Over the course of three days, international and national companies, accreditation organizations, scientists and various stakeholders invested in the halal industry gathered near Chicago to discuss the changing industry. The conference was hosted by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA).
The sessions covered a range of topics and featured a variety of speakers. Attendees heard about the benefits of working toward understanding commonalities in halal standards while also learning about the different halal standards for countries such as Pakistan, Algeria, the UAE, Indonesia, and Korea.
Speakers took a deep dive into the specifics of halal compliance and the role testing has in halal certification. Speakers covered managing the differences in standards required to meet the needs of different countries, specifically when addressing meat processing and the use of alcohol in flavors.
A common theme throughout the conference was the challenge of meeting consumer demands and special market needs while working to accredit halal certification bodies.
“Rather than one harmonized standard, what would work better is to have multiple standards with consensus across the regions,” said Mark Overland, Global Halal/Kosher Manager for Cargill Inc., a multinational ingredient manufacturer.
Speakers agreed that to successfully reach collaboration on halal standards, there needs to be a more level playing field for certification with maximum transparency about processes and standards.
Per the Pew Research Center, the number of Muslims worldwide is expected to increase from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050. With the growing Muslim population comes the growth of the halal market and halal certified products. Revenue from halal certified food and beverage products is estimated to be $415 billion (2015).
Speakers encouraged participants and fellow panelists to more effectively leverage the industry’s voice to bringing all the key stakeholders to the table and make halal a well regulated industry.
“As the halal industry continues to grow into the mainstream market, it will experience growth beyond its traditional confines,” said President and CEO of IFANCA, Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry. “As the key industry convener, IFANCA is poised to help lead the industry, working with all stakeholders, into a new age of halal compliance.”