COVID-19 highlights pressing need for unification of halal criteria  to boost trade – 8th IHAF Multi-Lateral Recognition meeting

  • IHAF underscores that the current crisis had highlighted the need to expedite the sustainability of the halal standards unification, particularly now that conformity assessments activities have become more challenging due to the movement restrictions.
  • The forum tackles the importance of digitalization in conducting assessments and peer evaluations, considering the social distancing measures being implemented worldwide.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 11, 2020

The 8th Multi-Lateral Recognition Arrangement Committee (MRAC) meeting of the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) has discussed the pressing need for the unification of halal criteria, especially now that the world is grappling with the disruption caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19). IHAF, an independent, non-government network of accreditation bodies that aims to unify conformity assessments practices in halal, held a virtual meeting, which was attended by 42 participants from various organizations from different countries.

IHAF underscored that the current crisis had highlighted the need to expedite the sustainability of the halal standards unification, particularly now that conformity assessments activities have become more challenging due to the movement restrictions.الاجتماع الثامن للجنة الاعتراف متعدد الأطراف

Her Excellency Dr Rehab Al Ameri, the Secretary-General of IHAF, said: “IHAF is committed to sustaining the unification of halal standards because we believe this is the best approach to boost international halal trade, especially in this current economic climate.”

The forum also tackled the importance of digitalization in conducting accreditation and certification assessments as well as the IHAF peer evaluations.  At the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the industry recently turned to off-site assessments as a response to the impact of movement restrictions and the closing of borders. Members highlighted in the virtual discussion how remote auditing for the conformity assessments activities could make recognition wider, generate more schemes, and save more time and money.

“Digitalization has always been on the rise, but COVID-19 has sped up its adaption rate in various industries to survive its unprecedented impact,” H.E Dr. Al Ameri added.

Brahim Houla of the GCC Accreditation Centre (GAC), the chairman of MRAC, also highlighted how technology could revolutionize the way assessments in halal are undertaken.

“One positive thing we can get out of this COVID-19 situation is that we are now more used to technology and that we see that it’s easier to have this work done remotely. Not to mention, it saves more time and money. We envision the future of halal to cope with all facets of digitalization, which can solidify the unification of halal standards,” he said.

IHAF currently has 38 accreditation body-members and stakeholders from 35 countries across six continents.

About the International Halal Accreditation Forum

The International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) is an independent, non-government network of accreditation agencies and other stakeholders all mandated to unify the halal standards and schemes globally, that in turn, will lead to achieving its ultimate goal of facilitating halal trade worldwide. Under the framework of IHAF, these bodies work together to ensure homogeneous and unified criteria for accreditation and conformity assessment of in the field of halal, and following acceptance of halal accredited certification globally.

Empowered by its aim to protect the growing number of halal consumers and to facilitate international halal trade, IHAF establishes a solid ground for the global industry of halal food and non-food products. Based in the UAE, and supported by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), The Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), IHAF is anchored on the belief that greater cooperation among regional and international organizations is key in creating a halal industry that is strong, stable, reliable and responsive to the needs of consumers and businesses across the world.