In order to maintain the halal status of food products, a lot of strict regulations and processes need to be adhered to. This doesn’t just involve the process of preparing the foodstuff, but also includes its storage and distribution.
The material which makes up the packaging of halal food affects the validity of halal food too. In Australia, an Australian developer and manufacturer of sustainable plastics and packaging has been certified Halal for a new range of resins. Cardia Bioplastics for example, has created its range of bio-hybrid resins from renewable products, which now have formal acknowledgement of compliance with Islamic laws surrounding safety and quality.
The process of storage is also done meticulously, and separate from the supply chain of non-halal products, in order to avoid any issues of contamination along the process. Packaging has occasionally led to many problems of porcine contamination, as a result of animal fat-based lubricants used in production of some paper-based materials leaking into the products. This animal fat often involves components such as stearates which is sometimes derivative of pork or other animals prohibited according to Sharia. Other than that, packaging of these products using recycled paper can sometimes contain residues of pork from a previous use, which can also leak into the food inside. Quality control now extends beyond the food itself, and also includes the packaging.
Advancements have been made to curtail this problem however. An instance of this would be the increasing complexity of testing procedures that companies like Genetic ID Europe possesses. This means that the detection of prohibited substances is becomes even more accurate, and goes beyond just analysing the contents of the food but the packaging that contains it. The increasing growth of the halal market has many industries tapping into the opportunities provided. As a result, some of the players have been manufacturing and producing their food using the same facilities – a so-called mixed supply chain. Many Islamic enforcement agencies in various countries, such as JAKIM in Malaysia, has carried out many initiatives to prevent this from happening, by refusing halal certification to companies that do not provide separate facilities for their halal products from their non-halal products.
All of the measures stated above also applies to the distribution of halal food. To ensure the smooth transportation and dissemination, more specific and segregated logistical facilities must be invested in. When it comes to the retailing process, there must be a separation of transportation, storage terminals of non-halal goods from halal goods. The reason why this segregation is necessary is to avoid contamination, mistakes, and to fulfil the expectations of the Muslim or any other halal-observant customers. This is also important in the selling of halal food online, with the establishment of suppliers on websites such as Nema Halal, an industry established for the North American region for the distribution of halal food.
With progress in technology regarding the identification of chemicals in ingredients, and the implementation of stricter regulations and laws for halal products, ensuring the halal safety of foodstuff will become easier with time.