In order for any product to be considered halal or legal under Islamic law, it must meet specific production regulations. Certain foods and manufacturing process are legal, while others are not; those that aren't are called haraam. The halal industry includes companies that are certified halal, meaning that their products and methods meet the appropriate criteria, as well as those that offer halal services and lifestyle choices. This industry is not restricted to Muslim countries, but has a presence in many nations around the world.
Those individuals who have decided to live according to Islamic law rely on the halal industry. Strict practitioners will only purchase goods that are allowed, so certification makes shopping much easier. Although most individuals who use halal products follow the Muslim religion, there is also a portion of the population that is not Muslim but favors halal products because of the product origin and good manufacturing practices. Halal regulations affect a number of different products, including ingredients and additives, personal care and pharmaceutical goods, and food products.
The halal industry provides a range of services that are specific to many other industries. These services include regulation, logistics, and marketing for all types of products. Research and technology is another important service, as funding is used to create new halal products or alter existing illegal items to those that can be certified.
Another important part of these services is inspection and certification. Many manufacturers want products to be certified, recognizable by the halal symbol. For this to happen, the raw materials and manufacturing process is thoroughly inspected and must meet specific standards. In many countries, certification from the the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) is recognized.
Most commonly, individuals associate the term halal with specific foods. Halal products must be from nature, and the law forbids the consumption of pork, alcohol, and improperly slaughtered animals. Slaughter is very important part of making meat halal, and utilizes a method called Dhabiha, which uses sharp knives to cut the carotid artery and wind pipe but not the spinal cord.
Ingredients and additives within the halal industry are also linked to food and food production. These ingredients must be natural, from plants and animals. Fats from plants are considered halal, but other fats are not. Processing is also important, as additives from alcoholic fermentation are not considered legal. Food products cannot be certified unless all ingredients that go into them are halal.
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products within the halal industry comply with the same standards as foods. Manufacturing practices, raw materials, and processing methods must all be certified halal. Restrictions on raw materials mean that many such products come from herbal extracts, plants, and non-alcoholic fermentation. Cell culture techniques may also be used, as long as the culture medium does not contain any pork nutrients.