Australia has had as many as 55 recognised halal certifiers (permitted by the grace and arrangement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). We currently have 33 halal certifiers which have formed into two main groups:
(1) Islamic incorporated associations (15 certifiers)
(2) Private companies or businesses (18 certifiers)
Some Islamic associations have also formed companies (Pty Ltd) or have registered business names for the purpose of running their halal certification as businesses. This is necessary to profit from the gains because incorporated associations are meant to be not-for-profit club or community groups.
The ATO will be most interested to see how these not-for-profit associations/religious bodies have arranged their affairs and whether the funds funnelled from Pty Limited companies are arranged so they make ‘no’ profit via non-profit bodies and tax-free religious charities and structures.
Each of these 33 separate halal certifiers has different halal labels, different standards, different qualifications (if any at all), different market accreditation and different motives. It’s very cumbersome and confusing. This is by no means a complete list and some may no longer be certifying at time of publication.
The incorporated associations are:
Islamic Society of ACT
Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Inc
Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia Inc
Muslim Association of Riverina Wagga Wagga Inc
Islamic Council of Victoria Inc
Al-Iman Islamic Society Inc
Australian Islamic Foods Organisation Inc
The Adelaide Mosque Islamic Association of South Australia Incorporated
Islamic Society of South Australia Inc
Halal Supervisory Board of South Australia for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Islamic Council of Western Australia Inc
The Islamic Council of Geraldton
The Islamic Association of Katanning
Perth Mosque Inc
Islamic Society of Northern Territory
The company and business entities are:
Australian Halal Food Services Pty Ltd
Australian Halal Development and Accreditation (AHDAA) Pty Ltd
Australian Halal Certifications Pty Ltd
Halal Certification Council Pty Ltd
Gold Coast Halal Certification Services (registered business name)
NEW SOUTH WALES
Halal Australia Pty Ltd (NSW)
Halal Certification Authority Pty Ltd
Taqwa Halal certification Pty Ltd
Human Appeal International Limited
Australian Halal Meat Services (registered business name)
The United Arab Moslem Association Limited
Australian Federation Of Islamic Co-Ordinating Councils Pty Ltd
Global Halal Trade Centre Pty Ltd, Preston
Islamic Coordinating Council of Victoria Pty Ltd
Australian Halal Authority Advisers Pty Ltd
Western Australia Halal Authority Pty Ltd
Western Australia Halal Authority Pty Ltd
Halal Meat Board of Western Australia, (registered business name),
Halal-Sadiq Services (registered business name),
Australia has 500,000 Muslims (2.2% of 23 million people) and 33 known halal certifying bodies.
Indonesia has 210 million Muslims (84% of 250 million people) and one halal certifying body. As does Malaysia (and all other Islamic countries for that matter) and all are government bodies.
It is absurd that Australia has allowed the proliferation of so many halal moneymen with the same motive (to tax Australian businesses) costing the Australian consumer millions a year.
“Halal Advocates of America” reported on the Australian certifiers:
“Because Australia exports meat to America, a group of concerned American halal advocates decided to conduct research on Australian Halal meat and personally visit the major halal slaughterhouses in Australia which export to America. Mufti Abdullah Nana of California and Mufti Ikramul Haq of Rhode Island visited over ten slaughterhouses in Australia from Oct. 25, 2009 until Nov. 11, 2009 and also visited with Australian halal certifiers.
“Australia is one of the largest meat exporters in the world and is a world leader in halal production. One of its largest export markets is the United States of America, and Australian meat is widely sold all over America in numerous butchers, restaurants, and retailers.
“There are multiple halal certifying bodies in Australia, and they vary in their degree of reliability and trustworthiness. Some certifying bodies have a full-time staff and carry out regular inspections because of their close proximity to the plant, whereas other certifying bodies are run only by one person who is sometimes thousands of miles from the slaughterhouse he is certifying.”
The ad hoc, unregulated halal certification market in Australia adds pressure for halal certifiers to add more “halal” items to the growing list.
Multiple halal certification players create an environment of unwieldy and unethical competition.
And as that competition becomes increasingly fierce, the halal moneymen are forced to look further afield to maintain their profits.
More items are listed, competitors eye each other’s lists, they copy the ever-increasing additions to the lists and then add them to their own. This has created an unprecedented proliferation of items that are now being halal certified… most are ridiculous.
The list grows, and the market has spread to plastics, mascara and toothpicks. Once Islamic opportunists learn of the available free gold, more and more certifiers get in on the act. It’s a cycle that feeds off itself, while the hapless, powerless consumer stands by watching his rights being violated and his pockets being picked.
