CHICAGO, IL–The 17th International Halal Food Conference, held April 13-15, 2015 in the city of Schaumburg near Chicago, called for a unified set of halal standards to remove ambiguity and instill greater consumer confidence. The conference was attended by industry professionals, food scientists, government officials, academics, and religious scholars from more than a dozen countries, according to a press release.
The conference organized by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) has become a must-attend event since its inception seventeen years ago and saw record number of participants this year. This year’s theme was titled: Preserving the Trust: Ensuring Integrity in the Halal Food Industry.
The increasing demand for authentic halal products has led to a parallel growth in new and innovative products being introduced in this market segment. The industry is expected to grow from about $1 trillion (USD) to $1.6 trillion (USD) by 2018, according to DinarStandard, a research firm specializing in Muslim markets. However, the lack of global standards has been confusing both the industry as well as the consumers. It is here that conferences like this help said the participants.
IFANCA president Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry said that moves are now underway to bring more and more certifiers together for harmonization of standards. Other speakers at the conference highlighted the need of an accreditation body, mutual recognition among certifiers, and appropriate qualifications on part of the certifiers.
DSM, a leading nutritional supplier, was given IFANCA’s prestigious ‘Company of the Year’ award for its commitment to halal compliance, implementation and rigorous label control program. Stephan Heck, Senior Director of Quality Management at DSM, received the award on behalf of the company. He reiterated his company’s commitment towards halal excellence: Our goal is to be the preferred provider of nutritional solutions to halal consumers worldwide.
Amway also received the Company of the Year for excellence in compliance and execution of halal-certified Nutrilite™ products in markets around the world.
The conference featured fifteen dedicated panels on issues facing the industry. These included: shortage of halal gelatin; role of emulsifiers and emulsifiers in halal food industry; animal welfare concerns; ethanol restrictions; Islamic perspective on edible insects, etc.