Around 88% of Indonesia’s over 270 million in population are Muslims, making it a country with the largest Muslim population in the world. It is little wonder that Halal, the Islamic term for “permissible” is an unavoidable standard that needs to be guaranteed for Indonesian citizens. The Indonesian government has placed specific rules pertaining to halal certification through Law No. 33/2014 on Halal product.
In the international level, the definition of halal can be found in the FAO General Guidelines for Use of the Term “Halal”. According to Article 2 of this general guideline, Halal Food refers to food permitted under the Islamic Law and should fulfil the following conditions:
- Does not consist of or contain anything which is considered to be unlawful according to Islamic Law (also known as Haram under the same Islamic terminology);
- Has not been prepared, processed, transported or stored using any appliance or facility that was not free from anything unlawful according to Islamic Law; and
- Has not in the course of preparation, processing, transportation or storage been in direct contact with any food that fails to satisfy point 1 and 2.
- Halal food can be prepared, processed or stored in different sections or lines within the same premises where non-halal foods are produced, provided that necessary measures are taken to prevent any contact between halal and non-halal foods;
- Halal food can be prepared, processed, transported or stored using facilities which have been previously used for non-halal foods provided that proper cleaning procedures, according to Islamic requirements, have been observed.
According to Law No. 33/2014, the Halal Product Assurance Implementing Board (Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Produk Halal or BPJPH) is authorized to implement Halal Product assurance, including but not limited to halal certification. The BPJPH will also cooperate with relevant ministries and/or agencies, Halal Examination Bodies (Lembaga Pemeriksa Halal or LPH), and The Indonesian Council of Ulama (Majelis Ulama Indonesia or MUI). A Halal Certificate is usually valid for 4 years, unless there is a change to the product composition.
Therefore, It is common in Indonesia for companies to apply for Halal certification. Prior to the registration of such a certificate, it is imperative that the company employ a Halal Supervisor in order to conduct the required activities in ensuring the Halal-ness of products and production process. The requirements for Halal Supervisor are: (a) he/she is a Moslem; (b) has a broad insight and understand the Shari'a about halal; (c) he/she is appointed by the company management and reported to BPJPH.
Upon the receipt of Halal certificate, the company is required to: (a) include Halal Label on products that have received Halal Certificates; (b) maintain the halalness of products that have obtained a Halal Certificate; (c) separate the location, place and slaughter, processing equipment, storage, packaging, distribution, sale and presentation of Halal and non-halal products; (d) renew the Halal Certificate when the Halal Certificate validity period ends; and (e) report every changes in Material composition to BPJPH. The Halal label needs to be attached to product packaging and certain and/or specific parts of product. It must be easy to see and read and not easily erased, removed and tampered with.
Omnibus Law Changes on Halal Certification
Based on the recently passed Omnibus Law, there are certain modifications to the halal product assurance regulation, such as:
- A clearer timeframe: The duration of the halal certification process may take approximately 20 working days from the verification to the issuance of the halal certificate and the process itself can be described, as follows:
Illustration of Registration Procedure for Halal Products
- A simplified Process: the LPH required to submit the results of inspection directly to the MUI instead of through BPJPH to shorten the regulatory process, and is given a 3-day timeline to issue the fatwa. However, the inspection result must be shared with the BPJPH and in the case that the MUI refused to issue a halal fatwa within the time frame, the BPJH can issue one in the MUI’s stead;
- Renewal Certificate: For the renewal of halal certificates, the Omnibus Law provides that BPJPH may directly issue the renewed halal certificates for products if business actors provide a statement letter stating that there is no change to the content of the certified product;
- Leniency for LPH: The LPH may ask the BPJPH for a deadline extension for the inspection/examination process. The Omnibus Law does not allow the BPJPH to take over the halal certification process should the LPH fails to finish the process within the time limit. If the LPH fails to finish the halal certification process within the time limit, the LPH will be subject to an evaluation and/or receive administrative sanctions. Also, Islamic institution entity, a private university under an Islamic institution entity or an Islamic foundation entity may established an LPH.
- A more dynamic roles for MUI: The Omnibus Law removes the requirement for halal auditors to obtain certification from the MUI nor for LPHs to receive accreditation from the MUI. On the other hand, the MUI is still relevant as the Omnibus Law effectively makes the MUI an implementing body for halal certification under the coordination of the BPJPH.