South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)
The Role of a Halaal Certifying Body  
APRIL 2011 : Jumaadal Ulaa 1432

Though at times misunderstood, the role of a Halaal certifying is both crucial and paramount. Moreover this role becomes mandatory where Muslims, in a particular area, are in the minority. It acts as a filter between compliance and obedience to Islamic law which is the main concern of every practicing Muslim.

For the consumer, the benefits of halaal certification is clear in the knowledge that the product is Halaal-certified by a reputable , trustworthy organisation. The consumer can purchase the product with the assurance that it does not contain anything that is Haraam (forbidden) or doubtful.

The producer too derives obvious benefits such as expert reviewing of products, ingredients, preparation, processing, hygiene, sanitation procedures and the general supervision and monitoring of the supply chain. The certification provides an independent third party quality assurance step valued by conscientious consumers and a leverage into the burgeoning global Halaal market. In fact the Halaal aspect is now being accepted as a quality system worldwide that appeals to both Muslims and non-Muslims as well.

A demonstration of this was New Zealand becoming the first non-Muslim country to win the service provider award at the World Halal Forum in Malaysia a fortnight ago.

With globalization and flow of goods into countries, advances in sciences in the preservation of foods requiring use of enzymes and new technologies, consumers cannot rely on product names, reputations and ingredient listings couched in “trade linguistics” for Halaal assurances. Government departments have their own respective functions and mandates on regulations most of which do not include Halaal certification. It is a hazardous minefield of complexities requiring knowledge and expertise at a high level.

Therefore the role of a Halaal certifying body cannot be emphasized enough. There are literally hundreds of certifying organizations worldwide serving their respective communities. SANHA welcomes them all in the service of Islam.

In exercising your freedom of choice in selecting your Halaal service provider, a critical examination of the integrity of the organization, the bona fides of its membership, its track record, sincerity, dedication and integrity of its officials will help with your choice.

The following are some of the questions for your evaluation:

  1. Is Halaal certification the only dedicated activity of the organization?
  2. Does the organization hold Annual General Meetings open to the public, and has one been held in the last 12 months?
  3. Does it publish its financial statements for public viewing?
  4. Does it publish its licensing fee structure?
  5. Does it publish its list of all Halaal certified establishments together with their contact details?
  6. Is it broadly represented?
  7. Does it have logistical support in all regions where it issues Halaal certification?
  8. Is it easily accessible to the consumer?
  9. Is it aligned at a Global level with other International Halaal certification bodies?
  10. Is the Muslim consumer’s need, the core of its activity?
  11. Does it have a strong Theological base?

Halaal certification – The need to heed


The SANHA offices will be closed between 22nd April 2011 and 2nd May 2011.

Our helpline service will operate between 09h00 and 12h00 on the 26th, 28th, and 29th April 2011.

Helpline - 0861 786 111


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