Codex Alimentarius

are Latin words meaning food code or food law. Therefore, we often call the standard as Codex.

Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)

Written in 1962 and implemented in 1963 CAC were responsible for food standards such are FAO and WHO. In which, the main purpose of the organization is to protect consumer’s health and to enforce fairness of international trade. CAC is an international government owned organization. Meanwhile, in 1994, from the result of Multilateral Trad Negotiation held in Uruguay, Marrakech agreement made World Trade Organization (WTO) an authorized organization instead of CAC and began the drafting of General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT). The meeting is the first time that agreements relating to free trade of agricultural products exalted the previous one proposed. There are two WTO’s agreements associated with Codex standard which are: 

1. The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures: SPS has indicated rules and restrictions for member countries to follow. However, the integration of SPS must be based on scientific facts and applied equally and transparently and should not be use as an unfair trade barrier.

2. The Agreement on the Technical Barriers to Trade

The Agreement on the Technical Barriers to Trade: TBT, 1994, has the purpose to prevent the use of national or regional technical requirements or general standards to be unfair technical barriers to trade. The agreement covers every standard including food quality requirements except requirement associated with SPS and measures that are designed to protect consumers from economic deception. By agreeing to WTO’s agreements, every country is vowed to emphasize, prioritize and act according to SPS and TBT. Therefore, Codex standard were use as reference for SPS agreement in determining food safety. In the event of a conflict in international trade, food safety standard such as standards for food additives, animal medicine, toxic residues in food, contaminants, sampling and analysis techniques and recommended food hygienic practices will be use in negotiation.


History of the ASEAN’s Halal Standardization

In 1981, The use of special label or mark for meat product prepared using Islamic method was proposed by Malaysia in Codex Coordinating Committee for Asia meeting.

In 1993, the Labelling of Food with Regard to Religious Requirements are Codex Coordinating Committee for Asia meeting hosted by Malaysia.

In 1996, ASEAN Adhoc Working Group on Halal Food Guidelines was established as a result of SOM-AMAF conference at Singapore on May 26th, 1996. And, in July of the same year, the first ASEAN Halal Working Group (Adhoc Working Group on Halal Food Guidelines’ meeting) was organized in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Thailand’s representative at that moment was Department of Livestock Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Halal guidelines were drafted during the meeting by the same department that proposed the draft in Codex meeting (See Codex Halal Standard, Chapter 4).

In 1997, the second ASEAN Halal Working Group was held in Jakarta, Indonisia, which is the first time that chief of Thailand’s Muslim and representatives from the Department of Livestock Development participated on Thailand’s behalf.

In November 1997, the third ASEAN Halal Working Group was held in Bangkok. This is the first time that representatives from Central Islamic Committee of Thailand and representatives from the Department of Livestock Development participated on Thailand’s behalf. Also, the writer has participated in the meeting as delegate from Chulalongkorn University. As the result of the meeting, general guidelines for ASEAN on preparation and practice of halal food drafting was the final resolve (See details at the end of chapter)

In Arpil 1998, the fourth ASEAN Halal Working Group was held. The meeting resolved in the use of temporary “ASEAN Halal” mark, ASEAN symbol placed next to halal mark of each country which is prone to change in the future.

Details of the ASEAN Halal Standard

Details referred to below are translated from the final draft of the Adhoc Working Group on Halal Food Guidelines as a result of the Third Meeting of Ad-Hoc Working Group on ASEAN Halal Food Guidelines during 24 – 26 November 1997 held in Bangkok. The draft has no effect in practice and this translation is informal, however aim to help halal manufacturer understand the guidelines of halal food production and distribution in ASEAN and of the world in the future.

General guidelines of ASEAN

On preparation and various practices against halal food

1. Objectives

To established guidelines in halal food preparation for food industry and prepare basic needs for halal certification for trade between ASEAN countries.

