An Indian agency handling meat export had dropped the mention of ‘halal’ in a manual possibly due to pressure from predominantly right-wing Hindu groups and some lesser known Sikh organisations.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is reported to have removed the word from its ‘Red Meat Manual’ amidst a social media campaign by Hindu right-wing groups and Sikh organisations, according to Indian media reports.
In a twitter response on 20 Dec 2020, APEDA said: “There is no condition by Govt. of India that only Halal Meat to be exported. It is requirement of majority of importing countries/Importers. Halal Certification agencies are accredited directly by respective importing countries. No Govt agency has any role in this.”
The twitter entry had also linked readers to the third edition of ‘Indian Meat Industry Red Meat manual’.
The APEDA manual had earlier stated that “animals are slaughtered strictly according to halal method to meet the requirement of Islamic countries”, but now says “the animals are slaughtered according to the requirement of importing country/importer”, reports Indian Express.
It said the manual has also deleted these lines: “The animals are slaughtered by halal system under strict vigilance of (a) recognised and registered Islamic body as per the tenets of Islamic Shariyat. The certificate for halal is issued by the representative of registered Islamic body under whose supervision the slaughter is conducted in order to meet the requirement of (the) importing country.”
The newspaper report quoted unnamed sources as saying that the change was made as the use of word halal in the old manual gave the impression that this was mandatory for all meat exports.
The halal requirement is, for example, mentioned in a letter entitled ‘Advisory for exports of food items to Dubai’ dated 18 Jan 2019 and signed by APEDA GM UK Vats, sighted by Asia Samacar at the agency’s website. The letter noted that for meat, poultry and its products, UAE requires, among others, a halal certification issued by an approved halal organisation.
The latest edition of the red meat manual said India is successfully exporting buffalo meat to more than 70 countries, with major markets being Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Algeria, and Russia.
During 2018-19, India exported 1.24 million MT of buffalo meat products worth of US$3.61 billion. Malaysia imported buffalo meat products worth about US$370 annually for 2017-18 and 2018-19 period.
Haq-halal (Asia Samachar, 13 Feb 2018)