JAKARTA – Bahrain is exploring a collaboration with Indonesia to establish a halal certification agency to help the Gulf Arab country's food exporters selling to Saudi Arabia.
The move follows Saudi’s new rule that food imports into the kingdom require halal certification as well as other product-relevant papers.
The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce (BCCI) held a meeting on Tuesday in Manama with officials from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) to address Saudi’s new food import rules that require international accreditation certificates such as ISO 22000 and HACCP, in addition to halal certification, reported the state news agency.
The meeting also included government officials from Bahrain’s Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Industry, and Economic Development Board.
The head of BCCI’s food wealth committee, Khalid Al Amin, told Salaam Gateway the industry body has proposed a grace period for traders to meet Saudi Arabia’s new requirements that come into effect in two months.
Setting up a new halal certification agency in Bahrain would be a “quick solution” to meet SFDA’s halal requirements, said the BCCI official.
"We are now cooperating with the Indonesian Embassy to set up a halal certification agency in Bahrain to help traders export their goods,” Khalid told Salaam Gateway.
Sutan Emir Hidayat, Islamic Financial Education and Research Director at Indonesia’s National Islamic Finance Committee (KNKS), told Salaam Gateway the Indonesian embassy in Bahrain will facilitate discussions between BCCI and Indonesia’s current non-government halal certifier LPPOM-MUI.
If all parties agree to establish a halal certification agency in Bahrain, with guidance from LPPOM-MUI, it will be the fourth overseas representative office for the halal certifier, after China, Taiwan, and Korea.
LPPOM-MUI will cease to be Indonesia’s sole halal certifier from October 17 this year when new government agency BPJPH takes over.
Sutan said the Indonesian embassy in Bahrain referred BCCI to LPPOM-MUI as the certifier will continue as a partner with the BPJPH in several capacities, including in halal audit and issuing fatawa.
Reporting by Yosi Winosa;
Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim email@example.com