Updated: Feb 25, 2018
DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) recently held a dialogue with food business operators to clear the air on matters pertaining to the procedures involved in attaining a Halal certification and permit. The dialogue was held at the Design and Technology Building in Kampong Anggerek Desa.
An amendment to the Certificate and Halal Label Amendment Order 2017 – Brunei’s Halal regulation, which was enforced on May 26, 2017, means that all businesses in the country that produce, supply and serve food and beverages are required to obtain a Halal certification, or risk being fined up to $8,000.
This means that any business dealing with consumption products – such as restaurants, food factories or home-based food business – are now required to apply for the certification.
Panel members at the dialogue included Javed Ahmad, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of DARe; and Haji Mohammad Hadilah bin Haji Abdul Manaf, Scientific Officer from the Halal Food Control Division (BKMH), Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA).
The Halal certifying body in Brunei is the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and the Halal Food Control Division. The Secretariat of MUIB, meanwhile, is the party responsible for the enforcement of the Halal Meat Act 183 and its meat rules; the Halal Certificate; and Halal Label Order (2005).
On the requirements for Halal certification, it was explained that the law states that any person who owns a business to prepare food for human consumption in a place other than a product processing facility shall apply to MUIB for a Halal certificate.
Applicants shall apply for each type of business and each business place under the same management (ie a branch). However, applicants may only apply for the Halal certification for businesses under the following categories: services-logistics, retailing and warehousing.
On the Halal label, the amendment read that any person who owns a business to prepare food in a product processing facility shall apply to the MUIB for a permit and comply with any requirements as the MUIB may determine.
Applicants dealing in the retail of products for consumption – including pharmaceuticals, health supplements and traditional medicines – are also advised to apply for a Halal permit for each product.
For businesses dealing with the sale or production/manufacture of non-food products – for example cosmetics, consumer goods, or non-oral pharmaceutical products, application for the Halal certification is not compulsory.
The obtaining of the Halal certificate involves six steps (in order): submission of the application form, a Halal supervisor test, audit/inspection, evaluation of report by the committee, approval by MUIB, and issuance of certificate.
Application forms can be obtained at the Application Counter of the Halal Food Control Division, Ground Floor, Department of Syariah Affairs at the MoRA, or at any of its branches in all four districts.
Documents required during the application process include, among others, a list of products/menu, list of ingredients for each product, product flowchart and Halal Critical Control point (Halal CCP), Halal certificate/Halal declaration for ingredients, specification of packaging, premises floor plan, and location plan of business premises.
Each business must also have under hire two Halal Muslim supervisors who possess basic knowledge on Hukum Syarak and product handling ethics, and at least one Halal supervisor must be present at the business premises at all times.
Another important step in the Halal certificate application is the auditing procedure implemented under Chapter 18 of the ‘Halal Certificate and Halal Label’ – this will also include auditing at the applicant’s premises. This procedure requires documents on audit adequacy, on-site audit, and a follow-up auditing, if necessary.
The audit group members will comprise a team of auditors from the Halal Food Control Division: two religious officers and one technical officer.
The next stage is the consideration of reports presented by the auditors to the inspection committee; these reports will then be passed on to the MUIB and other relevant bodies.
Examples of issues that will be grounds for violation of the Halal certification are: premises not properly cleaned and exposed to contamination; usage of ingredients not listed in the approved Halal list; improper storage of food and chemicals (in terms of food safety); and no segregation between ingredients, cooking utensils and personal items, especially for home-based businesses.
The issuance of a Halal certificate will require a payment of $90 for each business premises, while the Halal permit involves a payment of $50 for each product (permit will last a lifetime). The issuing of these certificates and permits will take 45 days under the Client’s Charter (TPOR).
Penalties for failing to apply for the Halal certification in the preparation of food, or Halal permit for food production facilities will be a fine not exceeding $8,000, or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both. Further fines not exceeding $100 per day will be levied for continuing offences.
A fine not exceeding $4,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both, will also be levied on offences such as the exhibition of expired certificates at places of business, alteration to Halal certificates and Halal permits, and not complying with or refusing entry or obstructing an enforcement officer.
It is additionally an offence for establishments or businesses to label their premises or products with the wordings ‘Halal,’ ‘Ditanggung Halal’ or ‘Makanan Islam’ or any other similar expression – other than the official Halal label – indicating or likely to be understood that Muslims are permitted to dine at the establishments or consume the labeled food items.
The penalty for such an offence is a fine not exceeding $8,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.