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Halal Industry
Islamic scholars deem lab-grown meat halal contingent on specific criteria

A group of Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia have issued a groundbreaking ruling, stating that lab-grown or cultivated meat can be deemed halal, provided specific conditions are met.

The ruling comes as the lab-grown meat industry seeks to explore certification options to cater to consumers who adhere to halal dietary rules.

GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just, Inc., sought guidance from three Islamic scholars to determine whether cultivated meat could be deemed halal.

These scholars concluded that it could, with certain stipulations, including the source of stem cells used in the production process.

The key conditions for cultivated meat to be deemed halal include: 

  1. The cell line used must originate from an animal that is permissible to eat under Islamic dietary rules, such as a chicken or a cow.
  2. The animal from which the cell line is extracted must be slaughtered as per Islamic law.
  3. Nutrients fed to the cells must be halal and must not contain any prohibited substances, such as spilled blood, alcohol, or materials extracted from improperly slaughtered animals or pigs.
  4. The cultivated meat must be safe for human consumption, without posing any harm to health. This should be confirmed through consultation with specialists, such as a country’s food regulatory agency.

The scholars who issued the ruling include Sheikh Abdullah AlManea, Prof Abdullah al-Mutlaq, and Prof Saad Al-Shathry.

GOOD Meat, which currently does not produce halal-certified products, said in a statement that it is committed to initiating the process to ensure that its cultivated meat meets these criteria.

Josh Tetrick, chief executive and co-founder of Eat Just emphasized the importance of making cultivated meat accessible to the billions of people worldwide who follow halal dietary guidelines.

If cultivated meat is to help address our future food system needs, it has to be an option for the billions of people around the world who eat halal," Tetrick stated in a statement.

This landmark ruling is expected to be welcomed by cultivated meat companies aiming to serve regions with significant Muslim populations, such as the Middle East.

Good Meat has engaged Saudi Arabia’s Halal Products Advisory, a specialized advisory arm of the Halal Products Development Company (HPDC) to seek guidance on the certification process. HPDC is a subsidiary of the country’s Public Investment Fund.

However, it's worth noting that there is no universal consensus on this matter, given the significant variations in halal certification among different Islamic schools of thought.

Halal Industry
Sept news wrap: UAE's Al Islami eyes Qatar; Pakistani meat processor bags $4m deal; and others

Here's a roundup of key developments across the halal industry ecosystem during the first two weeks of September

Editor's note: What's not to like about September? With the year nearing its last quarter, companies and countries are seeking to achieve their goals. Key updates across the halal industry ecosystem have also keeping the space busy, in which cross-border alliance are grabbing headlines. Pakistan's major meat processor snags a contract to export frozen beef to the UAE, with Dubai-based Al Islami too relaunching its products in Qatar. 

Iran and Russia also seek standardization of halal products, for which both countries have inked a five-year deal. 


Company News

Family-owned grocery store in Gurnee, Illinois, adds halal meat counter
David and Faye Oshana's grocery store, Nohadra Food in Gurnee, launched a halal meat section. 

Faye Oshana reflected that waiting to introduce the meat counter proved beneficial, ensuring no losses during their initial slow months. (Daily Herald)

Al Islami reintroduces halal meat to Qatar
UAE's Al Islami has made a comeback in Qatar with its signature halal chicken griller and various cuts, including drumsticks, breast, and thigh.

The brand defines "real halal" as hand-slaughtered, non-stunned meat, free from added hormones and in strict adherence to Islamic dietary rules.

The brand's international sales director expressed enthusiasm about the reintroduction, emphasizing their unwavering commitment to quality and authenticity. (Caterer Middle East)

United Kingdom
Hancocks' Bradford depot selling vegan and halal sweets
Hancocks' store on Euroway Industrial Estate has unveiled a 50-foot-long aisle dedicated to over 200 vegan and halal confectionery options.

With a 41-year presence in Bradford, Hancocks caters to various local outlets.  (Telegraph & Argus)


Trade Developments

Cambodia encouraged to expand halal ecosystem
Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) has advised Cambodia to broaden its halal ecosystem, potentially benefiting tourism, agriculture, and construction.

During a roundtable, Mohd Dhaliff Ghaus Mohd Anuar of Malaysia's Halal Development Corporation suggested Cambodia devise its own halal roadmap, emphasizing potential collaboration between the two nations to fortify their halal sectors. (Khmer Times)

JV to fortify halal food supply within Philippines 
A forthcoming joint venture (JV) aims to enhance halal food supply from Lahad Datu to Tawi-Tawi in the Southern Philippines. The JV is slated to commence on September 28. 

Zubir Food (Sabah) Sdn Bhd has partnered with Jay Sayang Enterprise, a Philippine importer, to transport frozen halal chicken meat.

