In the state of Selangor, some of these fake halal foods originated from China, India, Thailand and Malaysia itself, Wan Najmiah Wan Mohamad Ali, principal assistant director of Halal Management Division at Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) told FoodNavigator-Asia.
The food products would be pasted with halal logos that were not authorised by Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) when they were packaged in Malaysia.
The most recent case involved a snack packaging factory in Puchong, Selangor. The factory imported products from China.
JAIS raided the factory after receiving consumer complaints that products from the factory were not real halal food.
The raid found that the company did not have a Jakim halal certificate and had used a false halal logo to fool consumers.
“Our checks on the product found that it was produced by a local company and a company from China whose halal status is uncertain,” Wan Najmiah Wan Mohamad Ali said in a press conference.
Twenty types of snacks including sweets, preserved fruits and chocolates worth RM14,000 were seized from the factory. The factory was also ordered to stop production of products with the halal logo.
Samples of the seized products were also sent to the laboratory for further investigations, in order to find out if the gelatine present in the products came from swine or bovine sources.
Different halal logos
Heightened consumer awareness is the main reason for identifying fake halal food, Wan Najmiah Wan Mohamad Ali said.
Consumers are usually alerted to a fake halal food when they see that the halal logo looks different, or when a five-digit halal registration number is missing from the packaging.
In fact, the type of halal logo used across all states was standardised in 2003.
The permitted Halal logo contains five components, such as an eight-cusp star at the centre of a circle, the Arabic word “حلآل” at the centre of the star, and the word "HALAL" below the Arabic word.
Manufacturers, distributors, sub-contract manufacturers, repacking businesses, food premises and the abattoirs are supposed to apply for the Halal confirmation certificate.
On the other hand, to prevent fake halal certificates from circulating, the Malaysian authorities have also implemented the Trade Descriptions Act 2011, a departure from the Trade Descriptions Act 1972, where any private organisation and company could issue certificates when they registered halal-related companies.
The Act has curbed the issuance of fake halal certificates to zero, local media The Sun Daily reported in March this year.