Call to take on Halal fraudsters
Expert calls on Middle Eastern governments to address increasing fraudulent certification.
An industry expert has called on Middle Eastern governments to address the increasing incidence of fraudulent Halal food certification.
Jalel Aossey, director of North American Halal food producer Midamar, claimed “about 95%” of American products found in the region’s supermarkets were “the same products that you see in US supermarkets”.
“Somehow, on the way from the US to the Middle East, these products magically become Halal. Consumers are no doubt becoming more aware of this reality and want to know what is being done to protect their religious beliefs,” said Aossey.
“In the US there is no regulation of Halal certification — anyone can get hold of a good printer and turn out a certificate that looks genuine.
“It’s all too easy for [corrupt certifiers] to operate in an unregulated industry.
“Credible certifiers send slaughter teams and auditors to production plants to check processes are Halal compliant. There’s a cost to do so, therefore they charge more,” he continued.
“Exporters, rather than the manufacturers approach the corrupt certifiers, acquire Halal certification, put Arabic labels on the product and ship it to the Middle East. The manufacturer may not have a clue where the product ends up or more important that their products are being misrepresented as Halal,” Aossey said.
“On one side you have producers who genuinely don’t know what they have to comply with because of a lack of education from the industry. But you also have companies and exporters that are deliberately defrauding governments and consumers…because they don’t want to pay.”
Aossey suggested that the solution was to build cooperation between regional governments and active certifiers in the Middle East.
“People have to realise that it is not impossible — and neither is it too costly — to put the correct Halal standards in place,” he asserted.
“Inspection teams can be sent to the various countries where food is being produced to allow it to be inspected, at that country’s cost.
“This is nothing when you consider the huge dollar volume of food products exported to the UAE and other Gulf countries.”