AUTHENTICITY QUESTIONS HOUND PHILIPPINE HALAL GOAT INDUSTRY
THE COUNTRY’S HALAL GOAT INDUSTRY is confronted by the problem of authenticity, which is hindering its entry into the huge international halal trade. To penetrate the international market—a development which could provide a vast source of business opportunities for local halal goat raisers—the problem should be addressed promptly. Many Filipino Muslim farmers raise goats which are classified as ‘halal’; however, these goats are only acceptable to the local consumers in their respective areas.
WHAT IS HALAL? ‘Halal’ simply means ‘permitted’ and/or ‘lawful’. When we talk about ‘halal food’, the term refers to any food that may be eaten as it is in accordance with the Shariah (the Islamic legal system) law. This means that for any food to be considered halal, it must comply with the religious rituals and observance of Shariah law.
In a study, researchers from the Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU) and University of Southern Mindanao (USM) attributed the problem to the absence of halal goat production and haram detection protocols in the region, and the farmers’ limited knowledge of proper production and postproduction practices.
‘Haram’ is an Arabic term which means ‘sinful’, and it is used to refer to any act that is forbidden by Allah.
As a result, goat meat sold as as halal in most markets in Region 12 are contaminated with haram substances, including pork derivatives.
Most of the time, people will place their trust in the fact that an individual who raises a goat or owns a meat shop is a Muslim who at least practices most of the strictures of his or her religion to ascertain whether the meat they are buying is halal. However, this is not enough to ensure that the meat being sold is truly halal.
The reality is that to determine whether it is truly halal, research must be done regarding the source of the meat, with attention paid to details like the abattoir from whence the meat came.
Experts explained that the halal system, as it applies to food, incorporates the concept of “farm to plate,” and covers the entire halal food quality assurance process. This is to promote hygiene and good health as prescribed by Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, based on Islamic belief.
To address the issue of how to determine whether goat meat is authentic halal, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research of the Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD)— through its National Goat Science and Technology (S&T) Program—implemented a project on the establishment of standard protocols for halal goat production and a quality assurance system.
Based on the program, SKSU researchers developed a set of protocols for raising halal goats, while researchers from USM developed protocols to detect haram or unlawful elements in halal goat meat processin. These protocols have been validated and proven to be functional. They incorporate essential elements of the science of halal goat production vis-à-vis religious foundations of cleanliness, hygiene, good health, and good intentions.
They also underscore basic concerns such as the need for a strategic grazing and housing system, health management, and Shariah-compliant slaughtering procedures.
Strategic grazing requires employing a Muslim shepherd who will ensure that the goats are herded in clean pastures for at least for two hours per day during sunny days, and housed during inclement weather.
Clean pastures prohibit the use of the manure of unlawful animals as soil ameliorants in the forage garden. It allows,