SAMARA, Oct 5, 2019, Pan Pacific Agency. Russia is a home to about 23 million Muslims, representing 57 indigenous ethnic groups now. Taking into account migrants, the number of Muslims in Russia is approaching 30 million, the head of the International Center for Standardization and Certification “Halal” of the Council of Muftis of the Russian Federation Aydar Gazizov said at the first-ever International Volga Investment Summit and World Halal Day in Samara. Moscow is home to about 3.5 million Muslims, and the city is considered to be the largest Muslim capital in Europe, he mentioned. “The number of Muslims in Russia is growing. Population growth is the driver of Halal industry development,” said Aydar Gazizov, reported Pan Pacific Agency.
Growth of demand among all segments of the Russians, not only among Muslims for halal products (allowed for Muslims) which are both useful and of a high quality, increased the number of companies offering Halal certification of goods and services up to 40. But there is no international set of requirements for products and services recognized as Halal. In Russia the creation of a national standard is still being under development. In every country Halal standards have their own characteristics, but everywhere in the Muslim world Halal certification is carried out by companies accredited by the spiritual authorities. In Russia, according to Aydar Gazizov, only three certifying companies are accredited, including the Center for Standardization and Certification “Halal” headed by him.
“There are dozens of organizations, committees, centers, companies that offer services for Halal certification. But most of them are not interrelated with the Spiritual administration of Muslims in Russia. “One and a half “people who don’t have education and work experience, I exaggerate, are in the state of many of these companies. Unfortunately, they offer services for certification of production without audit: online options, certification by photo, by video. Certificates offers to receive by mail or courier immediately after the transfer of money to the bank card”, complained the head of the Center for Standardization and Certification “Halal” of the Council of Muftis of Russia.
Because of this “there are egregious cases in Russia when in sausages marked as ‘Halal’ the state authorities find the quantitative composition of pork. And they still continue to prove that in a mixed enterprise, where there is a pork meat production, it is still possible to produce Halal”, he said. “It is a big problem. Last year’s scandal when pig carbonade was labelled as ‘Halal’ came to the highest level. Many Russian companies export Halal products to the Gulf countries. These scandals may discredit Russia. The country can be closed from export for five years. We’re going to lose billions of dollars. Then it will be very difficult for us to convince our colleagues from Arab countries that there was some unfortunate incident because of the so-called human factor,” Aidar Gazizov warned.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin has set a task to increase the export of Russian agricultural products to 45 billion rubles by 2024, Mr. Gazizov recalled: “Now we trade for 25 billion rubles per annum. It’s necessary to double export in five years. Taking into account the situation in the world, the main buyers now are the countries of the Arab-Muslim world. And there is nothing to do there without Halal certification.”
“The Government will find the will and mechanisms to bring order to the Halal certification market,” the head of the Halal standardization and certification center assured. The working group on the Halal standard under the official Russian standardization body, Rosstandart, starts working on a standard for certification bodies, “which will clearly indicate the criteria that certifying companies will have to meet in order to stop this chaos,” Aydar Gazizov added.
Russian version of this article is available here.