world, and if you count all services, a huge potential 2.1 trillion dollar market is quite possible. Now many European businessmen are busy in trying to get shares of this very lucrative and ever-growing market.
Current Halal products trade is actually only 10% of the total potential. One main reason for not covering the whole trade is that the markets and products of many Muslim countries are very simple and can’t be traded internationally.
Many products of Muslim countries have bad packaging, have no internationally recognized brands or don’t have consistent supplies.
Halal certified products don’t have international standards in reliability, packaging and labelling. Halal food systems are not based on integrity and conformity.
Many Muslims are not aware of what they consume and often times they don’t even question whether what they eat is halal or not.
Because of the aforementioned reasons, foods and products consumed by Muslims remain under the supervision of non-Muslims, and they take advantage of Muslim Ummah by controlling the food industry economically, biologically and culturally.
To have Halal integrity; unions, trade companies, producers and NGOs must work together and meet on a common base. Producers must work on the quality and working systems and upgrade their standards. To increase awareness in the public and to educate people, media and NGOs must work in close cooperation.
Then Muslims can achieve one voice full unity in Halal market.