Improving Traceability and Transparency in Halal Supply Chains
Halal is a set of dietary requirements dictating which foods are permissible for consumption under Islamic law. As the demand for halal meat increases, so does the risk of compromised supply chains that may cause halal products to become contaminated with haram (non-halal) ingredients. Implementing better food traceability systems may help improve transparency and trust among halal food producers and consumers.
What is Food Traceability?
Food traceability is the ability to track an ingredient’s journey from its source to its final destination. It includes identifying and monitoring the farmers, ranchers, processing facilities, storage, transport, and distribution channels involved in getting food from the farm to a person’s shopping cart. Having adequate traceability systems makes recalling contaminated products easier – enhancing your customers’ experience and protecting their safety.
Every ingredient in processed or packaged foods must meet halal standards to be labeled and marketed as a halal product. Modern food supply chains often involve dozens of stakeholders across multiple countries, making them more challenging to track and threatening the halal status of many packaged foods.
5 Threats to Halal Meat Supply Chains
- Improper farming practices
Beef, chicken, and sheep farmers must follow strict slaughter requirements to sell meat as a certified halal product. Halal meat producers must ensure adequate education and training to ensure their farm workers and other staff don’t unknowingly compromise an animal product’s halal status.
- Contamination during processing
Halal meat could face contamination when it comes into contact with haram ingredients at the processing facility. Restricting food and drink and supplying a dedicated staff eating area within a halal factory can help prevent contamination. Meat manufacturers must ensure all staff wear PPE and have regular training on halal processing requirements.
- Substituting halal meat in processed products
Many processed meat products have long ingredient lists, creating more room for subtle substitutions. Various food industry scams exist where fraudsters substitute a portion of the halal meat in processed products with haram fillers and other ingredients to save costs. While the taste and texture are often unchanged, these substitutions compromise a product’s halal status.
- Contamination during storage and transportation
Transporting halal and haram meat in the same cold truck or storage container could cause cross-contamination. Manufacturers often use thin packaging materials that allow meat juices and blood to escape, which could compromise the integrity of an entire shipment of halal meat. Distributors must also keep halal and non-halal meat separate in grocery store display fridges.
- Disputes among certification bodies
There is no federal regulation of halal food in the US, and the industry relies on third parties for halal certification. Numerous certifiers mean more room for variation of halal standards, which could cause disputes among stakeholders not using the same certification body. Improved traceability systems could help businesses monitor how each link of their supply chains maintains certified-halal status.
Using Blockchain Technology to Improve Halal Traceability
Blockchain technology stores data across numerous nodes in a decentralized system, making it highly secure. Malaysian supply chain company, Fluree and supply management platform, Sinisana recently designed an innovative online ledger system called Intersect to track halal food production using real-time data. Intersect makes supply chain data more accessible, striving to build trust and transparency among halal food producers and consumers.
Large food supply chains can be complex, making traceability more demanding and threatening the final product’s halal status. Blockchain technology can help mitigate cross-contamination risks with haram foods in the halal industry using accessible, real-time data to promote accountability. Advanced Biotech is a trusted supplier of halal-certified flavoring ingredients for the food and beverage industry. Please contact us for more information.