FAQs

Projected to grow up to $1.6 trillion by 2020 for food only, the global halal industry is more promising today than ever. No wonder businesses and agencies all over the globe are now taking interest in manufacturing, trading or certifying Sharee’a-compliant goods.

The flourishing industry, however, comes with challenges. Every country or accreditation body puts in place a specific set of criteria and standards for a product to be marked as halal, leading to too many halal marks entering the market.

This proliferation of official marks creates a complicated environment for traders in the industry and generates confusion among halal consumers. Traders are behooved to apply for various certifications to expand their business while buyers couldn’t know for sure whether the halal marks in the products they buy are legitimate.The International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) seeks to address these woes by unifying halal standards all over the globe and by forging partnerships among countries to facilitate trade and protect the millions of halal consumers who rely on official marks to achieve an ideal way of living.

For IHAF, continuous and rigorous research and discussions about halal products and systems are vital in supporting the growth of the industry. Studies and publications will be hosted in this website to help you stay abreast of any development.

To better understand halal and the work of IHAF, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below, along with corresponding answers.

Should you have questions of your own, feel free to contact us, anytime.

Derived from the core principles and teachings of Islam, halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible”, with its opposite being haram, “not permissible”.

With all the concerns surrounding halal products, people are likely to believe that halal applies only to the food they eat and the items they patronize—but this is not the case.

Halal is a way of life. From your relationship with God, honoring your mother and father, respecting life, people and the sanctity of your faith, down to keeping your promises—going halal is choosing to be in the right path.
(For more information on halal, click here.)

No, halal products are NOT all food. All other items you use in your daily life may or may not be halal, especially if they contain ingredients derived from animals.

You may view a list of haram animal sources here and a list of halal/not halal non-food products here.

No, halal products can be availed of by anyone. In fact, there’s an increasing number of non-Muslims who prefer halal products considering the series of tests, safety measures and quality control they undergo before being released into the market.
No, food manufacturers cannot be members of IHAF as an individual entity since the membership is mainly composed of accreditation bodies. halal food manufacturers associations, however, are considered Interested Parties. For more information, click
Yes, this is how IHAF supports Interested Parties and facilitates business in the industry.


General

The International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) is an independent, non-government network of accreditation entities mandated to enforce halal standards in their countries and regions. Its aim is to protect the growing number of halal consumers and to facilitate international trade through harmonizing the accreditation practices and standards in the halal field.

It is anchored on the belief that greater cooperation among regional and international organizations is key to creating a Halal industry that is strong, stable, reliable and responsive to the needs of consumers and businesses across the world.

IHAF is headquartered in Dubai, UAE.
IHAF is hosted by the UAE and the initiative is spearheaded by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center (DIEDC) and the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA).
Arising from core Islamic principles and teachings, halal is an Arabic word that means ‘permissible’. Halal is not just about food choices. Halal is a way of life. Choosing halal is choosing right over wrong.

The ground basis for everything halal is, therefore, relatively simple: whatever is good for you is halal.

Haram – meaning ‘non-permissible’ in Islamic principles and teachings.
Avoiding all that is haram according to the Quran will keep you away from harm.
On the contrary, the standardization of requirements, streamlining of operations to expedite processing and harmonizing halal criteria and practices will lead to cheaper halal products in the global market.

IHAF aims to bring confidence back to the halal market and aspire for countries, Islamic or non-Islamic, to be confident that products coming under IHAF network will have fully satisfied Shariah (principle) requirements as well as international safety and quality standards.


Accreditation Bodies

IHAF is established as an initiative by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center (DIEDC) and the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) and it is hosted by the UAE.
IHAF aims at leading worldwide halal accreditation practices by unifying halal criteria and practices all over the globe and by bringing together like-minded authorities which would ease the flow of goods between countries and create a credible halal market that consumers can trust.
Stakeholders benefit from IHAF in various ways.

