Halal Foods to get National Standards
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has begun a process of standardizing halal foods for both religious and safety purposes.
The process, which began today with a meeting with mainly Muslim representatives, is expected to take six months.
Halal foods are foods that are allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines.
According to these Qu'ran-based guidelines, Muslim followers cannot consume pork or its byproducts, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering and animals not slaughtered in the name of Allah.
Others are blood, carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears.
Gilbert Arnaitwe, the acting Head of Systems certification, says the religious factor aside, there is a need for halal foods to conform to standard hygienic procedures.
Although Uganda is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, it does not have a halal food certification system.
Some of the proposed standards would target the whole halal food chain from the farms through to the table. They would target farmers, abattoirs, butcheries, transporters, traders, cooks and waitresses, among others.
Arinaitwe says in order to come up with good standards, Uganda is borrowing from halal foods best practices around the world, in addition to wide local consultations.
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Arinaitwe says the certification is also aimed at making Ugandan halal foods attractive in the region, hence boosting local production and incomes.
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It is estimated that 70 percent of Muslims worldwide follow halal food standards and that the global halal market is currently a 580-billion-dollar industry.