Specialty food packaging requirements are nothing new. While dietary preferences and trends might come and go, halal food preparation has remained constant for centuries. With the dawn of modern food manufacturing and packaging, the onus for proper preparation has shifted largely to the manufacturer.
Because of its cultural significance, halal packaging requirements are among the most rigorous. To get it right, a food manufacturer must maintain a solid understanding of halal tradition and the time-tested standards behind it.
Below is a brief guide to halal food packaging and the steps food manufacturers must take to ensure compliance.
What Is Halal?
Halal is rooted in the Islamic culture. In fact, the word “halal” is Arabic for “lawful” or permitted. Halal requirements extend well beyond food preparation, but the word is most associated with food.
In terms of halal packaging standards for food, it all boils down to what can and can’t be included and how the products (or live animals) are handled during production.
Halal Standards for Food Preparation
High standards for halal food preparation are deeply rooted in Muslim tradition, promoting safe and sanitary food handling. Before modern food preparation prioritized food safety to the degree it does today, halal standards were one way to guarantee food was safe for consumption while honoring the Islamic tradition of respect.
One of the major tenets of halal food preparation is treatment of animals before slaughter. Animals cannot be subjected to a torturous death (strangulation or beating, for example). A Muslim prayer must be said before the animal is swiftly slaughtered.
Additionally, halal does not allow for the use of meat of animals that died prior to slaughtering (those killed by other animals, for example). Although religion plays a major role in this idea, it’s also historically an effective way to prevent meat contamination.
Because this process must be strictly executed, Muslim organizations must oversee processes or certify that they were done according to halal certification guidelines. (More on that in a later section.)
Forbidden Food Items
In addition to forbidding products that not prepared to a dedicated specification, halal governs what products can and cannot be included in halal-certified foods. For example, all fruit and vegetables are permitted, as are most types of seafood. Milk and eggs are also allowed — as long as they come from halal animals.
This leads us to products that do NOT qualify as halal.
One of the most known forbidden meats is pork. As noted in the section above, any meat that died prior to halal slaughter is also prohibited. Further forbidden food and beverages include anything containing alcohol or drugs.
Many ingredients are permitted only if properly identified, as we’ll explain in the next section.
Halal packaging has a lot to do with how products are labeled. For example, food additives, enzymes, emulsifiers and flavors must be clearly marked on the packaging. To further certify the product is halal-compliant, the food manufacturer must make an effort around traceability so that the consumer can see the food’s origin and composition.
Finally, halal food labels must identify the agency behind certification or name the person who oversaw the process.
Who Can Certify?
Several groups are recognized in the Muslim community as being accredited for certifying halal foods. Certifiers around the world adhere to halal standards and will offer their certification label to products that meet requirements. Once labeled as such, certified halal foods are recognized globally as being so.
Food suppliers and manufacturers must apply for halal certification and undergo the proper qualifying steps — including observation of food preparation and inspection of ingredients. While the process is rigorous, a qualified food manufacturer or packaging company makes it far simpler.
Why PacMoore Is Your Source for Halal Food Packaging
As you can see from the information in this article, halal food manufacturing and packaging is not simple. It takes an incredible attention to detail and rigorous oversight from halal certification agencies.
That’s just one more reason to partner with PacMoore. We are no strangers to complexity. Our years of experience in specialty foods of all types — as well as our key contacts in certification — help our clients get their halal food products on the shelf. We offer services in planning, production, packaging, storage and more.
Whether it’s halal, kosher, gluten-free or any other specialty food segment, PacMoore brings unmatched expertise to the table. Contact us today to learn more about the processes behind halal certification and to find out what PacMoore can do for you.