1. Governments
• Can be assured that the Halal products traded within IHAF sphere have been thoroughly examined and certified based on mutually accepted standards; thus streamlining procedures and minimizing evaluation costs
• Also given the opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties and forge multilateral trade agreements for Halal products
2. Regulators
• Assured that the conformity of assessment bodies are verified and regularly monitored
• Provided with the trusted tools that ensure the safety, quality and Shari’ah-compliance of Halal-marked products within IHAF’s parameters
3. Industry
• Given IHAF’s global reputation of ensuring strictly enforced standards:
° Halal products and systems of an IHAF member country are qualified to circulate within the network and are thus recognized by other member countries
° slaughter houses and manufacturers gain access to the global market by virtue of IHAF’s global reputation and its wide network of Halal accreditation bodies,
° certification and inspection bodies are able to offer their services to other IHAF member countries;and
° accreditation agencies gain confidence as their competencies are widely recognized and meet best global standards

• No, IHAF is global and includes Muslim and Non –Muslim members.
IHAF membership is open to all governmental and nongovernmental entities that work in the field of Halal accreditation and as specified in Article 11 in the bylaw. Full and Participating Membership is open for Accreditation bodies only. While regional groups of accreditation bodies, relevant parties that have objectives similar to, and compatible with IHAF can be an associate member of IHAF.

These parties could consist of Associations of Laboratories and Inspection Entities,
Sharia and Regulatory Authorities, Consumer Associations, Trade Organizations
and Standardization Bodies, National coordinating bodies that handles the
management of accreditation activities in some countries.

A regional cooperation body in the accreditation field that consists of accreditation
bodies representing at least four States with the condition that one of its members holds recognition from IHAF.

An accreditation body interested in becoming a member of IHAF needs to submit a set of documents including a filled and signed application for membership. (To download the application and list of needed documents, click on the link below…).

Halal Accreditation is mainly a process that follows international practices, so no harm of having Non-Muslim members if they are following the same process. Halal is related to Shariah (principle) requirements that forms part of the criteria for evaluation, and if the accreditation body complies with the additional requirements which are mainly having competent Muslims in halal involved in the assessment and decision taking processes, then it shall be able to provide accreditation in halal sector.
• ACCREDIA (Italy)
• American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA-USA)
• American National Standards Institute, International Accreditation Service (ANSI – USA)
• Chamber of Commerce Argentine Emurati (CAMERA – Argentina)
• Dubai Municipality (DAC – Dubai Accreditation Centre)
• Egyptian Accreditation Council (EGAC – Egypt)
• Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ENAS – UAE)
• Entidad Mexicana de Acreditacion (EMA – Mexico)
• Entidad Nacional de Acreditacion (ENAC – Spain)
• Brazil
• GCC Accreditation Centre (GAC) (Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain)
• Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ – Australia – New Zealand)
• Jordanian Accreditation System (JAS – Jordan)
• National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB – India)
• Nemzeti Akkreditáló Hatóság (NAH – Hungary)
• Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC – Pakistan)
• Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB – Philippines)
• Saudi Accreditation Committee (SAC – Saudi)
• The National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (NSC – Thailand)
• United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS – UK)
IHAF has a process of evaluation for all Accreditation bodies regardless of being in a Muslim country or not. The IHAF requirements and rules will be controlled and evaluated by MRA Committee to ensure adherence with IHAF rules, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. The AB could be terminated if:
• the member is found not complying with the rules set down by IHAF
• there is proof that the member has not committed to IHAF bylaw and other supporting regulations set by IHAF; or
the member has not paid the membership fee
Not at all, especially since the fees for the first three years of IHAF membership have been waived and will be sponsored by the UAE starting from the date of establishment of IHAF on May 2016.
The acceptance criteria for CABs’ results depends on the credibility of the accreditation body in halal field which can be insured through full membership in IHAF.
Reports and certificates issued by CABs accredited by IHAF Members who are Signatories of IHAF MRA will be accepted even if the CABs and Non-Muslim entities.
Reports and certificates issued by CABs accredited by AB who are not signatories of IHAF MRA will not be accepted even if the CABs and Muslim entities.
Any accreditation or relevant body interested in having a membership in IHAF needs to submit a set of documents including a filled and signed application for membership. The application form includes the requirements that need to be met for any of the three membership categories set by IHAF. The purpose and benefits for every IHAF member vary per category. (Please refer to this link…).

