JAKIM: Malaysia's Sole Halal Certification Body

The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) uses MS 1500: 2004 as the basis for issuing halal certificates for products and services under its responsibilities as the country’s sole halal certification body today.
The Third National Agriculture Policy was the beginning of the Malaysian Government’s concentrated efforts in positioning Malaysia as a halal food hub. Part of the plan involved developing a comprehensive halal standard in accordance with both syariah law requirements and the requirements of food manufacturing and food servicing that encompass handling, distribution, storage, display, packaging, labelling and also hygiene, sanitation and food safety. The Malaysian Halal Standard - “Halal Food: Production, Preparation, Handling and Storage – General Guidelines (MS1500: 2004)” launched in August 2004 was created within the framework of the Malaysian Standards Development system under the authority of STANDARDS MALAYSIA.
The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) uses MS 1500: 2004 as the basis for issuing halal certificates for products and services under its responsibilities as the country’s sole halal certification body today. JAKIM re-took this role from the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) in August 2009. HDC assumed the role for about one year prior to that.
The Malaysian Halal Standard’s compliance to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) further cements Malaysian halal certification as one of the most recognised halal logos in the world. By putting the Malaysian Halal Standard into practice through its certification scheme, JAKIM plays a critical role in protecting the needs of Muslim consumers and helping Malaysia achieve its goal of becoming a world leader in halal trade.
From Development to Implementation
In accordance with the methodologies set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Malaysian Halal Standard is developed through a consensus of parties involving the Government, private sector, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), professional bodies and other related agencies.
JAKIM was appointed as the Chairman of the related Technical Committee in developing Malaysia’s halal food standard under the National Industry Standards Committee on Halal Standard (ISC I) that was also represented by a diverse group of representatives comprising the Government, and private and educational institutions including the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Malaysian Agricultural Research Development Institute (MARDI), Wisma Putra and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Apart from the input from domestic institutions, the draft of MS 1500: 2004 was also circulated around the globe to enhance its credibility and meet world standards. Seventeen comments including those from Islamic Bodies, Europe and the United States were received, and taken into consideration. MS 1500: 2004 is currently undergoing a review process by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and revisions are expected to be out by this year.
JAKIM has the authority to issue halal certificates and halal logos for products produced locally. Products produced overseas require certification by a JAKIMrecognised body in the respective country. It does this through inspections at typical audit sites such as the manufacturing factory, food premises or abattoirs. Using the Malaysian Halal Standard as a guideline, the audit involves inspections on all aspects of the operations, be they documents, processes, handling, tools, storage, cleanliness, packaging or labelling. Physical inspections by syariah and technical auditors are not enough though, and JAKIM employs the use of food technology in matters such as detecting microscopic haram substances in food. Recent developments have seen JAKIM placing more emphasis on “risk premises” such as slaughter houses, to ensure that animals are slaughtered according to syariah.
After certification is issued, JAKIM monitors all of the premises and products to ensure their compliance to the guidelines set. Sites are inspected by JAKIM officers at least twice before certification expires.
Halal certification, in tandem with halal standard, brings numerous benefits across many levels of society. For the consumer, it means a commitment to quality that fulfils halal and hygiene requirements. For manufacturers, it is a great marketing tool to grab a bigger share of the lucrative halal industry. For enforcement authorities, it is an invaluable aid in auditing and monitoring halal status.
New Developments in Halal Standards
Halal is not only confined to the food industry, but also covers other products and services used in daily life including finance, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. As such, steps are underway for JAKIM to collaborate with STANDARDS MALAYSIA and other agencies in developing new halal standards to cover pharmaceutical products, hotels, catering services and logistics.
Source: By Department of Standards Malaysia