This initiative follows the State Government's decision to permit a ferry service for passengers and cargo between the two locations. (Daily Express)

Iran / Russia
Iran, Russia ink deal on standardization of traded goods, halal products
Iran and Russia have entered a five-year agreement to standardize traded goods, focusing mainly on non-industrial and halal products. The announcement from the Iranian Embassy in Russia emphasizes the roadmap's aim to streamline the trade of Iranian exports to Russia and vice versa. (Halal Focus)

Pakistan / UAE
Pakistani meat processor secures $4m export contract 
The Organic Meat Company Limited (TOMCL), a halal meat processor in Karachi, has announced a $4 million contract to export frozen boneless beef to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Recognized as one of Pakistan's prime meat exporters, TOMCL has a history of supplying to various countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Vietnam.

The Pakistan Stock Exchange filing confirmed the deal with UAE's First Quality Food Stuff LLC for 1,000 metric tons of the product. (Halal Focus)



Religious authorities flag brush, revoke pastry kitchen’s halal certification
Brunei's Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) has identified bristles of Skitto Clean brushes as being made from swine.

Following a public tip-off, the MoRA's halal food control division inspected a retailer and verified the claim. The store was directed to withdraw the product.

Concurrently, the Brunei Islamic Religious Council rescinded the halal certification of a Kampong Lambak pastry kitchen for failing to meet certification standards. (Borneo Bulletin)



Halal Industry
PIF unit backs US food tech firm’s entry into halal space

Halal Products Development Company (HPDC) has announced a strategic partnership with Eat Just, a US-based food tech company, to capitalize on the burgeoning halal products space. 

HPDC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, will provide advisory solutions to help Eat Just obtain halal certification and approvals and enter the halal market.

The San Francisco-based firm develops plant-based alternatives to egg and meat products, backed by a global team of scientists and chef operating across more than 12 research fields.

HPDC CEO Fahad S. AlNuhait said that through the alliance, Eat Just will benefit from HPDC’s review and support services to enhance its business and ensure all its production stages are compatible with the standards of the halal market.

The cooperation will enable Eat Just to capitalize upon the opportunities available within the halal products sector worldwide, he added. 

The agreement is the latest in a raft of collaborations launched by HPDC with local and international partners to harness joint capabilities, develop local capabilities and raise the efficiency of the global halal industry ecosystem. 

In August, the PIF subsidiary launched an accelerator program, in collaboration with the Saudi Exports Development Authority to help local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) expand their global footprint. 

In last October, it partnered with Brazilian food processing company BRF to establish a joint venture company in the kingdom to localise manufacturing capabilities of halal products.

Islamic Finance
Malaysia's MDEC to focus on three domains under Islamic digital economy ambit

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, a government agency tasked with leading the country's digital economy, will emphasize on three key domains within its Islamic Digital Economy (IDE) focus. 

The three domains include Islamic finance, halal and lifestyle. 

Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, the agency's chairman said that it has been strategically designed to pave the way for a thriving ecosystem, Bernama reported.

The country's Islamic economy has been pivotal in its economy development, with MDEC identifying the Islamic digital economy as a promoted sector under its national Malaysia digital initiative.

Malaysia's Islamic finance assets stood at $3.6 trillion in 2021, and are forecast to reach to $4.9 trillion by 2025, a recent MDEC report revealed. Meanwhile, spending on halal food was recorded at $1.27 trillion in 2021, and is expected to grow to $1.67 trillion in 2025. Consumer spend on lifestyle sectors, such as travel, cosmetics and modest fashion, also totaled $467 billion, and is set to soar to $657 billion by 2025. 

MDEC is committed to nurturing IDE companies by offering a comprehensive ecosystem of mentorship, funding, business matching and market access, Noh added. 

"We are weaving a tapestry that fosters collaboration and effective partnerships between supply, demand, and enablers," he said, at the IDE Industry Conference 2023, earlier this week. 

"MDEC also serves as a bridge between traditional Islamic industries and the digital realm, by working close with halal certification bodies, Islamic financial institutions, and other stakeholders to integrate technology into their processes, thereby enhancing efficiency, transparency and compliance," Noh added. 

Halal Industry
News wrap for August: Saudi nods to South African meat imports; Brazil’s Paraná to expand halal exports; & others

Here's a roundup of key developments across the halal industry ecosystem during the first three weeks of August

Editor's note: Saudi Arabia has, more often than not, captured eyeballs for its gumption and growth trajectory. And why not? The Arab world's largest economy remains on a relentless campaign of progress and development. For starters, it gave a green signal to South African meat imports after a 21-year hiatus. There are also plans in motion to develop plant-based food alternatives. If that doesn't spur much interest, the country's investment fund introduced an accelerator program to strengthen the halal ecosystem, and formalized its joint venture partnership with Brazil's BRF. 

Come to mention Brazil, the country's state of Paraná, too, is well-positioned to expand its halal exports to Muslim markets. 