Applications are evaluated either by IHAF secretary for Associate and Affiliate memberships or by MRA Committee for Full membership. All membership applications shall be approved by IHAF General Assembly.

It will depend on the category of membership, The IHAF General Assembly, headed by the General Secretariat, is composed of full and participating members, which can be classified in three categories. (Please refer to the link…).


Conformity Assessment Bodies

IHAF aims to ensure a global halal market for Muslims by coordinating with standardization bodies for the aim of harmonizing halal standards worldwide, practices and procedures related to halal. Developing conformity assessment systems through R&D while ensuring compliance with Shariah (principle), is the focus, thereby creating a Halal market that consumers can trust.
No, it is not possible. IHAF’s Full and Associate memberships are open for accreditation bodies only, and Associate membership is open for:

– Accreditation bodies,
– Parties that have objectives similar to and compatible with IHAF, e.g. associations of laboratories and inspection entities, Shariah (principle) and regulatory authorities, consumer associations, trade organizations and standardization bodies,
– National coordinating bodies that handle the management of accreditation activities in some countries,
– Regional cooperation bodies in accreditation representing at least four accreditation organizations.


Business Sector

By creating a global network of accreditation entities and putting universal standards in place, IHAF will offer a host of benefits that will ripple through the industry – from the government and the business community down to the public.
IHAF will, therefore, synergize and unify the global halal industry by:
• Coordinating with standardization bodies for the aim of harmonizing halal standards.
• Harmonizing accreditation practices and procedures related to halal and ensure compliance with Shariah (principle) law.
• facilitating mutual recognition between member accreditation bodies in order to promote international halal trade
• developing conformity assessment systems
• supporting members and providing assistance in conformity assessment and access to specialized testing, inspection and certification services
• fostering and nurturing cooperation with like-minded regional and international parties
Identifying products as halal is a process that involves proper quality control. An authentic, certified halal mark is the ultimate determinant of a halal product. But before an official mark is placed on an item, stringent measures are imposed and proper procedures are required.
According to Thomson Reuters’s report, the total expenditure in global halal food and lifestyle sectors was valued at $1.8 trillion in 2014, and this is projected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2020.
Halal audits done by certification bodies is based on ISO 22000 as base however it also has different criteria that suits the product/sector under audit. Slaughtering houses involved in the production process shall be assessed as per technical and Shariah (principle) requirements if they wish to be recognized as halal certified entity.


Government

Upholding the tenets of Shariah (principle) law, IHAF mission is to synergize and harmonize halal accreditation worldwide by unifying halal criteria and practices. The aim is also to generate consensus among the authorities that would ease the flow of goods between countries and to create a halal market that consumers can trust.
• The benefits of joining IHAF are but not limited to the assurance that the halal products traded within the IHAF sphere have been thoroughly examined and certified based on mutually accepted standards; thus streamlining procedures and minimizing evaluation costs.
• To be provided the opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties and forge multilateral trade agreements for halal products
It depends on categories of membership, Article 13 in the bylaw includes Membership requirements, which are as follows:
– Full members are required to provide the following documents as per membership application requirement:
1. Declaration to abide to bylaw and any other supporting documents.
2. Proof that the Accreditation Body is recognized officially in their country as a provider of Accreditation Services.
3. Proof that the Accreditation Body is recognized officially by their regional economies it represents as a provider of Accreditation Services.
4. Proof that the accreditation body is licensed in its country as provider of accreditation services, or obtained and maintained Full membership from ILAC/IAF
In addition to passing the peer evaluation successfully in accordance with Multi-Lateral Recognition Arrangements issued by the IHAF.
– Associate Member are required to provide the following documents as per membership application requirement:
1. Declaration to abide to bylaw and any other supporting documents.
2. Proof that the Accreditation Body is recognized officially by their government.
3. Proof that the Accreditation Body is recognized officially by their regional economies it represents as a provider of Accreditation Services.
4. Declaration that the Accreditation Body has been established as per international norms and requirement of IHAF.
– Affiliate Members:
5. Declaration to abide to bylaw and any other supporting documents

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International Halal Accreditation Forum
Office 514, Business Avenue Building, Port Saeed Area,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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Email: info@ihaf.org.ae