Push for common halal guidance in Denmark

By Gerard O’Dwyer, in Helsinki

- Last updated on GMT

A two-day conference on halal practices will take place in Copenhagen next month
A two-day conference on halal practices will take place in Copenhagen next month

Related tags: Halal meat, Halal

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council (DAFC/Landbrug & Fødevarer) has invited the country’s leading meat industry players to round-table talks to deepen collaboration between producers, brokers and marketers regarding halal meat exports.

This DAFC initiative would help create a range of common industry guidelines that take into account country-by-country differences in halal slaughtering conventions.

"The objective is to learn and understand the halal standards and practices in the third countries where they are applied and a requirement to Danish companies exporting to these countries,"​ said a DAFC note.

The DAFC wants to develop understanding and agreement on how to meet all target country standards, boosting the export of Denmark-made halal meat products. The DAFC also wants to see larger-scale networking between Danish meat companies engaged in producing and exporting halal meat, including poultry and beef.

The DAFC is a central organisation for the farming and food industry sectors in Denmark, including food businesses, trade and farmers’ associations. It leads dialogue on industry matters with government and implements research and development programmes within food safety, animal welfare and productivity.

Muslim-based rules governing halal meat, abattoir standards, slaughter, storage and transportation vary differently from country-to-country. And in some jurisdictions, rules are continuously tightened and changed, said Stig Munch Larsen, a senior consultant to DAFC’s trade and markets department.

To accelerate the development of common standards, the council has organised a two-day seminar centred on halal meat slaughtering, production and export in Copenhagen on 3-4 June. The seminar will have a special focus on halal rules in Malaysia.

"There is a shift towards more stringent halal rules in a number of countries. Malaysia is the country with the strictest rules, but also countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore have strict requirements, while African countries also can have stringent regulations,"​ said Larsen.

A DAFC note explained: "The objective is to learn and understand the halal standards and practices in the third countries where they are applied and a requirement to Danish companies exporting to these countries.

"The overall objective of the halal seminar is to exchange knowledge and experience with relevant business stakeholders. For this specific event the Malaysian halal authority JAKIM [the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia] has been invited to introduce the Malaysian halal standards for interested exporting companies."

This set of talks will try to agree requirements along the entire value chain – from primary production to slaughter, transportation, storage and export management.

Danish companies, according to Larsen, have been frustrated in their attempts to export to countries like Malaysia, because Danish abattoirs often have difficulty meeting their halal rules.

Denmark caused controversy in the Muslim and Jewish worlds in February 2014 when it implemented a ban on halal and kosher slaughter without the prior stunning of animals. A similar ban is also in force in neighbouring Nordic countries Sweden and Norway. Denmark, however, stopped short of placing a ban on the import of kosher and halal meat products into the country.

Related topics: Meat

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