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Halal Supply Chain Management from a Science Perspective

By: Prof. Khaswar Syamsu, Ph.D

Professor of the Department of Agricultural Industrial Technology, IPB

Head of the IPB Halal Science Study Center

LPPOM MUI Expert Coordinator

Eating halal food and drinks is a command of Allah. Among others, it is listed in the Qur’an (QS. Al-Baqarah 168) to all humankind as a form of worship and proof of obedience to Him. In the perspective of human rights, consuming halal products is a human right for Muslims around the world, whose population worldwide in 2016 was more than 2.06 billion, or more than 28% of the earth’s population.

In Indonesia, the number of Muslims is more than 200 million people or more than 87% of the population of Indonesia. In the economic and business context, such a large number is a prospective market potential for the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries that can be won through halal certification.

This is understood by many industries so that the development of world demand for halal food, beverages, medicines, and cosmetics is rapidly increasing. According to the Minister for National Development Planning / Head of Bappenas, Bambang Brojonegoro, in the 2018 Halal Lifestyle Conference and Business Matching event, global Muslim spending on the halal industry in 2016 reached the US $ 2 trillion. Its potential in 2022 is estimated to enter the US $ 3.1 trillion in line with the surge in global Muslim population growth.

Recognizing the rights of Muslims to consume halal food, beverages, and medicines, the people’s representatives in the DPR have passed Law No. 33 of 2014 concerning Halal Product Assurance. This law requires a halal certification for products and services related to food, beverages, medicines, cosmetics, and used goods, except for products that are indeed haram. Thus there are no longer syubhat products and services, but they must be halal or haram. This law shall begin to take effect no later than five years after promulgation in 2019.

In the Qur’an, the word “halal” is accompanied by “thayyib” (halalan thayiban). In the context of halal food, halal means something that is allowed to consume under Islamic rules (spiritual aspects). And thayyib means good, safe for consumption (food safety), clean, healthy, and quality (physical, chemical, and biological elements). Thus, halal is more than just quality. Therefore, it is not surprising that non-Muslims in the world also consider that a halal product and thayyib is also a guarantee of good quality.

Unlike the other quality systems, halal does not recognize a certain threshold. If food safety is still possible, the existence of hazardous materials or microbial contamination in food as long as it is still below a certain threshold, then the concept of halal is not permitted the entry of illicit substances at any level (zero tolerance). The choice is only halal or haram. If the status of the halal is unclear (syubhat), then it must be clarified through halal certification by a competent and authorized institution.

Admittedly the ingredients of food and drinks that are haram in Islam are not many compared to the halal. Surah Al-Baqarah 173 and several other verses with the same narration (Al-Maidah 3, Al-An’am 145, Al-Nahl 115) mention that the illegitimate ones are carcasses, blood, pork, and meat of animals slaughtered with not mentioning the name of Allah (slaughtered is not following Islamic sharia).

Then it is forbidden to drink khamar/intoxicating drinks (Al-Maidah 90). Besides, some hadist also forbid eating wild animals, amphibians, animals that prohibited from being killed, animals that are told to be killed, and disgusting animals.

The development of science and technology in processing has made the products of the food, beverage, medicine, and cosmetic industries into syubhat (potential to be haram). Sources of haram can come from raw materials themselves, additives, or processing aids in the industry. Many raw materials, additives, and supporting materials come from pigs, or from animals slaughtered that are not following Islamic law.

From the pork fat, which is a by-product of the pork processing industry, for example, it can be made for emulsifiers that are commonly used in the food industry. From the skin and bones of pigs, which are also a by-product of the pig processing industry, collagen can be made as a cosmetic ingredient and gelatin, which is commonly used as a material for capsule shells, soft candy, and thickening materials.

The pancreas of pigs produces the hormone insulin, as well as from the digestive system of pigs produced the enzyme protease (trypsin, pepsin), which is commonly used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Even the available abundant amount of pork bones can be used as active charcoal, which is widely used in the decolorization and purification process in various industries.

