General Guidelines for Use of the Term "Halal"

The Codex Alimentarius Commission accepts that there may be minor differences in opinion in the interpretation of lawful and unlawful animals and in the slaughter act, according to different Islamic schools of thought. As such, these general guidelines are subjected to the interpretation of appropriate authorities of importing countries. However, the certificates granted by the religious authorities of exporting country should be accepted in principle by the importing country, except when the latter provides justification for other specific requirements.


  • 1.1 These guidelines recommend measures to be taken on the use of Halal claims in food labelling.
  • 1.2 These guidelines apply to the use of the term Halal and equivalent terms in claims as  defined in the General Standard for the labelling of prepackaged foods and include its use in trademarks, brand names and business names.
  • 1.3 These guidelines are intended to supplement the Codex General Guidelines on  Claims and do not supersede any prohibition contained therein.
  • 2.1 Halal Food means food permitted under the Islamic Law and should fulfil the following  conditions: The Codex General Guidelines for the use of the term "Halal" were adopted by the Codex  Alimentarius Commission at its 22nd Session, 1997. They have been sent to all Member Nations and Associate Members of FAO and WHO as an advisory text, and it is for individual governments to decide what use they wish to make of the Guidelines.
    • 2.1.1 does not consist of or contain anything which is considered to be unlawful  according to Islamic Law;
    • 2.1.2 has not been prepared, processed, transported or stored using any appliance or facility that was not free from anything unlawful according to Islamic Law; and
    • 2.1.3 has not in the course of preparation, processing, transportation or storage been in  direct contact with any food that fails to satisfy 2.1.1 and 2.1.2 above.
  • 2.2 Notwithstanding Section 2.1 above:
    • 2.2.1 halal food can be prepared, processed or stored in different sections or lines within the same premises where non-halal foods are produced, provided that necessary  measures are taken to prevent any contact between halal and non-halal foods;
    • 2.2.2 halal food can be prepared, processed, transported or stored using facilities which have been previously used for non-halal foods provided that proper cleaning procedures, according to Islamic requirements, have been observed.
  • 3.1 Lawful Food The term halal may be used for foods which are considered lawful. Under the Islamic Law, all sources of food are lawful except the following sources, including their products and  derivatives which are considered unlawful:
    • 3.1.1 Food of Animal Origin
      • a) Pigs and boars.
      • b) Dogs, snakes and monkeys.
      • c) Carnivorous animals with claws and fangs such as lions, tigers, bears and other similar  animals.
      • d) Birds of prey with claws such as eagles, vultures, and other similar birds.
      • e) Pests such as rats, centipedes, scorpions and other similar animals.
      • f) Animals forbidden to be killed in Islam, i.e., ants, bees and woodpecker birds.
      • g) Animals which are considered repulsive generally like lice, flies, maggots and other similar animals.
      • h) Animals that live both on land and in water such as frogs, crocodiles and other similar  animals.
      • i) Mules and domestic donkeys.
      • j) All poisonous and hazardous aquatic animals.
      • k) Any other animals not slaughtered according to Islamic Law.
      • l) Blood.
    • 3.1.2 Food of Plant Origin
    • 3.1.4 Food Additives Intoxicating and hazardous plants except where the toxin or hazard can be eliminated  during processing.
    • 3.1.3 Drink
      • a) Alcoholic drinks
      • b) All forms of intoxicating and hazardous drinks
    • 3.1.4 Food Additives All food additives derived from Items 3.1.1, 3.1.2 and 3.1.3.
  • 3.2 Slaughtering All lawful land animals should be slaughtered in compliance with the rules laid down in the Codex Recommended Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Meat and the following  requirements:
    • 3.2.1 The person should be a Muslim who is mentally sound and knowledgeable of the  Islamic slaughtering procedures.
    • 3.2.2 The animal to be slaughtered should be lawful according to Islamic Law.
    • 3.2.3 The animal to be slaughtered should be alive or deemed to be alive at the time of  slaughtering.
    • 3.2.4 The phrase "Bismillah" (In the Name of Allah) should be invoked immediately before the slaughter of each animal.
    • 3.2.5 The slaughtering device should be sharp and should not be lifted off the animal during the slaughter act.
    • 3.2.6 The slaughter act should sever the trachea, oesophagus and main arteries and veins of the neck region.
  • 3.3 Preparation, Processing, Packaging, Transportation and Storage. All food should be prepared, processed, packaged, transported and stored in such a manner that it complies with the Section 2.1 and 2.2 above and the Codex General Principles on Food Hygiene and other relevant Codex Standards.
  • 4.1 When a claim is made that a food is Halal, the word Halal or equivalent terms should  appear on the label.
  • 4.2 In accordance with the Codex General Guidelines on Claims, claims on halal should  not be used in ways which could give rise to doubt about the safety of similar food or claims that halal foods are nutritionally superior to, or healthier than, other foods.

