By: Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Si, The President Director of LPPOM MUI
Indonesia’s entry into the world free market, including the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, on the one hand, will benefit Indonesia because products from Indonesia can enter RCEP member countries. These countries include ten ASEAN countries plus five ASEAN partner countries, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
On the other hand, free market policies also allow goods from these countries to enter Indonesia, including food and beverage products, for example, from China, Japan, and South Korea, which can attract Indonesian consumers.
It’s no longer a secret that Indonesian consumers, especially millennials, love imported products from some countries. They make trends and follow the flow related to food and beverage products, fashion, and entertainment.
The flood of imported products, especially food and beverages from several countries, raises concerns. Moreover, these imported goods come from non-Muslim countries, whose concern for halal products is still relatively low, if not non-existent.
Therefore, through this Consultation rubric, we hope to submit some questions to LPPOM MUI as one of the stakeholders in the halal sector.
LPPOM MUI and MUI, together with the Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH), can strictly supervise the circulation of imported food products that still need to be certified. This needs to be done to protect the rights of Muslim consumers and implement the constitutional mandate, which emphasizes that the State guarantees the freedom of each citizen to embrace their religion and worship according to their faith and belief.
In the face of the large number of imported products from abroad, what should consumers do so that they do not fall for products that have not been certified halal, even if they turn out to be illegal?
Please respond and explain. Thank You.
Eko Supriyanto Mlati, Yogyakarta
Thank you for the review and questions regarding the halalness of imported products entering Indonesia. Your concern about the halalness of imported products circulating in Indonesia is, of course, very well-founded.
As a logical consequence of free trade, Indonesia must open its doors to the entry of goods, including food and beverage products, from foreign countries. The challenge is how we respond to this so that these imported products bring more significant benefits to us. It is not detrimental to society as business actors and consumers.
Specifically related to product halalness, the government has issued Act No. 33 of 2014 concerning Halal Products Assurance, which requires all products circulating in Indonesia to be halal. This halalness must be proven by a halal certificate issued by the Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH).
The mandatory halal provisions are enforced in stages. Based on Act No. 33 of 2014 and its derivatives, three groups of products must be halal-certified as the first phase ends, namely on October 17, 2024. The product groups are food and beverage products, raw materials, food additives, supporting materials for food products and beverages, slaughter products, and slaughter services.
Considering that the stages following the provisions of the Law have yet to end, there may still be food and beverage products on the market that still need to be halal certified. Therefore, consumers must be cautious in choosing consumption products, mainly imported products.
Some simple steps to avoid products that are not halal include checking whether there is a halal label on the packaging of the product we want to buy. Currently, many imported food or beverage products have been certified halal.
Buying imported packaged products directly at supermarkets or shops will make it easier for consumers to check the halal label they want to buy. It’s different when we order goods through online services. We can’t match the goods directly. Refrain from unquestioningly believing sellers’ statements, including online traders, before checking whether there is a halal label.
Another way is to read the composition of the ingredients on the packaging. Although it does not fully guarantee its halal status, the document of the ingredients is usually listed on the product packaging. If there are terms you can’t understand, it’s a good idea for consumers to ask those who understand better or look for explanations through search engines, such as Google.
This is the explanation we can convey. I hope that answers your question.