According to July 2014 updates, Canadian government has introduced and approved new rules for halal foods and drugs to be used. This was due to the amendment in the Halal Foods and Drugs Act according to which manufacturers and sellers of halal food products need to ensure new halal labeling on their items.
This was the step taken by the government in response to the issues raised companies that offer Halal certification Canada. The step has been considered as a positive move towards recognizing the importance of Muslims in the country. The concerns raised by halal certification agencies in Canada were based on the customer’s demand pertaining with the informed consent. The new labels will be effective from 2016 under the authority of CFIA.
So, what does informed consent have to do with that? Why is halal certification even necessary? You will get your answers if you read further. There are 5 major products/businesses you can associate the word “halal” with:
- Meat and Poultry
According to the principles of Islamic laws, there are certain food sources that have been prohibited. For example pork (pig meat), reptile meat, snake meat, donkey meat, and the meat animals that eat flesh, have been restricted. While there are obvious reasons for the restrictions, let’s assume it’s a religious culture.
Furthermore, the meat from approved sources must be gathered after approved methods of sacrifice. If the meat suppliers ensure these methods, they will be awarded with halal certification. Same goes for the poultry products, that their sources must be the ones that are termed as halal by Islam.
- Food Products
Food products include many of ingredients that are not approved under Islamic laws. Therefore, in order for the food product to be used by Muslims, it must be attested by halal certification agencies. They will evaluate the product on the basis of the approved list of halal items, and rate it as halal (allowed) or haram (prohibited).
Same is true for drugs. However, Islamic laws are slightly flexible with respect to drugs and medicines. According the Islamic scholars, prohibited items are allowed is drug ingredients, if they are used within certain limits.
So, a drug is also approved and tested by halal advisory board and receive a certificate of approval upon clearance.
- Drinks and Beverages
According to Islamic laws, Muslims cannot drink wine or anything that includes any amount of alcohol. In fact, such drinks are strictly prohibited in the religion. While most of the soft drinks are not prohibited, some energy drinks must provide evidences of absence of alcohol and other prohibited ingredients.
Islamic laws also take into consideration the services offered by the people and approve or reject them on the basis of nature of work. For example, traditional mode of interest and insurance isn’t allowed in the religion. There are alternative rules for financial transactions in the religion. However, these laws are yet to be taken under consideration. For the time being, halal certification is limited to manufacturing items that are used as food or drinks.