Supervisory Guidelines and Procedures for Meat & Poultry Halal Slaughter Process:

In today’s usage of a mass slaughtering system of meat and poultry (the usage of mechanical knives), the job of a slaughterman and a slaughtering supervisor require technical knowledge, detailed supervision, and a full understanding of the Islamic concept of Halal Zabiha, plus a general knowledge of the processing plant itself. All of these provisions are necessary to produce a final Halal product, free of impurity (Najis) and mix up.

Scheduling Services:
Halal slaughtering services should take place at the beginning of the first shift with clean, sanitized machinery and equipment. The halal slaughtering can continue into the second shift if the process is continued from the morning.

For those plants that do not have a wash down gap between the two shifts, halal slaughtering cannot take place at the beginning of the second shift, unless Halal blessing is a continuous from the first shift into the second shift.

During the halal slaughtering process, the slaughtering supervisor should carefully take the following steps. This is necessary to prevent mistakes that could lead to a non-Halal (Haram) product.

Step 1: Setting of Stunner
The first step is to check and make sure that stunner voltage is set according to size of birds, usually between 12 to 16 volts. The resistance is set between 20 to 30 ampere which could be attained by lowering or elevating the stunner casings. This is necessary to prevent clotting of blood and to assure a full bleeding of arteries, without damaging or lasting effect on the subject animal.

Step 2: Adjustment of Kill Machine
In order to achieve an incision that cuts the throat, esophagus, and the two sets of blood vessels (jugular and carotid) without cutting the spinal cord, the machine should be properly set. When the head of the bird goes between the two rollers, the rollers should be tight enough so that the head doesn’t come off and yet should be loose enough that the groove in lower roller can spin the head from side to side, ensuring that rotating blade makes correct incision required by Zabiha Halal. The usual distance between the two roller bars for birds sizing is between 4-1/4 and 4-3/4 pounds. (You should be able to almost push a nickel coin between the two bars.)
Please be advised that all adjustments to machinery and equipment should be done through authorized plant personnel (i.e. maintenance persons.) The slaughterman should not attempt to adjust any.

Step 3: Muslim Slaughterman
The job of the Muslim slaughterman is to recite “BISMIALLAHO AKBAR” and to carefully monitor the correction of the following problems that may be encountered during the mechanical slaughtering:
  • a) At the beginning shift before the line starts putting his hand on the switch and reciting “BISMIALLAHU AKBAR” and maintaining recitation until the end of the shift.
  • b) To monitor the physical cut by the back up killer that is missed by the mechanical knife.
  • c) To monitor cuts by making sure that the blood vessels, throat, the esophagus and the windpipe are completely cut. (without pulling off the heads)
  • d) To remove the non-moving birds off the line that may have been dead before being hung on the line, or as result of the stunner damage.
  • e) To also remove the birds off the line that do not bleed due to clotting of the blood or for any other reason.
Note 1: It is important to make sure that the slaughtered bird is completely dead before going into scalder (warm water).
Note 2: It is important to keep in mind that the line speed differs from plant to plant, some time to more than 150 birds per minute and that the slaughterman could only recite according to his ability.

At this stage, the job of a slaughterman is complete. However, the detail follow-up of the carcass through the final stage is also as important as the slaughtering stage. Since a non-halal slaughtered bird is considered to be haram and cannot be consumed by Muslims, any mix up or contact of non-halal carcasses with halal carcasses could cause the halal carcasses to become contaminated (Najis).

Therefore, it is very important to keep the halal slaughtered birds separate and prevent any contact with other non-halal products, including unwashed tools and machinery, all the way through the packaging.

Please consider the following points for products that go to mechanical deboning (comminuted meat). Certain by-products are sent to mechanical deboning to be transformed to chicken frank paste.

Products used are as follows:
  • 1) Rib cages from deboning department;
  • 2) Trim from thigh deboning department;
  • 3) Strip back from breast department;
  • 4) Whole backs from leg department;
Products not to be used:
  • 1) Floor products that is not USDA approved (condemned)
  • 2) Condemned salvage products
  • 3) Bone from the thigh debone department
Note: In some plants, wing tips from party wing departments are also used for mechanical deboning. For this purpose, a slaughtering supervisor should take notice of the following steps to make sure that halal product does not come in contact with non-halal products.

