The 24th Session of COMCEC entrusted the 10th Meeting of OIC Standardisation Experts Group (SEG) with the task of “Developing Halal Food Standard and Procedures”. Within this framework, the 10th Meeting of OIC Standardisation Experts Group on “Studying and Developing Halal Food Standards” was convened in Ankara on 28-30 April 2009. The Meeting was organised and hosted by the Turkish Standards Institution (TSI). It was attended by the representatives of 30 OIC Member States. Furthermore, the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina attended the meeting as observer. The representatives of the COMCEC Coordination Office, ICCI, ICDT and SESRIC also attended the Meeting. The SESRIC was represented at the said Meeting by researcher Mr. Murat Ilkin.
The objective of the Meeting was to discuss the OIC Halal Food Standards and the documents on the organizations involved in Halal certification and accreditation.
The Meeting was inaugurated by Mr. Tahir Büyükhelvacigil, President of the TSI. The opening speech was delivered by Mr. Yavuz Mollasalihoğlu, Director General of Standardization for Foreign Trade of the Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade after being elected as the chairman of the Meeting. It was followed by the message of Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Secretary General of the OIC, delivered by the representative of the OIC General Secretariat.
Following the opening session of the Meeting, the participants exchanged views on the OIC Halal Food Standards on which modifications were made based on the consensus on them. The representatives of the Turkish delegation emphasised that international standards should be recognised in food safety measures. However, a consensus was not reached on some standards as they remained questionable on whether they are in compliance with the Islamic rules or not. There are some disagreements between the participants on the distinction between Halal and Forbidden (Non - Halal) food products, listing of halal feedings for animals, Halal animals mechanical slaughtering and compliance of the types of Instruments used for slaughtering such as knives made by stainless steel with Shariah rules. However, there was strong inclination to send the final draft of the OIC Halal Food Standards to the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) for clarification of the controversial standards in terms of their compliance with Islamic or Shariah rules. While the need for such approach was acknowledged by the participants, it was also indicated that it could take the IIFA a long period of time to resolve the issues that needed to be addressed by them. As a result, it was agreed that a committee consisting of ICCI, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates could take the OIC Halal Food standards to the IIFA upon review by all participants final project document about OIC Halal Food Standardisation and follow up on the areas of disagreement.
At the closing Session, it was decided that the OIC Standardisation Experts’ Group convene again in July 2009 in Antalya, Turkey, to discuss the documents on the organizations involved in Halal certification and accreditation as the said meeting could only focus on OIC Halal Food Standards. Also, the participants expressed their thanks to the TSI of the Republic of Turkey for the excellent arrangements it carried out for the meeting and the warm hospitality it overwhelmed the participants with.