The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), which is the agency responsible for overseas halal certification in Malaysia, has released a draft of the Malaysia Procedure for the Recognition of Foreign Halal Certification Bodies (FHCB) 2021, as a measure to protect Muslim consumers. In the new draft, all halal-certified products by Foreign Halal Certification Bodies (FHCB) entering Malaysia must now be marked or labeled with both a halal logo and a QR code.
This will be applicable for pre-packaged food and beverage categories ranging from food and beverages (e.g. meat, dairy, oil, fruits, vegetables, bakery, fish, eggs, drinks etc.), food service (restaurants, food trucks etc.), as well as other consumer goods categories such as personal care, pharmaceuticals, etc.
The QR code will contain information about the foreign halal bodies themselves, which means those bodies will be accountable for any mishandling of halal food products or meat.
JAKIM also plans to tighten the enforcement and the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the issuance of halal certification for all imported products, including meat, from abroad. The SOPs will include amendments to the Act related to halal certification to prevent the occurrence of ‘duplication’ of halal certificates, as well as the use of digitization in the barcodes of halal food products.
The new initiatives are a response to a fake halal meat scandal that surfaced in Malaysia in December 2020, where a local syndicate had allegedly bribed custom officials for 40 years to import and sell frozen meat from non-halal certified sources, after repackaging it with fake halal logos.
(Sources: Malay Mail; NutraIngredients-Asia; JAKIM)