28 Aug 2015
NEW HALAL LAW MAKES HALAL CERTIFICATION MANDATORY
Until recently, halal certification was outside the ambit of state law in Indonesia. Certification processes were conducted on a voluntary basis by the Islamic Clergy Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia or MUI), a non-governmental institution. This changed with the enactment of Law No. 33 of 2014 concerning Halal Product Assurance on 29 September 2014. It redefines procedures to secure halal certificates by producers and importers and introduces a mechanism for issuing halal certificates by an authorised agency.
Based on the law, halal certification will be mandatory for most consumable products, including food and beverages, medicines, cosmetics, chemical products, biological products, genetically-engineered products to the extent such products are manufactured, imported, distributed and/or traded in the Indonesian customs area.
The agency that will have the authority to issue halal certificates will be the Halal Product Guarantee Agency (Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Produk Halal or BPJPH), which acts under and is accountable to the Minister of Religious Affairs. The BPJPH should be established within three years of the law being enacted. As long as the BPJPH has not been established, the MUI will remain authorized to issue halal certificates. Halal certificates that have already been issued by the MUI prior to the enactment of the law will remain applicable until expiry.
The verification process itself will be conducted by a third party called the Halal Inspection Institution (Lembaga Pemeriksa Halal or LPH), which may be establishment by the government and/or the people. It verifies the raw materials used, manufacturing process, packaging, distribution, sales and serving of products, thus determining whether products should be labelled “halal” or “non-halal”.
A halal certificate, once secured, is valid for four years and may be extended.
Products from overseas that already have halal certificates may be recognised as halal. However, such recognition requires cooperation between the certification bodies in Indonesia and abroad and the products must still be registered with the BPJPH.
A business operator who violates the law can be imposed with administrative sanctions and, in case the business operator fails to safeguard the halal status of a product that has already been certified as such, can be sentenced to a fine of maximum Rp. 2 billion or up to 5 years imprisonment.
Law No. 33 of 2014 requires the Indonesian government to issue implementing legislation within two years and effectively implement the law within five years after its enactment. This means that halal certification will be mandatory for all products circulated in Indonesia by 29 September 2019. (by: Gustaaf Reerink and Emir Nurmansyah)