Govt export body drops ‘halal’ from red meat manual

The decision comes after rightwing activists alleged that ‘halal certification’ in exports was giving unfair advantage to Muslim exporters

India in 2019-20 exported meat worth ₹22,668.48 crore to countries such as Vietnam, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Myanmar and UAE. Representative photo: iStock

Following allegations by rightwing activists that ‘halal certification’ in exports was giving an unfair edge to Muslim exporters, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has removed the word ‘halal’ from its Red Meat Manual, reported Indian Express.

The APEDA, which deals with agri-exports under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that the Indian government is not bound by any condition with regard to the halal meat and that halal certification agencies are directly accredited by the importing countries.

“It is a requirement by a majority of the importing countries/importers. Halal Certification agencies are accredited directly by respective importing countries. No government agency has any role in this,” the APEDA said.

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The report said the APEDA’s decision has come after it was alleged that the old export manual gave the impression that ‘halal’ was mandatory for all exports.

The statement on the process of slaughter has changed from “animals are slaughtered strictly according to halal method to meet the requirement of Islamic countries,” in the old manual to “the animals are slaughtered according to the requirement of importing country/importer” in the new manual.

According to IE, the following lines have also been deleted in the new manual: “The animals are slaughtered by halal system under strict vigilance of (a) recognised and registered Islamic body as per the tenets of Islamic Shariyat. The certificate for halal is issued by the representative of registered Islamic body under whose supervision the slaughter is conducted in order to meet the requirement of (the) importing country.”

India exports buffalo meat to several Islamic countries, which only allow the import of halal meat. According to the IE report, India in 2019-20 exported meat worth ₹22,668.48 crore to countries such as Vietnam, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Myanmar and UAE. A bulk of the export to Vietnam and Hong Kong are dispatched to China.

Earlier, rightwing groups including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had raised objection to the use of the term ‘Halal’ in the APEDA manual, alleging that it was forcing exporters to only buy ‘halal-certified’ meat. They said it was unfair for exporters as countries like China and Sri Lanka to which India exports meat do not required a halal certification.

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