H.H. Sheikh Sagar bin Mohammed al Qasmi, Chairman Sharjah AWQAF, inaugurated the new Gulf Halal Center as a guest of honor, fulfilling the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum, to make UAE the center of world Halal Food trade. The opening of the center concedes with Sharjah celebrating this year 2014 being the Islamic cultural capital of the world, and with H.H. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Ruler of Sharjah’s guidance and support to the Islamic world and great Islamic architecture that can be found and seen in all Sharjah government.
The ceremony was held at a local hotel in presence of VIPs, Senior Govt officials, Diplomats, CIPs, business community and media, who witnessed the official launching of Gulf Halal Center (GHC), the pioneering Halal Certification body in the United Arab Emirates, offering Halal Audit & Certification services to Emirati companies, to help them convert to Halal Management System. H.H. Sheikh Sagar al Qasmi, declared it as part of the jubilation celebrating Sharjah as the Islamic Cultural Capital of the World 2014.
Chairman of Gulf Halal Center, Mr. Saif Mohammad Jasim al Midfa said that basically all food items are Halal, except those which are declared Haram as per Shariah, including, pork, animals slaughtered improperly, ethanol and other intoxicants, carnivorous (meat-eating) animals, blood, contaminated and hazardous food, etc. while talking to media, he explained that the food industry evolved from Organic to Processed Food, Freshly prepared to Frozen Food, Home Cooked to Fast Food and now Genetically Modified Foods… This evolution necessitated innovative methods of production, canning, freezing and dehydrating techniques which led to the loss of natural flavors, aromas, colors and change in the texture of food. This loss was supplemented by the addition of Flavorings; Aromas; Colorants; Emulsifiers; Stabilizers; Preservatives and numerous Additives. Due to possibility of these items containing combination of Haram substances, not visible in the list of ingredients, there is a need for a competent Halal certifier to conduct an intensive audit process to trace and ensure that these foods do not contain any Haram ingredients.
Mr Midfa explained that the Halal market does not only include Food products & ingredients but also Food Service establishments, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics, Personal care products, Animal & Poultry feed, Apparel & leather products, Hospitality & Tourism, Banking, Finance, Takawful and Logistics, which will all be covered by the Gulf Halal Center.
Mr. Asad Sajjad, the CEO of Gulf Halal Center gave an eye opening presentation on how the Haram ingredients are used in our every day use products and emphasized on the importance of Halal Certification as the demand of 1.7 billion Muslim consumers as well as a lot of non-Muslims, who prefer Halal food as its healthy and wholesome (tayyab). Asad said that Halal Certified has emerged as an Internationally recognized & established Brand that is a big sales booster for the Emirati manufacturers & exporters to enter the 3 trillion dollar plus Global Halal market. Halal Certified removes the non-tariff barriers for many countries as Halal Certified products are able to enter countries with obligatory Halal requirements.
He informed that self declaration of Halal is wrong, as due to ignorance, we may be supplying products with Haram ingredients which must be avoided. Halal Certification from an independent Halal Certifier guarantees the Quality, Hygiene, Safety & Shariah compliance and enhances consumer confidence as they are getting Certified Halal which means Authentic Halal product, thus, Halal Certified is Benefit for the World & Hereafter..
Introducing the features of Gulf Halal Center, Asad informed that GHC Halal Scheme is a product as well as process certification, confirming traceability of complete food chain, from Farm to Fork. It does not only cover ingredient verification but also includes process verification of Manufacturing, Hygiene, Handling, Packaging materials, Packing, Storage, Transportation and Distribution. GHC team consists of qualified professionals including Halal technical Auditor, Shariah experts and Food Technologist, experienced in Halal Audit & certification work as per UAE Halal standards for food safety & Shariah, also compliant with OIC-SMIIC Halal standards that are accepted worldwide. GHC also offers Marketing services for Halal Certified products as well as Halal Training & Awareness Services, for the company employees & management. These value added services are designed to improve organization’s operating performance by converting it to Halal compliant and are available to UAE and international companies