THE GROWING LIST YOU WON’T FIND IN THE QUR’AN
The following is an example of the growing list of products you won’t find in the Qur’an or Islamic teachings, but on the ‘Halal Helpline’ website run by Australian halal moneyman Mohamed El Mouelhy (yep, his name keeps popping up for some reason) from the one-man show, ‘Halal Certification Authority Pty Limited’
ADDITIVES IN FOOD
By Mohamed El-Mouelhy
(you will have to excuse the misspelling and grammar)
“As you will see in the following examples, there is more to ingredients then meet the eye, and certifying these goods take expertise and know how, not of Islamic Shariah or chemistry alone, but of food technology, preparation and production as well. Halal Certification Authority' uncompromising attitude on the Halal Certification puts it ahead of its class because of Total Quality Management of Halal Certification systems it has place.” (sic)
Stearic acid can be extracted from animal as well as vegetable fats it is used extensively in emulsifiers that are in turn used in many foods.
"ANTI FOAMING AGENTS
To reduce or prevent the excessive frothing and to reduced scum forming when boiling, anti foaming agents such as silicone substances are used here, sometime mixed with animal substances. This is evident in the making of jams and in glucose manufacture.
"CARBOHYDRATE MODIFIED FOODS
In these foods the sugar is replaced by glycerin or hydrogenated glucose syrup among other substances.
These are not always acceptable, for example, food with added Bone Phosphate, Casein or Lactose must he checked. Whey protein and cheese may be contaminated with unacceptable rennet.
These chemicals are used to mix hydrophobic ingredients with water. The manufacture of some emulsifiers must be under supervision to ensure that animal substances are not used.
These catalysts are used in a variety of foods. In cheese, Chymosin from calf rennet is used. Other milk coagulants include Bovine Rennet and Bovine/Porcine Pepsin blends.
Halal Chymosin and microbial enzymes that have their DNA genetically engineered are the only acceptable enzymes for cheese making.
Food flavours may contain alcohol as a solvent. Also animal fats are used because of their organoleptic effect on flavours. Other non acceptable products are extracted from human hair in some countries.
Some substances of non Halal animal origin are added like Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (481) or Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate (482).
These substances are used in stabilising capacity, like Gelatine from animal collagen and Isinglass from fish. Collagen must come from Halal skins and/or bones, Collagen from Porcine skins and bones are also used mixed with Bovine Collagen, this can happen during manufacture or storage, either on purpose, through negligence or through inadvertent contamination due to lax in the security system employed at the factory.
Some fruit, specially apples are glazed to enhance their appearance, in this case animal fat is used mixed with a resin to give the required eye appeal. Also Gelatine is used to glaze Hors d'Oeuvres, Canapes Cold Meats and Chaud Froid works by chefs in the top hotels.
Glycerine is added to prevent drying or hardening as in icing and Italian meringue mixtures.
Alcohol is used to extract flavours, remove oils from seeds or to disperse substances in solutions and suspensions.
Gelatine is used to stop food from separating or to reduce coalescence by increasing the viscosity of the liquid.
If you thought these are always Halal, think again! These carbohydrates are made of two polymers, Amylose and Amylopectin, both in turn, are made of Anhydroglucose units. Some manufacturers add caseinates to Amylose starch to increase the rate of gelation.
After animal fats have been rendered, vegetable fats are processed in he same machinery! In some factories, where continuous production is taking place, the contaminated fat is not separated, while in others, the first batch, called the flush, is separated but used in other products without concern! Cloudy liquid oils are sometimes used as a flush and added to oil blends.
It is no use making sure the goods are Halal when the cleaning material is not.
When all is said and done, the packaging material must be checked and certified to make sure no animal grease, specially pork fat, has been used in the packaging material thus rendering the goods contaminated.
Some inks contain animal based fatty acids. These inks may be used on the food directly or may come into contact with the product at some stage.
From the above one can see that some things are not what they seem to be. The only way to ensure that the product you are buying or selling is Halal is by ensuring it is certified by Halal Certification Authority-Australia, the most experienced certifiers of processed food in Australia today."
The above is nothing more than a nonsensical list Mr El-Mouelhy has creatively extended, with the help of a dictionary, to increase his range of taxable items.
Let’s take a look at an alternative interpretation from an Islamic cleric and scholar (remember El Mouelhy is neither an Islamic scholar nor food scientist).
CONCEPT OF ‘ISTIHALAH’ (potentially unclean but in fact halal)
After pig-based gelatin was suspected to have been found in Cadbury chocolates in Malaysia in May of last year, Professor Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, a Malaysian mufti, stated that, “…if gelatin or DNA derived from pigs has gone through a process of transformation, based on the Islamic principle of istihalah, it is halal”.
Mufti, Zainul Abidin, agreed with Islamic scholar Dr Yusuf Al-Qardhawi, when he said: “I say this is not such a big issue as there is no consensus on this particular topic amongst Muslim scholars themselves.
"If one uses the concept of ‘istihalah’", elaborating on Dr Yusuf’s argument, the Mufti explained that, "something considered unclean can be in fact halal".
He noted, “The substance should be judged through its new characteristics, so after something unclean has gone through a process and has lost its original characteristics it would not be judged through its original nature because it has truly changed."
