What makes an eatery halal?

In the last 13 years, the number of halal-certified businesses in Singapore grew to over 2,500. They join the race to tap into the global halal food market, estimated to be worth over $760 billion. JUDITH TAN speaks to three eatery owners on their forays into this market.

SINGAPORE - There are over 2,500 eating places that have been issued halal certificates as at the end of last year.

What is halal and halal certification?

It is a religious endorsement from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) that the food or product of an establishment is suitable for Muslims.

In Singapore, the certification is voluntary and the halal certificate is issued for a period of one to two years.

How does an eatery apply for and use the halal logo?

The eatery submits an application to Muis, which conducts a review followed by an on-site audit to ensure that the eatery complies with the halal certification terms and conditions. These include:

Having a Halal Quality Management System that involves an internal monitoring procedure to ensure that food is prepared and utensils handled in a manner compliant with Islamic requirements.

Making sure halal and non-halal food or ingredients are separated and clearly marked.

Ensuring all ingredients used are halal and approved by Muis.

Going for training on Muis halal certification requirements.

Employing at least two Muslim staff to endorse all incoming raw materials.

How does an eatery maintain its halal certification?

Following the issuance of the certificate, Muis conducts surprise checks to ensure that the restaurant complies with the terms and conditions of the certificate at all times.

Should there be a breach, Muis will either issue a warning letter or suspend the halal certificate.

Muis also conducts surveillance inspections at public eating places to ensure that the Muis halal certification mark is not misused.

This article was first published on October 12, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.