The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) will no longer be involved in halal accreditation after the Halal Products Certification Agency (BPJPH) was given sole responsibility for regulating procedures and applications for halal certification, as well as collecting fees.
“The BPJPH has the authority to issue, revoke and manage all administration related to halal certification of domestic and imported products, while the MUI still holds the authority to issue halal edicts," its head, Soekoso, told the Jakarta Post.
It is hoped that the halal certification process will be improved under the new set-up, after the the opaque and unaccountable MUI was mired in allegations of graft.
The agency will also undertake an online registration system for certification requests, which is expected to be implemented early next year, Soekoso said, adding that the whole process would take fewer than 60 days to complete.
Fees will be directed by the finance ministry, to help prevent cases of bribery or corruption. Since 1989, these were collected by the MUI, which now stands to have its financial reports audited amid suspicions that the private Muslim council had amassed substantial revenues from the process.
Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi, the MUI’s deputy chairman, said the organisation supported the transfer of halal certification to the BPJPH. He said the government agency would hopefully increase the number of halal-certified products, making Indonesia one of the biggest suppliers in the world.
His comments were backed by Adhi S. Lukman, chairman of the Indonesian Food and Beverage Association (Gapmmi), who said the new halal agency could strengthen the bargaining position of Indonesian halal certification on the world stage, compared to when the certificates were issued by MUI.
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Philippines falls down food security league
The Philippines has seen its food security status drop following the publication of a new global ranking study.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Global Food Security Index saw the country fall from 74th to 79th out of 109 countries this year.
Suggesting increasing vulnerability, it now trails Ghana, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, though it performed better than Myanmar, Nepal and Senegal, based on food affordability, availability, safety and the resilience of its natural resources.
Ireland topped the latest index, followed by America, Britain, Singapore and Australia.
Citing the 1996 World Food Summit, EIU defined food security as “the state in which people at all times have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for a healthy and active life.”
The Philippines came sixth out of 10 regional nations, trailing Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Only Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos were found to be more food-insecure.
Corruption and a lack of public expenditure on agricultural research and development were cited as the Philippines’ main weaknesses by the report.
Aromatech opens Bangkok manufacturing unit
French flavours and fragrances major Aromatech Group has opened a new production facility in Thailand dedicated to powder and liquid flavours.
The 1500-square-metre Bangkok plant, operated by Aromatech Flavours, will manufacture and sell some 500 tons a year.
“The facility will create, produce and sell high-quality food flavours to meet customers’ needs and market requirements,” Aromatech said.
The company has been present in Thailand since 2003, but this latest development will allow it to significantly increase production in the region.
A leading producer of flavours to a cross-spectrum of food and beverage categories Aromatech operates five plants in Tunisia, Turkey, Algeria, Thailand and America, and is involved in joint ventures in China and Turkey.
The support a network of customers in more than 50 countries around the world.