Canberra, 3 Dzulqa’dah 1436/18 August 2015 (MINA) – Hate campaigns are detracting from the reputation of Australia’s $13 billion halal industry overseas, The Guardian reported citing one of the country’s largest Islamic certifiers.
The halal industry has been reluctant to comment on the Senate inquiry into food certification, instigated by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, but broke its silence on Tuesday (18/8) in a submission obtained by Guardian Australia, International Islamic News Agency (IINA) quoted Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Under Australian law it is not acceptable to vilify one’s race or ethnic background but it seems acceptable to vilify Islam, Mohammad El-Mouelhy, from Halal Certification Authority Australia (HCAA), wrote. “It is against the law to vilify Jews and it is not politically correct to denigrate blacks. But Muslims can be thrown to the wolves.”
El-Mouelhy, whose agency certifies mostly processed foods, hit back at claims that products such as Vegemite were being altered to be granted halal status.
A blessing was said over meat products, he said, but for other food, halal (or kosher) certifiers merely checked and approved the ingredients list.
“Animals were halal slaughtered “after being temporarily immobilized by an acceptable device”, in line with RSCPA and Australian government export standards, the submission”, said.
A recent halal industry conference in Malaysia had heard that “the Australian market (was becoming) ‘unreliable’ to importers specifically because of hate campaigns offending importers and Australia’s reputation”, the submission said.
The department of foreign affairs and trade also made a submission, estimating the global halal market is expected to reach US$1.6 tn by 2018. “The economic incentives for Australian businesses to seek halal certification for exports are therefore significant,” it wrote.
“Were we unable to offer Australian government assured halal certification to our Muslim and other trading partners, access for our red meat exports to these markets would be limited and potentially denied, with a corresponding deleterious effect on the Australian red meat export industry.
“Likewise, if other food businesses did not have access to commercial halal certification services this would limit their ability to access a large and growing pool of Muslim consumers.”
A detailed submission was also lodged by the department of industry, noting that halal certification was not a tax unlikely to add significant costs to Australian food products, complied with Australian animal welfare and criminal laws; and helped Australian businesses access new growth opportunities, The Senate inquiry is due to report on Novemver 30. (T/Imt/RO6)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)