TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

'Chicken coming in from US not halaal certified by SA bodies'

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 Published: | Mamaponya Motsai

Source: SABC News (South Africa)

Top halaal certifying bodies in the country say they have not certified poultry imported from the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) deal.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the South African National Halaal Authority and the National Independent Halaal Trust (Sanha)and the National Independent Halaal Trust (NIHT) say they have not approved any of the poultry that has entered the country as halaal.

Achmat Sedick, Director of the (MJC), says halaal meat imported into the country is first certified in the exporting country and local bodies then scrutinise and endorse or reject the certificate. 

“The importing country employs a body in that country to certify the meat as halaal and when it does come to South Africa, if we know them or have a relationship with them, will endorse the certificate. If we don’t know them, we will not endorse the chicken,” says Sedick.

He says if they do not have any relationship with the original certifier, they will do some research to see if they are credible and will reject or endorse the meat is halaal depending on what they find.

Sedick says another issue that adds to the concern around who endorses poultry from the US is mechanically slaughtered.

This, however, has not happened with the Agoa chicken. 

About 8% of the chicken imported into South Africa in 2016 was from the US and according to the South African Poultry Association, most of it is sold in delis. 

Sedick says some of that chicken is being sold as halaal despite the fact that the MJC and other well-known bodies have not endorsed it. 

Sedick says another issue that adds to the concern around who endorses poultry from the US is mechanically slaughtered.

Abdul Wahab Wookay from the NIHT and Muhammed Saeed Navlakhi from Sanha also says their orginasation has not been involved in endorsing halaal poultry from the US.

Despite this Sedick says some of the poultry is being sold as halaal.

“Importers not registered bring in imported meat and sell it as halaal, but we cannot vouch for it as halaal or not. They bring in this chicken and sell it as halaal, but it is without our knowledge, without our endorsement,” says Sedick.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says it is not in a position to know whether poultry products brought into the country have been halaal certified or not.

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