1. Product Transfer
Transferring product for different purposes is a common practice for multi-plant poultry companies or for purchase and sale of the product for single plant companies. Therefore, the plant product coordinator needs to be contacted in order to ensure that there is no presence of non-halal product during a halal schedule.
  • a) Product returned from a deboning plant, such as front half or breast
  • b) Product purchased for the purpose of deboning, i.e. breast deboning or thigh deboning
  • c) Returns excess product from marinating plant or facility
Note: Halal slaughtering supervisors should contact the appropriate department supervisor to prevent such  schedule of non-halal product during a halal slaughter day.

2. Product Held
There are times that product could be held and carried over to the next day or next shift.
  • a) The Quality Control Department can hold product for either moisture or grade.
  • b) The USDA could hold product for issues like moisture or grade some times from 2 to 24 hours.

3. Product Carryover
Product carryover into the next day or shift is usually scheduled for the purpose of labor efficiency or aging of product for deboning purposes.
  • a) Whole birds tanks for the following shift for labor-efficiency
  • b) Thigh or front half for thigh debone or breast debone department
  • c) In the case of schedule carryover product, arrangement need to be made for halal slaughter so the carryover product is also halal.
  • d) In case of Hold product, the slaughtering supervisor needs to check to make sure that such products are isolated and are not processed during the halal schedule.

4. Labeling and Identification Task
Generally, the only remaining point at this stage would be the labeling of finished halal product and keeping a detailed record of the number of the cases or boxes produced for the purpose of certification. In-plant label should be provided to Halal supervisor.
  • a) To label and identify halal carryover products,
  • b) For storage of halal product,
  • c) For final halal product going to further processing, chicken frank plant,
  • d) For final finished halal product
Note: Such labels should have following information:
  • a) The words “Halal Poultry” or product in large letters,
  • b) The Halal service provider organizational Logo,
  • c) The label needs to be numbered in sequence and identification of the shift.
This is to ensure that such information could be double checked and confirmed by Halal inspector before usage the final products to be packaged. Should a Halal supervisor have any uncertainty, concerns, or questions about the processing procedure, he should contact, at any time of the Day or Night, the HFC-USA Director, at (410) 548-1728 or by Fax (410) 548-2217.

To All Supervisors and Slaughtermen:
The Islamic Affairs Divisions, Aesan (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia) Department Guidelines on mechanical slaughter: The Asian group has approved the use of the mechanical knife for the slaughter of chicken. However, the following conditions must be observed at the approved slaughterhouses by the respective government office in the United States of America.
  • 1) The operator of the mechanical knife (Slaughterman) should be a MUSLIM. He will recite “BISMILLAH” prior to switching on the mechanical knife.
  • 2) The MUSLIM slaughterman, who switches on the machine, should not leave the slaughter area.
  • 3) Should the slaughterman leave the slaughter area, he will be replaced by another MUSLIM slaughterman. The former will stop the line and switch off the mechanical knife. To restart the operation, the second slaughterman must recite the prayers as in (1) before switching on the mechanical knife and the line.
  • 4) The knife used should be of a single blade type and must be sharp.
  • 5) In the act of slaughter, the trachea, esophagus, and major blood vessels in the neck region (jugular and carotid) of the bird must be severed.
  • 6) The slaughterman is required to check that each bird is properly slaughtered. Muslim slaughterman  should slaughter manually any birds that missed mechanical knife.

Guidelines and Procedures for Dry Goods, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics Certification:

I. Definition:
  • A written declaration / ruling (Fatwa) by Halal Food Council USA (HFC-USA), stating the product is Halal and fit for Muslim consumption anywhere in the world, based on auditing process performed by HFC-USA.
II. Purpose:
  • • To ensure the product is Halal (Divinely lawful) and Tayyab (pure, wholesome, and safe).
  • • To give assurance to the Muslim consumer that the product is halal, in fulfillment to his/her (Islamic) religious obligation to consume Halal.

III. Principles:

  • • Should meet Islamic dietary standards
  • • Should comply with all rules of HFC
  • • Should fulfill all administrative requirements
  • • Should conform to all documentation requirements
  • • Should be able to set up, implement, and maintain Halal Assurance System to sustain Halal status of the certified product(s).
IV. Islamic Halal Dietary Standards:
  • • All materials should be halal.
  • • There are six categories of food that are Haram (Prohibited):
    • A: Alcohol
    • B: Blood
    • C: Carnivorous Animals and Birds
    • D: Dead Meat (Carrion)
    • E: Immolated Food to other deities other than Allah
    • F: Swine (Pork and Pork By-Products)
  • • Haram materials should be avoided at every step of the production process, including in packaging, storage, transportation, and distribution.
  • • Contamination and cross contamination with Haram material(s) must be avoided at every step of production, storage, and distribution. • Should follow Islamic cleaning and sanitizing procedures. • Integrity of Halal product(s) must be maintained all the way from procurement of raw materials through the production of finished product(s).

