The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has submitted a proposal for a new field of activity on Halal. As the U.S. member body to ISO, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) invites all interested stakeholders to submit comments on the proposal by the end of the business day on Friday, December 11, 2015.
The new work item proposal, submitted by the Emirates Authority For Standardization & Metrology (ESMA), details how continuous strong international demand for Halal products and services, including in non-Islamic countries, provides the opportunity for the development of a work program focusing on this area. While many products and services claim to be certified as Halal, there is currently a lack of specialized Halal studies and research studies.
As the document states, the term "Halal" designates any process or material which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic Sharia. Halal products and service, as described in the document, include food (fresh, frozen processes etc.) beverages, cosmetics and personal care, pharmaceuticals, apparel, logistics, finance, tourism and hospitality, and more). The proposal lists various objectives and strategic goals for a future Halal-focused work program, including:
Develop and issue internationally accepted standards to create a common platform for all Halal products and services;
Develop and issue relevant standards and specifications in the field of processes and management to ensure the safety, quality, and fitness of products in compliance with Sharia laws and processes;
Ensure proper awareness for both consumers and the public on Halal;
Improve Halal products and ensure the services, systems, and other aspects are satisfying the needs of governments and consumers;
Identify current/future needs related to testing and verification schemes in JWG under the leadership of CASCO (an ISO committee that works on issues relating to conformity assessment);
Identify and establish current/future needs related for Halal: testing, conformity assessment, inspection, certification, and accreditation, and Halal marks of conformity on cooperation with CASCO;
Facilitate Halal trading without barriers;
Satisfy Halal market needs and expectations;
Share national and regional best practices, research, and technologies on Halal.
According to the proposal, Halal is in high demand by various sectors, with stakeholders ranging from consumers, traders, manufacturers, and government. The proposed committee and standards that will be developed will enhance market competitiveness, efficiency, effectiveness, and import/export capability and will support extensive research studies and the establishment of reference land to measure Halal impact.
Interested parties are invited to review the proposal and submit comments to Steven Cornish, ANSI director of international policy (firstname.lastname@example.org) by December 11. All comments received will be compiled and used in the development of a recommended ANSI position and comments on this proposal that will be submitted to the AIC for approval prior to ISO's January 21, 2016, deadline for voting.
ANSI has published an explanatory information document outlining the process used to develop U.S. positions on issues and activities under consideration by ISO and IEC.