The Second Session of the 10th Meeting of the OIC Standardization Experts Group (SEG), which was entrusted with the task of development of the OIC Halal Food Standards and Procedures by the 24th Session of COMCEC, held on October 13-16, 2009 in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey. The Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) organized and hosted the Meeting, which was attended by the representatives of 25 Member States of the OIC and the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina as observer. Furthermore, representatives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Coordination Office of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (COMCEC), the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) also attended the meeting. The SESRIC was represented in the Meeting by Mr. Mazhar Hussain, researcher at the SESRIC.
The objective of the Meeting was to finalize and approve the final drafts of three fundamental documents:“OIC Halal Standard-General Guidelines on Halal Food”, “Guidelines for Bodies Providing Halal Certification” and “Guidelines for the Authorized Accreditation Body Accrediting Halal Certification Bodies” to pave the way for the harmonization of Halal Standards across the globe.
The Meeting was inaugurated by Mr. Tahir Büyükhelvacigil, President of the TSE. The OIC Assistant Secretary General, H.E. Ambassador Hameed Ajibaiye, made an opening statement. After that the Meeting elected Mr. Hakan Ergin, OIC Assistant Secretary General of the TSE, as the Chairman of the Meeting. In his opening speech, Mr.Ergin welcomed the representatives of the OIC Member States, OIC General Secretariat and OIC subsidiary organs.
Following the formal inauguration and the Opening Session of the Meeting, discussion started with the pending issues of the draft “OIC Halal Standard-General Guidelines on Halal Food” and participants asked about the response of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) in this regard. As during the First Session of the 10th Meeting of the OIC Standardization Experts Group (SEG), which held in Ankara on April 28-30, 2009, the clauses related to Stunning, Mechanical slaughter, Aquatic animals and Slaughtering tools and utensils were referred to the IIFA to provide guidance in the light of Islamic Jurisprudence (The Fiqh). Therefore, under this agenda item, the SEG delegation that held a meeting with the IIFA summarized the outcome of the meeting with regard to these controversial issues. The participants exhaustively reviewed the ruling received from the IIFA and in the light of the ruling unanimously agreed on all issues except “Stunning”. The clauses on the above mentioned issues are re-drafted while it is decided to forward the clause on “Stunning” to IIFA for further deliberations and guidance.
During the second day, the participants considered the draft “Guidelines for Bodies Providing Halal Certification” clause by clause and made their comments on its clauses to modify or keep as it is. Mostly, the participants made comments about the technical issues like correct use of language for the Halal Standards Guidelines and addition of some more clauses to further elaborate the role and responsibilities of Halal Certification Bodies. These comments and suggestions were discussed in detail and included in the draft after acceptance by the majority of the participants. At the end of discussion, the Meeting unanimously accepted the revised draft. During the third day, the draft “Guidelines for the Authorized Accreditation Body Accrediting Halal Certification Bodies” was discussed clause by clause and the participants accepted the revised draft.
In the Closing Session, final report of the meeting was presented by the Meeting Chairman and participants unanimously adopted the report. In his concluding remarks the OIC Assistant Secretary General, H.E. Ambassador Hameed Ajibaiye, congratulated the participants for the adoption and approval of the three fundamental documents for use in the Halal sector and called the Meeting a landmark achievement towards the harmonization of Halal Standards across the globe generally and in the OIC Member Countries particularly. The Member States representatives also expressed their thanks to the government of the Republic of Turkey and congratulated the TSE for organizing a successful and productive meeting.