Why is Halal Certification for Chemical Products Important?
Halal certification is critical for chemical products for many of the same reasons it is critical for all consumables. It is the number one determinant of consumption for 2 billion halal consumers. However, there are a few specific key factors that make halal chemical certification necessary.
Integral to Commercial Food and Beverage Production
Chemicals are a vital component of commercial manufacturing as commercial producers utilize them in everything from machine lubricants to packaging. Thus, ensuring that they are halal is very important to halal-certified manufacturers.
Assume, for example, you are a frozen meal manufacturer that is AHF halal certified. When reviewing your products and production process, a halal auditor will check to ensure that all lubricants are suitable for halal production. Now, you will reach out to your supplier to see if the lubricant is halal-certified. If it is not halal certified, you may look to one of several certified suppliers of lubricants to meet the audit requirements. You can extrapolate this example to other critical production components like sanitation agents, packaging, and additives, where companies who are certified seek to work with certified suppliers.
Lack of Consumer Understanding
When reading a label with several chemical ingredients or complex ingredients with mostly chemical composition, a consumer will most likely not understand the underlying composition and may be confused about whether the product is halal. With halal compliance being the largest influence on purchasing behavior for halal consumers, they may “when in doubt, leave it out.”
A classic example of this is the E numbers. Most consumers are not familiar with the underlying halal compliance of the E numbers. A halal certification logo will eliminate the need for a consumer to delve into the intricacies of each ingredient.
The world is made up of chemicals. From humans to plants, in the living world, chemicals serve a multitude of functions. Chemicals are also integral to modern human consumables production, from pharmaceuticals to beverages. In industrial settings, chemicals are a part of the production process from beginning to end.
Chemical substances are materials with a definite chemical composition, including pure substances (elements) and mixtures (compounds) with a defined composition or manufacturing process.
A chemical element is a substance made up of a particular atom. An element cannot be broken down into different elements. It can, however, be transmuted into another element through a nuclear reaction. There are 118 known elements, about 80 of which are stable, i.e., they do not change by radioactive decay into other elements. The majority of elements are classified as ‘Metals. Examples of metals are iron, copper, gold, silver, etc. Around a dozen elements are classified as ‘Non-metals”. Examples of non-metals are carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, etc. Certain elements that form a simple substance having properties intermediate between a typical metal and a typical nonmetal are known as ‘Metalloids”. Examples of metalloids are silicon, antimony, arsenic, etc. In principle, chemical elements are halal.
A chemical compound is a chemical substance that has a particular set of atoms or ions. Two or more elements combined into one structure through a chemical reaction form a ‘chemical compound.’ A chemical compound can be either atoms bonded together in molecules or crystals in which atoms, molecules, or ions form a crystalline lattice. Chemical compounds are classified as ‘organic’ and ‘inorganic’. Organic Compounds are based primarily on carbon and hydrogen atoms. All other compounds are categorized as inorganic compounds. In principle, chemical compounds can be halal or haram.
A vast number of chemical compounds are possible through the chemical combination of known chemical elements. Over 177 million organic and inorganic compounds are in the scientific literature and registered in public databases. For easier identification, CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) is recognized to provide a numerical label known as “CAS Registry Number” to each chemical substance reported in the chemical literature.
Within the chemical industry, manufactured chemicals are often classified by production volume into “bulk chemicals,” “fine chemicals,” and “research chemicals.”
Bulk chemicals are produced in large quantities, usually with highly optimized commercial production processes and at a relatively low price. Examples of bulk or commodity chemicals are polymers, bulk petrochemicals, basic industrial chemicals, inorganic chemicals, and fertilizers.
Fine chemicals are produced at a high cost in small quantities for special low-volume applications. Examples of fine chemicals or specialty chemicals are industrial gases, adhesives, sealants, coating, corrosion inhibitors, antioxidants, petrochemicals made from oil feedstock, dyes, lubricants, pigments, industrial cleaning chemicals, electronic chemicals, etc.
Research chemicals or life science chemicals are produced individually for research. These chemicals are differentiated biological and chemical substances that induce specific outcomes in humans, animals, plants, and other life forms. These chemicals include pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, biotechnology products, diagnostic animal health products, vitamins, crop protection chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides), etc.
There are also consumer product chemicals, such as soap, detergent, cosmetics, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Chlorine, Ammonia, Ethylene, Phosphoric acid, Sulfuric acid, and lime Propylene, Polyethylene, etc. that are sold in retail settings.
Five Common Industrial Chemicals are:
(1) Sulfuric Acid (H2 So4) – Most commonly produced in the world
(2) Ethylene (C2H4) – Over 150 million tons are produced every year
(3) Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
(4) Propylene (C3H6)
(5) Nitrogen (N2)
What makes a chemical halal or haram?
There are two key criteria for the evaluation of whether a chemical is halal or not (haram):
- Source of origin
- Application or consumable effect
If the source of origin is a non-halal (haram) source, then the resultant chemical product will also be considered haram. Furthermore, if the source origin intrinsically is halal, but a non-halal processing aid, raw material, catalyst, or packaging material was utilized, the resultant product will be considered haram.
How to obtain halal chemical certification?
The first step in obtaining halal certification for chemical products is completing the halal application.
The halal application for certification is chiefly concerned with two items:
- Production Facility/Process
At the product level, the application seeks to evaluate the product’s raw materials for halal compliance. A member of the AHF technical team will research each raw material for compliance with international halal standards. The product would be deemed halal-suitable after successfully completing the product evaluation step.
At the production facility level, the application seeks to evaluate the production processes to ascertain whether or not the company can produce the product in a manner that maintains the integrity of the halal product. The other aspect is to ensure that the relevant protocols are in place to protect the halal identity of the product.
AHF takes an integrative approach to create a halal program, often leveraging many existing SOPs and protocols to form a halal program.
Lastly, an internal halal committee is set up that is responsible for administering halal matters internally.
The next step in the process is the audit. Fundamentally the audit has two key components:
- Facility Audit
The training portion is focused on ensuring the company’s internal stakeholders are abreast of the principles that govern halal so they can further ensure all employees are working in compliance with internal controls for halal compliance.
The facility audit portion seeks to ascertain whether the items submitted in the application are in effect and to what extent. If an auditor needs additional clarification on some items, he will request them from the internal halal committee. If there are any non-conformities, a notice will be issued along with a time for corrective action.
After successfully completing the audit, AHF will release the halal certification documents. Your products will bear the most recognized symbol of integrity, authenticity, and wholesomeness worldwide. You may add products or facilities at any time by contacting your Account Executive.