The standard is "experimental" and not required, but it is an important step for industry which demanded for a long time.The negotiations lasted for several years. The Association française de normalisation (Afnor) has made public on Friday 15 September first French standard for halal food processing. This standard was established at request of French manufacturers of food industry in order to facilitate export of certain products, with participation of certification organizations of muslims affiliated with mosques of Paris, Lyon and Evry, said an official of Afnor to Agence France-Presse.
She sets manufacturing process, recommendations to follow "in order to allow industry to conduct ir own risk analysis identifying critical steps that could make ir production which are not halal," said Afnor.
But this standard remains " experimental ", "voluntary" and not mandatory. To extent that, due to community tensions and political presence around religion of islam, participants in its development have excluded a subject of dissensions major but not less important to muslims : conditions of slaughtering animals for meat production.
If it defines a method of producing unified halal (what is lawful according to muslim cult), standard only covers part of production located downstream of raw material to processed product, wher canned, prepared dishes, cold meats, or even sweets. In addition, it did not make list of prohibited items, even if some consensus, such as pork and alcohol.
" This is not role of standard to decide on interpretation of religious texts to define what is prohibited or permitted by islam. We have provided guidelines to adapt to demands of customers, title of standard is a guide of good practices with an analysis of risks, " said Nadine Normand, head of department, agri-food AFNOR.
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The creation of this first standard is no less crucial in eyes of industry. "Until now, we had to always accept specifications of our clients, we had nothing to put in front, because re was no standard in France," explained Eldjida Makhloufi to AFP. The export manager of French Federation of industrial pork butchers, processors of meats (FICT), moderated community of professionals that have achieved this standard.
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The standard is based in particular on seven recommendations in Codex Alimentarius, established by FAO, united Nations organization for food and agriculture. "It should prevent attendance was incidental to an input or ingredient is haram ["forbidden"] finished product ", states text of standard.
" The idea is to have a repository, this tool will allow us to go furr, and give confidence to businesses that want to export, does it have abounded. The market is exploding day by day " and " our competitors take market share in countries where we would have a legitimacy, but where one accuses France of not having a standard. "
In fact, market of halal, estimated at $ 600 billion, is breaking records in world. In France alone, market was estimated at 5.5 billion euros in 2010, of which 4.5 billion for food products, in research firm Solis, specializing in marketing of identity.