Critical Point of Security on Meat Products from the Halal Certification Perspective

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By: Khaswar Syamsu and Tun Tedja Irawadi


Consuming halal and good food (halalan thayiban) is the command of Allah SWT and is part of worship to Him as set out in the Qur’an Surah Al Baqarah 168 and 172 which means: “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”(Al Baqarah 168).

O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” (Al Baqarah 172).

Basically, the law of origin of objects is mubah (permissible) as long as there is no argument that forbids it. Therefore, the amount of food and beverages that are halal consumed is very much compared to the forbidden. Only a few ingredients that are forbidden in the Qur’an and Hadith.

Some ingredients that are forbidden in the Al-Quran are found in Al Baqarah verse 173 which is a reference for determining the critical point of the prohibition of meat products. The same narrative is also found in the letter of Al Maidah 3; Al An’am 145; and An Nahl 115): “He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.“(Al Baqarah 173).

This verse becomes the basis of the critical point of the prohibition of meat products.

1. Carcasses

The first forbidden meat products are carcasses except for carcasses of aquatic animals and insects that do not have blood flowing like grasshoppers (Hadith). Carcasses are animals or animals that die without going through the slaughter process. These deaths can be caused by diseases such as anthrax in cattle or “tetelo” in chickens and other diseases; suffocated, beaten, fell, gore, beaten by wild animals and could not be slaughtered before they died.

Why is the carcass forbidden? As Muslims, of course, we must “sami’na wa atha’na”, that is, after hearing (knowing) the verse, we must obey what is forbidden by Allah SWT to eat it because it is definitely not good for humans. But scientifically there are some hidden lessons that can be revealed why the carcass is not good for consumption.

Animals that die due to illness certainly carry germs that can spread to humans who eat them, or breed and endemic in the process of storage and transportation before cooking. If the germs in the form of dormant spores, it may not die by heating in the usual cooking process. In addition, germs in these animals may also have produced metabolites in the form of toxic that cannot be lost due to heating in the cooking process.

Animals that die from suffocating, being hit, falling, gore, or being torn by wild animals and dying before they can be slaughtered, their blood will not come out of the animal’s body. Even if the dead animal is slaughtered, the heart has stopped to pump blood out of the body perfectly. As a result, blood will be stored in the tissue of meat to be consumed.

In the daily meat trade, especially chicken meat, it is often found chicken “tiren” (died yesterday). The process of chicken transportation from the farm to the slaughter industry (RPA) has the potential to cause the death of chickens on trips due to overheating, or by other causes.

If it is not handled properly, the dead chicken can be collected again by irresponsible people to be cleaned and resold. Usually, the appearance of “tiren” chicken is not fresh and there are blood spots on the meat tissue. To hide the appearance of different meat, illegal traders color the chicken so that it blurs the difference with fresh meat. Of course not every chicken meat stained is “tiren” chicken. When the carcass has mixed with fresh meat, it is difficult to detect it.

On a commercial or industrial scale, to facilitate the slaughter process and so as not to harm the slaughterer, stunning before slaughtering is common.

In the context of the slaughtering animal’s technique in the halal certification process, stunning in the process of slaughtering animals is critical. Stunning can be done physically by beating the head of an animal (using blunt bullets or beating using a bat) or using electricity (electrical stunning). For poultry, stunning is usually done by plunge the poultry head into water that is electrified (electrical stunning) or using gas (gas stunning).

The use of improper stunning has the potential to cause animals to die before being slaughtered so that the status is the same as that of a carcass or an animal that died from suffocation or being hit.

In the context of research to support the halal certification process, research is needed to authenticate meat from carcasses or dead animals not through the slaughter process. The remaining blood content in animal flesh tissue may be used as a measuring parameter to determine whether animals die from slaughter, or die without slaughtering. Besides that, research is also needed regarding the selection of technology and the right treatment to stunning so that the animal does not die due to the stunning process before being slaughtered.

2. Blood

Blood is a product or waste from animals that are forbidden to be consumed. Blood stores food starch as a result of the digestion of food by animals (metabolic products). Therefore, blood is a good medium for microbial growth, both of non-pathogenic microbes and pathogenic microbes (microbes that cause disease). Because of its high nutrient content, it is not surprising that sterile blood is also commonly used as a growth medium in a bioindustry that uses microbes.

Blood that comes out of the slaughtering process has the potential to be overgrown by microbes wildly that can cause disease in people who consume it or cause epidemics in the environment.

In daily life, many people consume frozen blood (marus). Naturally, the blood coming out of the slaughtering process will freeze itself in the wind because of the freezing material in the blood. Frozen blood (marus), which is similar to liver meat, is found on the market and is certainly forbidden for consumption. Therefore, it is necessary to socialize to the public about the prohibition of the “marus”.

In the world of the meat processing industry, blood is also commonly made into sausages. Cooked blood or dried blood added with filler is also called blood sausage or black pudding. In Germany, it is called Blutwurzt. Commonly used fillers include meat, fat, breadcrumb, and starch (sweet potato, barley, and oatmeal). Blood can also be used to give color or additional ingredients to sausages.

In microbial industries (bioindustry), sterile blood can also be used as a medium for microbial growth. In connection with research to support halal certification, a method is needed to detect the addition of blood to processed meat products.

