Monday, 04 December 2023
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Articles > RMC > Halal > Why do Russian companies misuse halal certificates?

A growing number of Russian television programmes are now raising topics of food quality calling for consumers to be more careful about choosing what products they buy and eat. 
For Muslims meat products are of sufficient quality if they are halal. Such products have recently gained great popularity in Russia to the point of being preferred by many - by far not just Muslims. Surveys show that religion is not behind consumer's choice in more than half of the cases with many people buying halal meat simply because they think it's good. But when a meatamn assures you his products are halal, is it really so? And how can you check if it's true or not? For ten year now the International Center for Halal Standartization and Certification under the Muftis Council of Russia has been carrying out works to verify the confomity of meat products to the Halal standards.
This verification process is based on internationally adopted Halal standards. Most meat producers have certificates that confirm its quality. Almost everyone know brands such as «Halal ash», «Ekol», «Ekoprod» which are the biggest producers of halal products in Russia's central region. Tsaritsyno's halal sausages and Elinar - Broiler's chickens are also popular. 
Halal product sellers, as a rule, have production certificates, but it is preferable that butcher's shops or cafes that have halal meat on the menu should be certified as well. Such certification means that cleanness of working spaces, premises and storage area also confirm to the standard. Everything seems to be going just well: the halal market is growing, producers are being certified, consumers increasingly demand certificates from new sellers.
Recently, appeals from consumers to the Economic Department of the Russia Muftis Council became more frequent. They claim they don't quite understand those certificates sellers show them. Lets consider several examples.

In one of well-known public catering networks you can see certificate of "Halal" of Russia Muftis Council in frame right on entrance to the self-service area. All is well on the first sight. Seeing this sign of attention from the food service, trusting consumer will get happy for the domestic halal industry and will set about choosing meal. But if you get a grasp of this certificate, you will discover a number of violations. Firstly, name of the company, in whose name certificate was issued, doesn't correspond to establishment's name in which you are. Following the principle of best supposition (husnu zann), competent consumer will suppose that certificate was given to raw materials producer, from whom public catering establishment is buying it up. In that case it is up to quess if this connection exists. But questions do not end up with this. Secondly, the term of certificate expired in 2011, while 2012 is coming to an end. And thirdly, as most knowledgeable consumer would clear up - supplier, whose name is written on certificate, didn't have any relation to the network of public catering.
Than question arises: "Why?". If public catering network is well-known and respected, if they reckon they have a right to do without Halal certificate, than why to place certificate that doesn't correspond to the facts? Evidently, issues arise among consumers still. And if it occurs, than there is a requirement of certification. But certificate should be real, in other way it's not clear who, whom and why try to mislead? 
Second example. In one of oriental restaurants certificate is shown on demand of a visitor. Indeed, certificate confirms accordance with halal standards. But it is difficult to understand for what exactly certificate was issued. If visitor knows English , he/she can investigate that it's about beef.
But certificate doesn't have date and period of validity. Strictly, you can't see any connection between Australian Certification Centre that issued the document, black-and-white copy of which was offered by administrator, and restaurant, where you are. Does restaurateur really rely on sleeping guard of consumer again?

Third example. It's also about well-known and popular restaurant chain of Uzbek cuisine. They don't show certificate, just referring to the words of chef about meal is halal. However, as we found out from talking with manager of quality control, there is no guarantee that buying halal veal once, they do the same in next period, when another supplier will offer more profitable conditions. But meal won't be halal this time. 

Dolefully, many well-known and loved shops and public catering networks can be considered to the listed companies.

In order to not disappoint consumers completely, the author doesn't mention the names of these organizations, with hope that such violations will be fixed at an early date. And consumers will be more considerate towards certificates they are shown. And we hope they won't be lazy once again to visit the site or make a call to International Center of standardization and certification "Halal" of Russia Muftis Council, or to Centre's Regional representative "Halal", in order to consult the list of certified companies.

Madina Kalimullina

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