Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Application of Halalan Tayyiban in the Standard Reference for Determining Malaysian Halal Food

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Application of Halalan Tayyiban in the Standard Reference for Determining Malaysian Halal Food

Article excerpt

Abstract

The increase number of cases on the misuse of halal logo and questionable status of halal food has raised many concerns among the Muslim consumers regarding the status of halal food in Malaysia. The various reports on the issues of fraud in halal food also indicate that there are weaknesses in the procedure of determining halal food. In this case, an investigation on the procedures and standard reference used by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) to determine halal food in Malaysia needs to be conducted in order to gain the consumer's trust and confidence on JAKIM's logo. This study advocates that the concept of halalan tayyiban should be used as the framework to determine halal products as it considers both the physical and spiritual benefits of the food to mankind. So far, it has not been proven that the standard references used by JAKIM are consistent with this concept. Specifically, this study aimed to investigate the application of halalan tayyiban in the standards and procedures used by JAKIM to determine halal food in Malaysia. For this purpose, a framework for determining halal food based on the concept of halalan tayyiban has been developed. Four main standard references used by JAKIM, namely the Malaysian Standard MS 1500, MS 1480, MS 1514, Halal Food Manual Procedures, Food Acts 1983 and Food Regulations 1985 were then analysed based on the developed framework. Additionallly, semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected key personnel from JAKIM to verify the application of halalan tayyiban in the procedure of issuing halal food certification. This study revealed that the standard references used by JAKIM were consistent with the concept of halalan tayyiban. The practice taken by JAKIM's personnel to issue the halal food certification also conformed to the concept of halalan tayyiban. It can be concluded that JAKIM has applied the concept of halalan tayyiban in determining halal food in Malaysia. These findings help to improve the consumers' confidence on the food determined as halal by JAKIM. They also contribute to development of the well-being and sustainability of a community, especially the Muslim community.

Keywords: halalan tayyiban, halal food certification, Malaysian standards

1. Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Islam has outlined specific guidelines for its people when making decision on which food and drink to be consumed. In general, foods identified as halal are permissible to be consumed, whereas foods identified as haram should be avoided by the Muslims. The guidelines to determine halal food are based on the concept of halal and goodness (tayyib) which refers to clean, pure, safe, harmless and high quality (al-Qurtubi, n. d.; al-Tabari, n. d.; al-Suyuti, 1990; Ibn 'Ashur, 1984). In al-Quran, the term halal is frequently expressed by the term al-tayyib or al-tayyibat, as stated in surah al-Baqarah (2) verse 168, surah al-Ma'idah (5) verse 88, surah al-Anfal (8) verse 69 and surah al-Nahl (16) verse 114. These verses clearly explain that any food considered halal must conform to the conditions expressed in the meaning of halal and tayyib (Sharifah Zannierah et al., 2012).

Halal food in Malaysia is determined based on the issuance of halal certificate by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM). Generally, JAKIM is entrusted with the responsibility to issue of the halal status for local products, foreign manufacturing and processing plants intending to export their halal products to Malaysia. Besides JAKIM, the State Islamic Religious Department (JAIN) and State Islamic Religious Council (MAIN) are given the authority to issue the halal certificates for domestic market (JAKIM, 2012). The issuance of halal food certificate involves several procedures performed by the syariah and technical auditors from JAKIM. According to JAKIM (2012), the responsibility to determine the halal status of the products involved not only on the official site inspection of plants, but also the examination on how the halal status of the raw material is maintained and monitored at all times. …

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