To avoid being misled, customers need to confirm that the halal certification is performed by a trusted, reputable and independent Islamic certifying agency. This is most important when the customer is an institution, military, or any agency that is responsible for serving properly certified, halal food items to consumers who may not be able to confirm details about the certifier.
In order for the certifier to be truly independent, it must have:
- No Affiliation
- No Family Relationship, and
- No Ownership
with the Producer or Supplier of halal certified products (excluding publicly-held ownership in the producer).
For example, a meat supplier, together with its affiliates and management, cannot both slaughter the meat and then certify directly, or through an affiliate, that the meat is halal certified. Of course, the exception to this is when the local community hires someone to slaughter meat for its members. Such practice is less common in the US than internationally.
For a product to be halal certified, it must be produced under the inspection and evaluation of religiously-observant, Muslim professionals trained both in Islamic religious dietary laws and in production practices. Even products produced by Muslim-owned companies require independent inspectors trained in halal production. Customers rely upon the experience and reputation of trusted inspectors, slaughter men and Islamic organizations to certify products as halal, not on the declarations by those who own or manage the company.
The halal symbol appearing on a product is a brand name identifier for the certifying agency. That agency covets and protects both the use and unauthorized use of its trademark symbols. Success depends upon the market’s acceptance of the reputation of the certifying agency and the qualifications of the experts working there.
The manufacturer’s trademark appears on the same package with the halal symbol. To avoid damaging its own brand, that company seeks association only with a trusted and reputable halal certifying organization.