The high number of opportunities for industrial products to come from raw materials, additives, and supporting materials is an essential issue in halal supply chain management. One example is collagen and gelatin, which are generally obtained from animal skin or bones collected from various animal slaughterhouses.

Collagen and gelatin and their derivatives are widely used in the food, medicine, and cosmetics industries. According to Schrieber and Gareis (2007), who wrote books on gelatin, the majority (44.9 percent) of gelatin on the global market came from pig skins, 27.9 percent from cow skins, and 27.2 percent from animal bones (mostly pigs and cow). Although there are gelatin and collagen derived from fish skins, economically and commercially, the amount is not significant. Collagen and gelatin from cow’s skin or bones may come from cows that are not slaughtered according to Islamic law.

To meet the needs of halal collagen and halal gelatin, which is quite large, it is possible to have deliberate mixing due to economic reasons (adulteration) or accidental (contamination) in the process of collecting, producing, storing and transporting materials and products.

One way to handle the problem of material originating from, or contaminated by, pork material or its derivatives is by taking samples, and laboratory tests (authentication) before the ingredients are used as ingredients in the food, beverage, medicine, and cosmetics industries.

However, problems arise for materials originating from carcasses of animals slaughtered that are not by Islamic law, which is also haram. Until now, there has been no laboratory method that can distinguish between animals slaughtered according to Islamic law (by saying Basmalah) and animals slaughtered not according to Islamic law (by not saying Basmalah). Therefore, accurate halal supply chain management is a necessity to guarantee the halal products of food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products.

Collagen and gelatin, for example, to obtain halal end product in each and every chain in the halal supply chain. It is starting from the process of selecting and slaughtering animals, handling post-slaughter, collection of skin and bones, collagen, and gelatin production processes. The production process of the final product with collagen and gelatin, and each storage and transportation at each stage, until the final product that is ready for consumption must be guaranteed halal.

To guarantee the halal quality of the final product that is ready for consumption, every link in the halal supply chain must implement a halal assurance system. Halal Assurance System is an integrated management system developed, implemented, and maintained by the company to regulate materials, production processes, products, human resources, and procedures to preserve the continuity of the halal production process under the requirements (HAS 23000 LPPOM MUI).

As a pre-requisite, the Halal Assurance System must start with the written commitment of each company in each halal supply chain to apply the halal assurance system to their company. Halal Assurance System must be supported by human resources (Halal Management Team / Internal Halal Auditor) who are responsible for planning (preparing Halal Manual), implementing, evaluating, and improving the halal assurance system continuously.

The Halal Management Team must be people who are competent in the field of the Halal Assurance System who have passed the competency test by relevant authorities. Competence can be obtained through training by qualified authorized institutions.

As the main requirement, halal products must be made from ingredients (raw materials and additives) and use halal supporting materials. The halal of each of these materials must be proven by valid supporting halal documents from institutions or parties whose credibility is recognized. 

Then the halal product must also be produced at production facilities that meet the halal criteria, which must be free from contamination of haram and/or unclean materials.

To guarantee halal at every step of production in a company/factory, so every critical activity affecting halal must be completed by Standard Operating Procedures for the production process of halal products. Also, standard operating procedures are needed for handling materials and products that are either intentionally or unintentionally made from, or contaminated by, haram and/or unclean materials. To support the handling of these materials and products, both halal products and products that do not meet halal criteria, must be able to be traced backward accurately (traceability).

As integrated management, the effectiveness of implementing a halal assurance system must be periodically evaluated through internal audits. Internal audit findings on the implementation of the halal assurance system of the company must be followed up directly at a specific deadline set by the Halal Management Team. Evaluation in the form of a management review of the implementation of the halal assurance system at the company must also be conducted periodically for cases that must be followed up by top management.

This is the endeavor that should be carried out to ensure the halal of the product in halal supply chain management, from the source of ingredients to the final product that is ready for consumption/use. In the industrial era 4.0, which is characterized by more sophisticated information technology, accurate halal supply chain management is not a difficult thing to implement. Insya Allah. (*)

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