3. Pig

An animal that are strictly forbidden in the Qur’an is the pig. Pig is not only forbidden in the Islamic religion, but the prohibition of the pig is also written in the Old Testament book (the Torah or Old Testament). Therefore, Jews also “forbid” (not Kosher) to consume pork.

In the halal certification process, the pig’s prohibition is clear. There is no restaurant that serves pork or industries that produce pork processing products that apply for halal certification. But the issue of halal arises when there is a process of mixing pork or lard (adulteration) to halal animal meat for economic purposes. Therefore laboratory testing for the purpose of authenticating materials using various methods is a necessity. Research studies on new techniques and methods that are faster, more efficient, accurate and inexpensive are subject to research in the Center for Halal Studies at Universities or Research Institutions.

The use of derivatives from the pig farming industry as additives or processing aids in various food industries, medicines and cosmetics is very much. This is one of the causes of industrial products to be doubtful so that a halal certification process is needed to ensure halalness of the industrial products. For example, lard is the main source for shortening and emulsifiers in various industries in countries with high consumption of pork. Likewise, gelatin from pork skin and bone as a drug capsule material, texturizer, and soft candy; insulin hormone and protease enzymes (pepsin and trypsin) from the pancreas and stomach pigs, etc.

Some people often question that the Qur’an verse mentions “lahmal khinziir” (pork), its that means, the flesh is haram. What about fat, skin, bones, fur, etc.? In practice, it is very difficult to separate fat, skin, fur from pork. Because pork is judged as unclean, the contact with heavy unclean also gives effects in the prohibition of the material that comes into contact with the heavy unclean. Therefore, the MUI Fatwa Commission states that other components besides pork and products which are derivatives of pork are also haram ingredients.

In commercial practice, it is often found mixing meat from halal animals with pork, or using derivative products from pigs as additives or processing aids in the food, beverage and cosmetics industries. Therefore, research support or testing related to the authentication of products mixed with or contaminated by pork and pork derivative products is a necessity to support halal certification. In addition, research studies seeking other halal materials to substitute ingredients from pigs and their derivatives are important to implement.

4. Animals slaughtered by mentioning names other than Allah.

Animals slaughtered by the name other than Allah are basically animals slaughtered to offer to idols or other worship. This practice violates the most basic principle of the religion of Islam, namely “tauhid”. The question arises, what if the slaughter does not say anything? Is the status haram or syubhat?

A hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim. states that “(Something) that is lawful is clear and that which is haram is also clear, and between them, there is a Syubhat case (vague). Whoever keeps himself from the matter which is grateful means that he has safeguarded his religion and honor. Whoever falls in syubhat means he has fallen in haram things.” [Narrated by Bukhari No. 2051 and Muslim No. 1599]

Because halal certification is basically clarifying something whose status is concerned, the MUI Fatwa Commission agrees that this verse is translated as “Animals slaughtered without mentioning the name of Allah”. Or more explicitly is “Animals slaughtered by not following the method of slaughtering animals in Islam”.

Islam as a perfect religion and the way of life has governed all aspects of human life and its interactions with nature, including with animals. Islam through the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad taught how to slaughter animals, ranging from pre-slaughter, slaughter, and post-slaughter. Therefore, animal slaughter for halal certification purposes must follow the guidelines outlined by sharia in accordance with the Qur’an and Hadith.

In the context of research support for halal certification, until now there has not been found a laboratory technique or method that can distinguish between syar’i slaughter and reading Basmalah by slaughtering non-syar’i without reading Basmalah or slaughtering for obeisance to worship. Therefore, for the halal certification process, the slaughterhouse must implement a Halal Guarantee System, which one of the criteria requires a Halal Management Team to supervise the implementation of the Halal Slaughter SOP internally, and Internal Audit to evaluate the implementation of the Halal Guarantee System periodically to ensure consistency and continuity of implementation. The standard of syar’i slaughter in the RPH.

5. Emergency

Islam was revealed not to cause trouble for mankind. The application of Islam is actually easy, but also should not be made easy to break the rules outlined. In the context of the prohibition of meat products, the verses cited above are terminated with an emergency condition that allows consumption of illegitimate products in the case of an emergency, namely in a forced state, but the actual conscience does not want it and does not exceed the limit. The end of the verse closes with the statement that “Allah is the Most Forgiving Most Merciful” in the hope that Allah will forgive His servants who consume the material which is haram because of the emergency situation.

In Indonesia, such cases have occurred in the process of certifying meningitis vaccines. At one time, there was only one producer of meningitis vaccine who supplied the meningitis vaccine to Indonesia. The results of the audit found that there was involvement of material from pig derivatives in one process step that caused the product to be illegitimate.

But, because meningitis vaccines are a condition for obtaining a Hajj and Umrah visa and there are no other alternatives that are lawful, the status becomes an emergency. Therefore, the MUI Fatwa Commission states that the vaccine able to use, even though it is haram. Sometimes, several other producers received halal certification for the meningitis vaccine they produced.

Because there are halal alternatives, the emergency status falls. The MUI Fatwa Commission then revoked the emergency status for the use of the haram meningitis vaccine because there was an alternative halal meningitis vaccine. Wallahualam.


1 Prof. Ir. Khaswar Syamsu, MSc. Ph.D. (Head of Halal Science Center IPB) and LPPOM MUI Expert Coordinator.)

2 Prof. Dr. Ir. Tun Tedja Irawadi, MS. (Member of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Halal Science Studies (Halal Science Center) IPB and Supervisory Member of LPPOM MUI)


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