What is halal?
Halal means pure or good. A halal product has to comply with the rules of Islam. Also in the Netherlands. Otherwise a Muslim cannot buy or use it. That does not only apply to meat or other food products. It also goes for products such as cosmetics, clothes, and medicine. For example, cosmetics may not contain pork fat or alcohol.
Check the product requirements for halal certification
Not all norms and halal requirements (in Dutch) are the same in the world. Because of this, there are various halal quality marks with various logos. Also, the product requirements are different in each country. Check carefully which requirements there are for your product.
Do you sell halal products in a non-Islamic country? For example, in a country within the European Union (EU)? Then a certification is not legally required. But your buyer can require it, because the target group might otherwise not buy your halal products.
Check if a halal certificate is required
For exporting products to Islamic countries a halal certificate is required. For example, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. With the portal Access2Markets of the European Commission you can check if a halal certificate is required. You can immediately select the destination country and the product name or the HS code of the product you want to export.
Suppose you want to export sheep meat to Saudi Arabia:
- Put in the yellow search bar:
1. Product name or HS code: ‘meat of sheep’ (pick from the list a sub category and click on the HS code) or you enter the correct HS commodity code right away
2. Country of origin: Netherlands
3. Country of destination: Saudi Arabia
- Click on ‘Search’
- Click on ‘Procedures and formalities’ in the left column on the search results page
- Click on ‘Specific’
- The list displays a link to ‘Halal certificate’ with more information
Also check the country information (in Dutch) of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Under the topic ‘product requirements’ you can read whether a halal certificate is required.
Pay attention to amendments
The rules and regulations can change in a country. For example, a country can already require a certificate for halal meat, but start to require that for more products. Or a country might just have started introducing halal certificates. Also check that with your foreign client or the halal authority in the country.
Check certifying agencies
Certain countries always require a halal certificate with import. Check with the halal authorities which agencies are authorised to provide certificates for your product. For certain countries those authorities are included in the country information (in Dutch) of RVO.
Comply with the rules of ritual slaughter
In the Netherlands, there are strict rules for ritual slaughter. You cannot slaughter animals without anaesthesia. For the ritual slaughter or slaughter according to Islamic laws there is an exception. But this can only be done under supervision of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA, in Dutch) and only in certified slaughterhouses.