Industry Articles

The Nuts and Bolts of Halal Certification

SHD2021_ED03_Pix01The demand for halal certification has surged since Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (Muis) developed the halal certification in Singapore in 1978. Under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), Muis is the only authorised body given the power to issue halal certificates in Singapore. In 2019, Muis certified 4,126 premises and 80,669 product types made in Singapore.

Halal certification is the most important prerequisite for entering the halal markets in Singapore and globally. Although not compulsory for businesses, obtaining halal certification provides assurance that a food or product is prepared, processed, stored and handled in a manner that is suitable for Muslims.

To seize a slice of the halal market in Singapore, where Muslims constitute a significant proportion (14 percent of the population*), it pays to be halal-certified, provided that your eating establishment can keep up with the rigorous stipulations laid by Muis.

What types of Halal Certificates are there?
Pick the right scheme that applies to your business. There are seven types of halal certification schemes.
1. Product (PO) – for locally-manufactured/processed products;
2. Eating Establishment (EE) – for eateries including hawkers, restaurants, fast food chains, cafeteria, snack bars, bakeries, school canteen stalls, food kiosks, food stations in hotel restaurants and temporary food stalls;
3. Food Preparation Area (FPA) – for central kitchens operated by food caterers, hospitals and airports, and pre-school kitchens;
4. Poultry Abattoir (PA) – for freshly slaughtered poultry;
5. Endorsement (EN) – for manufacturers, importers and/or exporters who intend to import, export or re-export products which have been halal certified by Muis or foreign halal-certifying authorities and/or agencies;
6. Storage Facility (SF) – for mobile and stationary storage areas such as cold rooms and warehouses;
7. Whole Plant (WP) – for manufacturing facilities and all products manufactured therein.

Retail food establishments such as hawkers, restaurants, fast food chains, cafeteria, snack bars, bakeries, school canteen stalls, food kiosks, food stations, fall under the Eating Establishment Scheme (EE Scheme).

The scope of certification for EE Scheme covers:
• transporting, receiving, storage and handling of raw materials, additives and processing aids;
• the entire process of food storage and preparation;
• collecting, handling, washing and storage of equipment and utensils;
• the delivery of cooked food; and
• dining areas.

Retail establishment business are required to apply other relevant schemes in addition to the EE scheme, if their establishment also provides catering, has a central kitchen service, procures processed foods from an external kitchen, has its kitchen off-site, prepares/packs food for sale at other retail outlets not managed by them, or if their raw materials and processing aids are stored off-site.

What are the critical halal certification conditions?
The Muis halal certification conditions are broadly categorised under:
• Halal Requirements
– All raw materials, additives and processing aids used must be halal and must be substantiated with supporting documents. 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.

• Staffing Requirements
– There must be a minimum of 2 Muslim staff employed in each premises that have applied for halal certification, one of which shall be appointed as the “Muslim Representative” in a Halal Team, required under HalMQ .

• System Requirements
– The applicant must comply with the Singapore MUIS Halal Quality Management System (HalMQ) which consists of 10 principles.

Submit Go Where
All new applications for halal certification are to be made online via GoBusiness Licensing, the new rebranded portal from LicenceOne since 31 October 2019. Log in using your CorpPass or SingPass. Before you login to GoBusiness Licensing, ensure you have with you:
1. NEA / AVA license
2. Floorplan of premises to be certified
3. List of all ingredients
4. List of all menu items
5. Pictures of delivery vehicles (For FPA schemes only)
6. Pictures of product labels (For PO / WP schemes only)

Fees

Application fees for Halal Certification
For a typical owner of an eating establishment such as a restaurant, the cost of halal certification (valid for a year), not including training staff on halal requirements, can range from S$775 to over S$1,140 depending on the floor area. The application processing fees are S$159.

The MUIS Halal certification fees schedule can be found at https://www.muis.gov.sg/Halal/Halal-Certification/Application-Fees .

The first stage fee, which consist of the application fee and 40% of the certification fee, must be paid online via the GoBusiness Licensing portal. The application will only be processed 7 – 14 working days after the fee has been made.

No application fee is required for change or renewal applications.

Fees for Halal Training
Halal foundation training (two-days) is mandatory for one Muslim staff and one other staff in the Halal team within halal certified premises. Provided by Muis-appointed training provider, Warees Halal Limited, the course fees are S$390 (Skills Development Fund grants available for operational level). In response to the COVID-19 situation, Warees is providing the Halal Foundation (Online Learning) course at S$200. There is also a recommended programme - Level 2 Halal training (two-days) where participants will learn about developing and implementing the HalMQ for a fee of S$535 per person.

What Happens After I Submit My Application?
After applying via GoBusiness Licensing, you will have to undergo audits and satisfy the audit inspection. 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.

1. Desktop Audit:
An auditor appointed by Muis will look through the online application to ensure that all relevant information and supporting documents are provided.

2. Shortcoming Cycle:
Any missing information, unfulfilled conditions or remarks by the auditor will have to be rectified before the deadline given via the GoBusiness Licensing portal.

3. Site Audit:
The auditor will go down to the premises for audit inspection. 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. It is recommended that you access the GoBusiness Licensing portal regularly for updates on your application status, any shortcoming notices and audit reports. When all Halal certification conditions are met, the auditor will recommend the application to Muis for approval. An invoice will be sent to the registered applicant email once the certificate is ready for collection.

SHD2021_ED03_Pix02
SHD2021_ED03_Pix03