How to Apply for Halal Certification for Your Singapore Restaurant
As Singapore is a multi-racial society, it is necessary for eateries to be sensitive and educated in the religious rules and regulations in the food & beverage industry.
In particular, serving food to Muslims, which requires food prepared to be “Halal” for their consumption. This article will explain to you what is “Halal”, how you can ensure your restaurant is Halal-certified and how to obtain a Halal certificate.
What Does It Mean to be Halal-Certified?
“Halal” is an Arabic word which means “lawful” or “allowable”. Muslims can only consume food and drinks that are halal. Non-Halal, or “Haram” food or drinks are prohibited from consumption.
In general, all harmful things such as:
- The meat of animals that were already dead before they could be slaughtered;
- Intoxicating drugs; and
are considered Haram.
Being Halal-certified does not simply mean that no pork or lard are used as ingredients in your eatery. All ingredients and utensils used for food preparation must also be Halal.
This means that Halal animals must be slaughtered by Muslims while a short prayer is said. The animals are also slaughtered with very sharp knives to cause a quick death and thorough drainage of blood.
Aquatic animals like fish need not be slaughtered in similar ways as they die quickly when out of water and do not have as much blood as land animals. Applicants should also ensure that raw ingredients such as gelatin used to prepare food are Halal as well as they may consist extracts (bones or skin) of Haram animals.
Utensils that were in contact with Haram ingredients such as pork or dog meat must not be used in Halal food preparation unless they have undergone ritual cleansing by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) or MUIS-appointed agent.
In addition to ensuring that there is a proper procedure to food preparation, there is a list of requirements that needs to be followed before your restaurant can be Halal-certified.
The following contains some essential information on how to get your eatery Halal-certified.
Who Should You Apply to for Halal Certification?
In Singapore, Halal-certification is managed by the MUIS, also known as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. There are 7 scheme types for different types of food establishments. Retail food establishments such as restaurants will fall under the Eating Establishment Scheme (EE Scheme).
The EE Scheme certifies the scope of certification which covers, amongst others:
- The entire process of transporting, receiving, storage and handling of raw materials;
- The entire process of food storage and preparation;
- Collection, handling, washing and storage of equipment and utensils;
- Delivery of cooked food; and
- Halal dining areas
What are MUIS Halal Certification Conditions?
All applicants must abide by the MUIS Halal Certification Conditions as stated in the EE Scheme. All potential applicants are strongly recommended to read the MUIS Halal Certification Conditions thoroughly before proceeding with their application.
As there are quite a few conditions to be complied with, only some of the more important conditions will be addressed in this article.
- All raw materials, processing aids and additives must be Halal. This must be declared on the MUIS eHalal System which is the platform where all Halal certification applications are made. Their Halal status must be substantiated with 1 or more supporting documents.
- Applicants must clearly define the scope of certification by labelling and submitting a floor plan to MUIS. Applicants must also ensure that Haram or doubtful items are not brought into the scope of certification (mentioned above).
- Applicants must ensure that there are clearly defined production lines, kitchen areas, storage areas, crockery, utensils and dishwashing facilities for the handling and processing of Halal products and materials. If any of the utensils or facilities have previously come into direct contact with Haram items, this must be declared and subject to ritual cleansing by MUIS.
- Applicants must engage at least 2 Muslim employees. One of the Muslim employees shall be appointed as the “Muslim Representative” in the Halal Team.
- All applicants must comply with the Singapore MUIS Halal Quality Management System (HalMQ) which consists of 10 principles. One of the principles requires a Halal Team to be established for ensuring compliance with the MUIS Halal Certification Conditions.
- The Halal Team shall comprise of the Halal Team leader, the Muslim Representative (both of them should successfully complete a mandatory Halal Training programme by MUIS-appointed training provider) and other members.
- The role of the Halal Team leader is to oversee the compliance of the MUIS Halal Certification Conditions and rectify any non-compliance.
- The role of the Muslim Representative is to advise the eatery on Halal food matters and religious sensitivities. He/she should also endorse invoices and delivery orders to ensure that all products and raw materials are Halal and have been approved by MUIS.
Note that, unless otherwise advised by MUIS, franchise or chain outlets, food stations must only form 1 Halal Team.
The complete set of conditions for the EE Scheme is available here.
Where can You Submit Your Application and How?
All Halal applications must be made online via the GoBusiness licensing platform.
When submitting the application, you will be required to:
- Declare information such as your establishment’s name and address
- Upload items such as menu, ingredients, suppliers, premise layout plan, etc.
- Pay the following fees:
- 100% of the application fee
- 40% of the certification fee
Your application will then be processed and verified to ensure that you have met the Halal Certification Conditions.
A certification audit will also be conducted. This entails an auditor going down to the premises for audit inspection to check for compliance with the 10 principles of the HalMQ. Any shortcomings will have to be rectified before the given deadline and another site audit will be conducted to ensure that all shortcomings have been rectified.
How Long is the Application Process?
The application will commence within 14 working days from the receipt of the application fee for new (normal) applications and within 7 working days for new (express) applications.
The length of the application process to certification depends on how fast the applicant clears the audits required by MUIS. Similar to all types of audits, any shortcomings will require rectification by the applicant before the certification can proceed.
It is therefore recommended that you access the MUIS eHalal System regularly for updates on your application status, any shortcoming notices and audit reports.
What Happens After You have been Successfully Certified?
Once the application has been approved, an invoice will be sent to the email address registered in your application when the Halal certificate is ready for collection.
You will then have to make the second payment which is 60% of the certification fee before you can collect the certificate.
The valid and original Halal certificate issued must be displayed prominently for easy public viewing within your restaurant. You cannot display a photocopied version of the certificate instead.
Note that you are required to update GoBusiness on any changes regarding Muslim staff, menu, products, raw materials and suppliers, etc.
Must the Certificate be Renewed?
The Halal certificate is only valid for the period stated in the certificate and is renewable subject to the prevailing MUIS Halal Certificate Conditions. Halal certificates are usually valid for 1 or 2 years before they expire.
You must renew your Halal certificate at least 1 to 3 months before the expiry of the current halal certificate.
Application fees for Halal certification
The MUIS Halal certification fees schedule can be found here. For restaurants, the type of scheme to look at is “EE-RESTAURANT”.
No application fee is required for change or renewal applications, but the following amounts of certification fees apply:
- For amended applications, 60% of the certification fee must be made.
- For renewed applications, 100% of the certification fee must be made.
Fees for Halal training
It is mandatory for 1 Muslim staff and 1 other staff within the premise for certification to participate in the Level 1 Halal Foundation Programme.
Upon completing the Level 1 Foundation Programme, there is also a Level 2 Halal training programme where participants will learn about developing and implementing the HalMQ. This is strongly recommended, although not compulsory, for the Halal Team leader and members within the Halal certified premises.
For a list of the training programmes and their fees, can be found here.
What Happens if You’re Found to Have Breached the Conditions of Certification after being Certified?
Random periodic inspections will be conducted to ensure that the certified premises are abiding by the MUIS Halal Certification Conditions. If non-compliance is detected during the inspections, the certificate holder will have to rectify the issue before the given deadline.
However, MUIS also reserves the right to suspend or revoke the Halal certification with immediate effect upon written notice to your restaurant if it is found to have breached any of the MUIS Halal Certification Conditions.
For more information, please contact MUIS:
Halal Certification Strategic Unit
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
(Islamic Religious Council of Singapore)
Singapore Islamic Hub, 273 Braddell Road,
|Tel: (65) 6359 1199 Fax: (65) 6259 4733
URL: www.muis.gov.sg / www.halal.sg
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