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Last Updated:[11-01-2010 07:24:07 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

NZ Islamic Fed Questions Indonesian Halal Credentials

tradenews The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) has objected to the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI)’s move to make mandatory obtaining halal from the councils own certification before it was sold in its country. The federation’s response came after the MUI, Indonesia's highest authority on Islamic affairs issued a statement last week that many products imported from New Zealand, the US, Australia and some European countries carried halal labels but did not always trust their certification standards.

The last week’s announcement also underscores that it would no longer recognize the two existing certification authorities in New Zealand, Islamic Meat Management and the Federation of Islamic Associations. In response, the FIANZ argued Indonesian halal certification company setting up shop here did not have the resources to inspect meat plants and slaughterhouses.

Reza Khedmati, director of Al-Rasoul Halal Certification, said the company had been set up to offer New Zealand exporters an "internationally accepted halal certification" as a result of problems encountered with Islamic countries. The federation vice-president Javed Khan says “These people who are setting up their own certifying companies here have got no infrastructure to inspect the plants and all that ... and still they are certifying.”

Khedmati claimed that it had been certifying for all the organizations throughout the world including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. The chief executive of the Iran-based Islamic Chamber Research and Information Centre, Abdolhossein Fakhari, while he was in New Zealand last month said Al-Rasoul Halal Certification had the backing of the centre, which was set up with the support of the governments of Islamic countries.

The Indonesian plan would restrict $100mn worth of New Zealand beef and $450mn of dairy products entering that country. The global halal market is valued at around $150bn with about 1.6bn consumers from 112 countries and Indonesia with 212mn is the largest consumer of halal products among Muslim nations.

By Jose Roy

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