Ireland is well known for its beef and dairy production, and has, for many years been a leading exporter of Halal meat and dairy products to Muslim countries.
The Islamic Foundation of Ireland has been acting as the certifying body for Halal meat exported from Ireland to Muslim countries since 1981. In 1985 a separate department within the Foundation, the Halal Meat Section, was set up to oversee the supervision and certification of Halal meat.
Unfortunately, following the BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy commonly known as mad cow disease) crisis in the late eighties, export of beef from Ireland to Muslim countries had completely stopped. The ban on Irish beef exports was to continue for over ten years before it was lifted.
The Islamic Foundation of Ireland is recognised as the sole Halal certifying authority in Ireland by Kuwait Municipality (Notice No. 46/83) and by the General Secretariat of Municipalities in the United Arab Emirates since the year 2000, (now by the Ministry of Environment and Water which has replaced the Secretariat of the Municipalities in being the authority responsible for checking food imports into the UAE.)
Since the year 2000, an increasing number of Muslim countries and Muslim community organisations in non-Muslim countries have been demanding Halal certification for dairy and other non-meat food products. The Islamic Foundation has been carrying out the certification work for various Irish companies to enable them to export these products to Muslim consumers.
At present the Islamic Foundation of Ireland is certifying consignments of beef, lamb, turkey, ducks and processed meat products to Muslim countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain and to Muslim communities living in non-Muslim countries. It also certifies dairy products exported from Ireland to various countries as well as other non-meat processed food.
Scope of Certification:
The Islamic Foundation of Ireland certifies products of the following categories:
- Meat products such as beef, lamb and poultry.
- Dairy products.
- Processed meat-based and non-meat food products such as pizzas and sauces.
- Food ingredients such as vitamins and mineral premixes.
Requirements of Certification of Meat Products:
The company which is desirous of Halal certification by the Islamic Foundation of Ireland for its meat products is required to meet the following requirements:
- Filling in the Halal certification application form. (Obtainable from the offices of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland.)
- Entering into a written agreement with the Islamic Foundation of Ireland (I.F.I.) whereby the I.F.I. agrees to issue certificates in respect of beef/lamb/poultry slaughtered by the company according to Islamic rites subject to the standard conditions and procedure set out by the I.F.I. (Contact IFI offices for a copy.)
- Signing a statement of willingness to comply with the I.F.I. standard conditions and procedure for certification.
- Agreeing to set up a Halal Assurance System (HAS)
- Upon receipt of the application for certification an on-site audit visit is carried out by two auditors of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland to examine the slaughtering, de-boning and storage facilities of the company and the competence of the Muslim slaughter man. At the end of the audit, a report is prepared by the auditors. If the audit report is approved and the I.F.I. is satisfied that the company is capable of Halal production, the company is informed of the decision.
Requirements of Certification of Dairy and other Non-meat Based Food Products:
The certification is done to the standard approved by the Muslim certifying authorities in the Middle and Far East. According to this standard:
- All food ingredients and additives produced from animals which were not slaughtered according to Islamic rite or from the pig are Haram and not suitable for Halal consumption/use.
- Any food product, ingredient or additive containing alcohol or produced with the use of alcohol is Haram and unsuitable for Halal consumption or use.
Requirements of Certification of Meat-based Processed Food Products:
The Halal certification requirements are the same as those for dairy and non-meat containing processed food products with the following extra requirements:
i) The I.F.I. Muslim supervisor is to be present whenever there is Halal production.
ii) A Halal certificate is issues per consignment/shipment.
- Filling in the Halal certification application form. . (Contact IFI offices for a copy.)
- Filling in the form of raw materials, additives and processing aids. (Obtainable from the IFI offices)
- Statement of willingness to comply with I.F.I. certification regulations.
- Agreeing to set up a Halal Assurance System (HAS.)
- Submitting supporting documents for raw materials, additives and processing aids as follows:
i) Halal certificates from approved certifier (s.)
ii) Technical specification sheets that explain ingredients and source of materials.
iii) Flow processing chart that show raw materials, additives and processing aids used in each production step.
- Pre-audit Assessment: Upon receipt of the application form, the raw materials document and the supporting documents for raw materials, additives and processing aids, a pre-audit assessment of the documentations is carried out. On-site audit cannot be scheduled if the application documents do not meet a minimum requirement.
- On-site audit: An on-site audit of all the facilities related to the preparation, production, storage and offices that keep the HAS implementation documentation is performed by two auditors of the I.F.I. to ensure that all the ingredients, additives and processing aids, and the manufacturing/processing conform to the Islamic dietary regulations. At the end of the audit, a report is prepared by the auditors. If the audit report is approved, the company is informed of the decision. The audit will be done in complete confidence and no information will be passed to any third party.
- Issuance of Halal certificate: If the Islamic Foundation of Ireland is satisfied that the company is capable of Halal production a Halal certificate is issued for the product which is normally valid for one year and renewable on a yearly basis.
For more details and further information, please see THE HALAL CERTIFICATION BY IFI document itself, which is available for download below.