In Indonesia, halal certification applications are handled by the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI). All procedures and audits are handled by the Lembaga Pengkajian Pangan, Obat-obatan, dan Kosmetika Majelis Ulama Indonesia (LPPOM MUI).
All local food companies, from manufacturers to distributors, must apply with MUI for their products to be sanctioned as halal.
A key aspect of the halal process in Indonesia that tends to confuse applicants is the difference between the halal certificate and Halal Assurance System (HAS) status.
Speaking at Fi Asia 2018, Cucu Rina Purwaningrum from LPPOM MUI explained that: “A halal certificate is issued for each product group [that successfully qualifies in the certification registration] and is valid for two years. Only producers/manufacturers, distributors or owners of production facilities can apply for these.
“It is based on product groups, like processed meats, beverages, etc. but many people [tend to overlook] this
“Companies that register one particular product group only, need to have one registration only. If your company deals with several different types of product groups, then you need multiple registrations.”
As for HAS status, she clarified that this is manufacturer/facility-based and not the same as the halal certificate.
“HAS status is different, it is what is issued to each factory or facility, and also valid for two years. But for this, service companies that do not produce products, e.g. warehouses, retailers and transporters can also apply to be granted HAS status,” she said.
“[That said], what is most important to remember is that all companies that want to apply for halal certification must first implement HAS, and must have a minimum of ‘B’ HAS status first.”
If a company can sustain an ‘A’ grade for HAS status three times respectively, a HAS certificate will be awarded, which is valid for four years.
Training, materials and the final product presentation
Purwaningrum also emphasised the importance of training and materials when it comes to the halal certification process.
“Do not overlook this. Training is compulsory [if you want to be certified,” she said.
“Both external training and internal training on HAS 23000 (which details halal certification requirements) are necessary, and will be checked during the audit.
“Your company must have a written procedure regarding training for all employees involved in critical activities, the records of which must be maintained. External training must be taken at least once every two years, and internal training conducted at least once a year.”
As for materials, Purwaningrum said that: “Attention must not only be paid to raw materials and additives that are part of the final product, but also the processing aids used in the production process.”
“Not only must these not be derived from haram/najis (non-halal) materials, they must also not be contaminated by the non-halal materials [during the production process].
“[This is why] some critical materials must come with either a specific Halal Certificate, or a document to explain its origins and processes in detail.”\
“Examples of these are meats, materials produced from complex processes or ingredient combinations (flavours, seasonings), or which are difficult to trace (whey protein concentrate, lactose).”
Further to this, the importance of final product presentation was also highlighted by Purwaningrum.
“The names and shapes of the products must be halal and not contain any references to alcohol, pigs, dogs, satan or other non-halal things,” she warned.
“The sensory profile of the product will also affect the certification – if the product appears to smell or taste like anything non-halal, it will not be approved even if it is made of completely halal material.”