Company News

Brazil’s Paraná state set to expand halal exports
Brazil’s Paraná state is poised to expand its exports to Muslim markets beyond food to textiles and cosmetics, as per Giancarlo Rocco of Invest Paraná.

A webinar, co-hosted by Invest Paraná and the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, highlighted halal's potential and certification processes for the state's businesses. (ANBA)

HWC Coffee Malaysia receives halal certification
The specialty coffee chain, HWC Coffee Malaysia, has secured a halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).

This confirms that the chain's offerings, from coffee to pastries, adhere to Islamic dietary standards. As part of its inclusivity drive, the company plans to secure the halal certification for all its outlets. (New Straits Times)

English actress launches halal collagen
UK-based entrepreneur, author and actress, Davinia Taylor introduces 'Brain Powder', an energy-enhancing nootropic, alongside halal collagen through her brand, WillPowders.

Established in 2021, WillPowders aims to provide scientifically-backed supplements and nutritious products targeting poor eating habits, inconsistent diets, and cognitive and hormonal issues, all based on guidance from industry specialists. (Wigan Today)

Brazil / Saudi Arabia
Brazil's BRF formalizes halal joint venture as ties with Saudi Arabia strengthen
Brazilian food processor BRF has formalized a joint venture with the Halal Products Development Company (HPDC) of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Owning 70% of the new entity, BRF aims to transition from an exporter to a local supplier of meat products in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

Read more: Saudi's Public Investment Fund, BRF advance JV agreement

Trade Developments

Bangladesh, IOFS collaborate to expand halal market
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has teamed up with the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) to broaden the global halal market. 

Under the Mou, the federation will receive help in establishing agri-food cooperation within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries. (The Business Standard)

The North’s innovative products enter global halal market
The Halal Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University (Chiang Mai) has secured a 14.5 million baht budget to promote smart farming, targeting the $560 million global halal cosmetics sector.

Having trained farmers in advanced agricultural tech and aiding businesses in product development, the centre is working on seven innovations. (Chiang Mai City Life)

South Africa / Saudi Arabia
South African meat producers to enter Saudi market after 21-year ban
After a 21-year embargo, the Saudi Arabian government has resumed meat imports from South Africa.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority's decision followed positive inspections of South African abattoirs and feedlots in June, ensuring compliance with Saudi market protocols and halaal certification(News 24)

Read more: Saudi Arabia nods to meat imports from South Africa 

Saudi Arabia
Saudi investment fund-backed entity launches accelerator program 
The Halal Products Development Company (HPDC), a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, has inked an agreement with the Saudi Exports Development Authority to launch an accelerator program.

The Halal Products Manufacturing Accelerator program, seeks to empower Saudi companies across global markets, promote Saudi exports globally, and stimulate consumer preference for Saudi products. (Zawya)

Read more: Saudi's PIF-backed entity launches program to strengthen halal ecosystem 

DTI, BARMM sign agreement on halal, tourism promotion in Lanao Sur
In a bid to rehabilitate Marawi City, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have formalized a partnership to boost Lanao del Sur's halal industry and tourism.

With a funding commitment of 26 million peso, the initiative, endorsed by key regional stakeholders, aims to tap into the global $2.3 trillion halal market. (Minda News)

Operational Developments

New halal research center launched at Philippine Women's College of Davao
The Davao Region's Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has inaugurated a research centre at the Philippine Women’s College (PWC) of Davao.

The inaugural Research and Innovation Center for Halal Science will spearhead innovation programs and capacity-building for the growing halal market. (Sunstar)

Saudi Arabia
Saudi officials ink deals to develop plant-based food alternatives
The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture has entered into agreements to convert agricultural products into plant-based foods mimicking animal protein flavors.

As reported by the Saudi Press Agency, a research center, dedicated to enhancing agricultural product development will be set up. (Halal Focus)



60th Annual ISNA Convention – Chicago, US – Sep 1-4, 2023

Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2023 – Malaysia – Sep 12-15, 2023

Bahrain Halal Expo 2023 – Bahrain – Oct 5-7, 2023

Global Halal Brazil Business Forum 2023 – Brazil – Oct 23-24, 2023

HALAL EXPO INDONESIA (HEI) 2023 – Indonesia – Oct 25-28, 2023

Saudi International Halal Expo & Summit 2023 – Riyadh, KSA – Nov 19-21, 2023

World Halal Summit 2023 – Istanbul, Turkiye – Nov 23-25, 2023

Halal Expo London 2023 – London, UK – Dec 1-2, 2023

Halal Indonesia Expo 2023 – Indonesia – Dec 8-10, 2023

Food Africa Cairo – Egypt – Dec 12-14, 2023

14th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) – UAE – Jan 15-17, 2024

Gulfood 2024 – UAE – Feb 19-23, 2024

Halal Expo Canada 2024 – Canada – May 8-9, 2024

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