He gave the analogy of fertilisers employed for growing bananas:
“It does not mean that a banana is unclean because the fertiliser used to grow it was unclean. Bananas are halal”, he explained.
He also cited types of wine alcohol when converted into vinegar; or the carcass of an animal that had been dissolved into salt or soil. The same argument is used by the European Fatwa Council, Al-Qaradawi, and al-Zuhaili Wahbah.
Their views on pig DNA are now widely quoted regarding the manufacturing of food and goods world-wide. “When something dirty has gone through a process that cleanses it from its original nature, it will not be evaluated because it has been transformed into something else.”
It appears that Islamic lawyers treat El Mouelhy’s chemistry lesson as a load of transformed fertiliser.
Remember halal was devised 1400 years ago to ensure a degree of food cleanliness when hygienic processing of foodstuffs and refrigeration were non-existent.
Today however Australia is bound by the strictest of government standards applied to food hygiene and procedures. Our laws regarding purity of food and cleanliness are the most stringent in the word.
We don’t need self-appointed religious flim flam men lecturing us on whether our food is clean enough for them (and us) to eat. Of course it is! The irony is that dodgy foods are more likely to originate from Islamic countries.
Our standards are already in place to protect all food consumers – Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
All Muslims can eat all our available foods as long as they avoid pork and alcohol – which they all know about and already avoid.
All supermarket meat is now halal (except pork) because, for management reasons, it’s easier for abattoirs and supermarkets not to differentiate.
It’s rare to become ill from Australian produced foods.
Food handlers in Australia work in the strictest of environments, wearing gloves, hair covers and operating theatre-like uniforms, in sealed rooms for Christ’s sake. And we need to give money to an unqualified Mr El Mouelhy so he can “certify” it is a clean environment without even going there?
Recent berry and tuna food scares in Australia have come from imported foods, not locally produced foods.
The recent berry (Hepatitis A) and tuna (scombroid food poisoning) occurred in natural halal food sources. Berries are halal. Tuna (scaled fish) is halal. They do not need halal certification.
Even if fruit and tuna were halal certified, Muslims would not be protected from hepatitis-infected food sourced from China or dodgy tuna sourced from Thailand.
The list and comments by El Mouelhy regarding ‘food additives’ is the sales talk of a marketeer.
He does not quote from the Qur’an or Hadith for good reason. This list is not found in Islamic teachings, he invented it to expand his range of taxable items.
Mr El Mouelhy was refused accreditation for halal certification by one of the world’s pre-eminent Islamic certifying bodies, Indonesia's MUI. It has refused him accreditation because he is neither an Islamic scholar nor a food scientist.
He has also been refused accreditation in all other major meat importing Islamic countries including Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. Therefore he needs to certify items like toothpaste and olive oil to maintain his income.
Incredibly, Mr El Mouelhy admitted to SBS in mid February he doesn’t even know what Sharia law is. Here’s what he said in regard to a defamation court case he has launched against halal certification critics:
“Well they have said that I’m dishonest, or that I’m using the money that I’m taking to support terrorists, or that I’m actually working to install Sharia law – whatever that is – in Australia, and to Islamise Australia. These are the stupid things that people are saying.”
In an interview for the ABC’s The Drum program he states, “They are claiming …that I am trying to bring Sharia law. There is no such thing in Islam called Sharia law by the way.”
Yet, one of his competitors, The Islamic Council of Queensland states the opposite:
“The Islamic Council of Queensland (ICQ) implements the Halal Certification Program with a view to ensuring that all food outlets in Queensland certified as ‘halal’ abide by the requirements of Shariah law.”
Funny how an unscholarly Mr El Mouelhy seems to consistently disagree with Islamic scholars.
Wikipedia tells us:
Sharia law (Arabic) is the body of Islamic law. The term means "way" or "path"; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.
Sharia deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, conflict, economics, banking, penal and punishment decrees, business and contractual law, and myriad social issues including marriage and how women and children can be treated (we already know about a few of those practices that escape Australia’s sovereign laws). There is no separation of religion and State that we abide by.
Sharia is more like a system of several laws, based on the Qu’ran, Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent. It also includes dietary laws.
Despite his claimed lack of awareness of Sharia law (which includes halal) in the preamble to his list, Mr El Mouelhy portrays his company as "The Authority” in Islamic Sharia and food technology.
He claims his list puts him “ahead of its class”, but in fact his list puts his business outside of the Qur’an, Hadiths and the edicts of all Islamic scholars. Muslims of standing treat El Mouelhy as a dishonest charlatan and I have unearthed a mountain of evidence in future Parts of this article that shows he certainly is.
El Mouelhy’s Helpline appears to be a line to helping himself?
Muslims have survived in good health and in good faith with their religion for 1400 years without halal certification, abiding by what they already knew.
If in doubt about what to eat, say a prayer (bismillah) over the food and it is instantly halal. No fees have been required for 1400 years and no fees should be required today.
Next: NOTHING TO DO WITH EXPORTS