2. Scope
  1. This guideline will be used in conjunction with food preparation such as Good Manufacturing Practices according to hygiene and sanitation principles.
  2. And, apply to the use of word “Halal” written by religious officials, who are responsible for certification of halal food for distribution in ASEAN countries, of each country
3. Definition according to Shariah Law on approved food (Halal) and not approved food.
  1. Shariah Law is the Islamic law as stated in Al-Quran Al-Hadith (What the prophet Muhammad (Saul) had observed and said) Ijmah (Consensus of those who know)[1][1] and Gijas (Comparison)[2][2] which are widely accepted according to guidelines in Mashab Shafii, Hanafii, Maligii or Hambali depending on how a certain country will use it in what practical way.
  2. Definition of approved foods (Halal)
    The approved foods (Halal), Muslim food or the food that is halal or determined with word or other things that show the same meaning are: 
    (a) food or its composition contains no production of animal which are prohibited and may not be use for Muslim in Shariah law or animal that was not slaughter by Islamic way.
    (b) Foods that do not contain any elements which when considered found to be “Nayis” as described in Shariah law.
    (c) Must not be cooked or processed with equipment or tools that is considered Nayis as described in Shariah law.
    During the process of cooking, storage or transporting, said food must be completely separated from each other food that do not comply with (a), (b), (c) and other things that are considered Nayis as described in Shariah law.
4. Nayis as described in Shariah law

Nayis as described in Shariah law means: 
(a) The thing that itself is dirty (as defined by Islam) and cannot be cleaned such as pork, blood and animal carcasses.
(b) food that is approved by Islamic principles that is contaminated with dirtiness defined by Islam.
(c) Approved food that touches dirtiness as defined by Islam

5. Source of halal food and halal drinks
  1. Animal: can be divided into two categories
    1. Land animal: every land animal is approved as food except
      (a) animal that was not slaughter according to Shariah law
      (b) pigs
      (c) dogs
      (d) animal with sharp fangs (dog’s fangs or tusk) use in hunting such as tiger, lion, bear, elephant, cat and monkey
      (e) bird with talons or hunting bird
      (f) animal that are allowed by Islam to be killed such as mouse, scorpion, snake, crow etc.
      (g) animal that is dirty for public such as flea, lice and fly
      (h) animal that lives on both land and in water (amphibian) such as crocodile and turtle.
    2. Aquatic animal: Aquatic animal means animal that lives in water and cannot survive without it such as fish. Every aquatic animal is approved in Islam except the one that is poisonous, toxic or harmful to health.
  2. Plant: Every plant and product from plant is halal except plant that is poisonous, toxic or harmful to health.
  3. Drink: water and every kind of drinks are approved except the one that is poisonous, toxic or harmful to health or mixed with Nayis.
  4. All the food that is mentioned in 5.1.2 and 5.2, product from plant or aquatic animal is considered halal if neutralized or got rid of harmful substances during preparation or cook (completely neutralized).
6. Animal Slaughtering
  1. Slaughtering approved animal should be completely separated from unapproved animal following the rules: 
    (a) slaughtering should be done by faithful Muslim that understands the rules and conditions of Islamic animal slaughtering
    (b) slaughtered animal must be approved animal according to Islam
    (c) animal must be alive (before slaughter)
    (d) Slaughtering should cut the trachea, esophagus, large artery and veins around the neck
    (e) “Bismilla” should be read when cutting
    (f) tool or knife used should be sharp and should not be lifted during the slaughtering
  2. Animal stunning should be done as required
  3. Slaughtering poultry using a mechanical slice must be as specified
7. Service and storage and placement of products

Stored, placed, shelfed, or serviced halal products should be separated, labelled and approved in every process to prevent contamination from impurity and prohibited things in Islam.

8. Production process and operation

Food cannot be halal unless the follow condition are true: 

(a) product or components of the product does not contain component or products of animals that are unapproved according to Islamic principles or animals that are not slaughtered properly by Islamic standard.
(b) product must not more or less contain things that are Nayis according to Islam.
(c) product must be prepared or processed using equipment and tool, and within location that are not contaminated with Nayis.
(d) product must be prepared, processed, stored and transported, completely separately. Food that does not comply with (a), (b) and/or (c) is considered Nayis.

9. Health and sanitation
  1. Health was emphasized very importantly in Islam. It includes various condition of personal health, clothes, tools and working areas of food production. The main aim is to ensure that produced foods are clean and healthy.
  2. Health can be defined as lack of Nayis, contaminations and harmful germs.
  3. Every kind of food should be cooked, processed, packed, transported and stored concerning hygienic and sanitation factors or each member country and Codex’s general rules regarding hygiene and other related Codex standards.
10. Modification of guidelines

The guidelines may be added and modify specifically in agreement with the negotiation between member countries.
Modification and revision of the guidelines will be done as often as appropriate.