Auditor of LPPOM MUI, Professional and Integrity

Halal auditors who are competent in the science of industrial materials are needed to provide correct and accurate information and input so that the MUI Fatwa Commission is not mistaken in making a fatwa on the halalness of a product.

In today’s modern era which industrial technology is increasingly advanced, a product made by the industry is not as simple as in the past. The industrial manufacturing process involves many materials, including additives and processing aids. 

The main ingredients, additives, and auxiliary materials have the potential to come from illegal materials. These materials, of course, can only be known by people who do understand the knowledge of industrial materials.

For this reason, a halal auditor who is competent in the science of industrial materials (food and beverage industry, medicines, and cosmetics) is needed to provide correct and accurate information and input so that the MUI Fatwa Commission is not mistaken in issuing a fatwa on the halalness of a product.

Prof. Dr. Ir. Khaswar Syamsu, M.Sc as the LPPOM MUI Expert Team who is also a Lecturer at the Department of Agroindustrial Technology, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, IPB University. Also, he, as the Head of the IPB Halal Science Study Center, shared his opinion on halal auditors. Here’s an excerpt from the interview: 

How important is the role of halal auditors in the halal certification process? 

Halal auditors have a critical role in the halal certification process. The function is to audit materials and industrial facilities and provide information and input to the MUI Fatwa Commission in the form of audit reports as material for the MUI Fatwa Commission to issue a fatwa on the halalness of a material/product. Halal auditors should not be wrong in providing information.

The auditor’s examination report must be extra careful. Must it be correct, ideally? 

Errors in providing input or information to the MUI Fatwa Commission will cause errors for MUI in issuing a fatwa on the halalness of a material or product. Confidence (haqqul yaqin) on the product based on a halal audit comes from the results of a review of data and supporting documents (‘ilm yaqin) as well as direct observation of facts in the field in the form of direct observations and interviews on-site (‘ainul yaqin).  

These data and facts are written in the audit report and presented in the auditor meeting forum for rechecking and cross-checking by other auditors before the MUI Fatwa Commission. All steps that require these competencies must be carried out properly, safely, and responsibly by all and every halal auditor.

What competencies must a halal auditor possess so that they can perform their duties properly, safely, and responsibly? 

The government has determined the competencies that must be possessed by halal auditors, which are stated in SKKNI Number 266 of 2019 concerning Halal Auditor Work Positions. An auditor must be competent in making preparations, conducting pre-inspection, carrying out inspections, and reporting the results of assessments of materials and processes of halal products.  

In addition to integrity, general competencies that must be met are knowledge of Islamic law relating to product halalness, statutes and regulations regarding halal product assurance, and specific knowledge of materials and process technology in the industry.

Basic knowledge of these materials can be possessed by graduates of at least S-1 from relevant departments, such as Food and Nutrition, Food Technology, Agriculture, Agricultural Technology, Agricultural Industrial Technology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Industrial Technology, Pharmacy, Livestock, Fisheries, Veterinary Medicine and others.

According to your observations, how has LPPOM MUI managed its auditors so far? 

It is excellent. Along with the time and experience, LPPOM MUI works its auditors from time to time. For example, since knowledge in the food and beverage, medicine, and cosmetics industries is also developing continuously, LPPOM MUI periodically provides enlightenment and enrichment of knowledge and experience on creating new knowledge related to the food and beverage, drug, and cosmetic industries. Thus, the auditors stay up to date on new developments so that their knowledge is not left behind in the halal certification process.

As a senior auditor at LPPOM MUI, how do you perform the mandate? 

Since an auditor intends to practice the gift of knowledge possessed in Allah’s way, the audit experience is more joy than sorrow. Through audits and/or training that accompanies the audit, auditors can provide knowledge to companies on the requirements for the production of halal products, knowledge of halal and haram ingredients, provide management guidance on the implementation of the Halal Assurance System, and so on.

On the other hand, auditors also learn from the company and gain practical knowledge and experience to complement what is already known theoretically. If you are not auditing the company, entering the factory may not be easy to see the ongoing production process. In audits, auditors are even invited to come, inspect materials and facilities, and witness the ongoing production process.

Is there a sad story? 

Unfortunately, in the early days of LPPOM MUI, before there were clear rules for managing auditors, the auditors often went out of town before dawn, then immediately audited and returned late at night. Even if the audit is abroad, the company looks for cheap planes that depart at midnight, then arrive at the audit destination directly without taking a break.  

An audit at the factory requires a fair physical condition because sometimes they have to go up and downstairs in the factory without an elevator to see the production process comprehensively. It can be imagined how tired they are and even they don’t get enough sleep on the plane, go straight to work and sometimes even eat lunch on the way on a car or train since the company wants to finish as soon as possible to keep costs down.

That was the past. How about the present? 

Yes, we used to think of it as a sacrifice in the halal struggle. Now, conditions are much better. Everything has been arranged very clearly. Moreover, with the certification of halal auditor competence, halal auditors have been valued as a profession recognized by the National Professional Certification Agency and other professionals. (FMS)  

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