V. Registration:

  • (A) Processing Industry
    • i) Producer must register all products that are produced in the plant/facility/location, and/ or have the same brand.
    • ii) Producer must register all raw materials/ingredients used in production of each of the products produced.
    • iii) Producer must register all production facilities/plants, including manufacturing / Co-packing / Repacking / Relabeling / Private-labeling
    • iv) Audit will be conducted at all facilities/plants/locations where the product is produced / handled / packed / re-labeled.
    • v) Audit will be conducted at critical material suppliers, if warranted.
    • vi) Producer must implement Halal Assurance System.
    • vii) Manufacturer must implement Halal Assurance System.
  • (B) Restaurant & Catering Service / Food Service
    • i) Restaurants / Catering Service / Food Service must register all menu items.
    • ii) Must register all ingredients / raw materials used in preparing of all menu items.
    • iii) Must register all outlets, kitchen, warehouses, and distribution agents.
    • iv) Audit will be conducted at all facilities for all menu items with all their ingredients / raw materials.

VI. Process / Procedure of Obtaining Halal Certificate:

  • • Producer should make a preliminary application requesting Halal supervision and certification.
  • • Producer should submit a list of all products produced by the company.
  • • Producer should submit a master list of all raw materials / ingredients used in production of all products produced at the facility / plant / location (Spreadsheet of Matrix of Materials).
  • • Producer must identify products to be Halal certified.
  • • Producer should submit a complete list of all raw materials / ingredients used in production of each product to be Halal certified (Spreadsheet of Matrix of Materials).
  • • Producer must sign an agreement with HFC-USA.
  • • Producer must set up Halal Assurance System (HAS) at the production facility / plant.
  • • Producer must appoint an Internal Halal auditor / Coordinator and a team who will be responsible to implement the Halal Assurance System.
  • • Producer should submit 2 (two) biannual reports of Halal assurance system implementation.
VII. Auditing:
  • (A) Scope of Auditing
    • 1) HAS Implementation
    • 2) Raw material/Ingredient checking
    • 3) Product formulae checking
    • 4) Warehouse observation
    • 5) Production observation
    • 6) Cleaning / sanitation procedure checking
    • 7) Laboratory analysis (if any)
    • 8) Packaging / labeling / storage / Transportation checking
  • (B) Auditing Steps
    • 1) Assessment of HAS Implementation
      • a) Evaluation and Verification of halal management organization
      • b) Evaluation of Halal policy implementation
      • c) Checking and verifying documents of HAS implementation
      • d) Orientation of HAS to employees/staff
      • e) Training
      • f) Communication
      • g) Internal halal audit system
      • h) Management review of HAS
    • 2) Raw Material Checking
      • a) Administration system of materials (coding system)
      • b) List of all raw materials, their suppliers, sources of origin, halal certificates (if any). See the Spreadsheet of matrix of Materials.
      • c) Documentation of purchasing of all materials
      • d) Verification of material documents
      • e) Identification of critical ingredients
    • 3) Product Formulae Checking
      • a) Product formulae ID numbers
      • b) Check raw materials / ingredients of product formulae
      • c) Production sheet
    • 4) Warehouse Observation
      • a) Check system of receiving goods in the warehouse
      • b) Check system of storage of products / raw materials
      • c) Check possibility of co-mingling, mislabeling, contamination
      • d) Check material verification with documents
    • 5) Production Observation
      • a) Check manufacturing/production flow chart
      • b) Check production lines
      • c) Identify critical points of co-mingling, contamination, cross contamination
      • d) Check record of products produced on halal lines
      • e) Check product routing system
    • 6) Cleaning / Sanitation Procedure
      • a) Check cleaning / sanitizing agents
      • b) Check cleaning / sanitizing procedure
      • c) Check disposal (of waste material) system
    • 7) Laboratory Analysis
      • a) Send samples to independent laboratory for checking critical raw material(s) / ingredient(s), if necessary.
    • 8) Packaging / Labeling / Storage / Transportation
      • a) Check packaging material for contact surface to finished products
      • b) Check labeling is appropriate and accurate
      • c) Check storage system of halal products and non-halal products
      • d) Check logistic system of transportation

VIII. Monitoring System:

  • 1) Semi annual report of HAS implementation
  • 2) Report of every change of raw material, supplier, and production system
  • 3) Unscheduled inspection