Halal products and their certification are relevant in terms of a wide range of sectors such as food and beverage, finance, textile and cosmetics. Despite the extensive demand for halal products, there is no standardization for certification of halal products around the world. Different standards and certification processes are being applied by different certification institutions in different jurisdictions or even within the same jurisdiction. Lack of internationally accepted standardization in halal standards and halal product certification cause some difficulties in international trade of halal products. One of the significant steps taken by the Republic of Turkey towards establishment of internationally recognized standards and certification system in this field is the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries which has 36 member countries in total. Another significant step with respect is the establishment of the Halal Accreditation Institution. In order to set out the legal framework regarding the halal accreditation activities, the Halal Accreditation Institution has issued (i) Regulation on Halal Accreditation Advisory Board Working Procedures and Principles; and (ii) Regulation on Accreditation of Halal Certification Intuitions, which are published on the Official Gazette dated 16 October 2019 and numbered 30920 and have become effective upon their announcement.
Regulation on Accreditation of Halal Certification Intuitions (“Accreditation Regulation”)
The Accreditation Regulation sets out procedures and principles for (i) accreditation of halal certification institutions by the Halal Accreditation Institution; and (ii) the halal accreditation and halal accreditation assessment process.
Pursuant to the Accreditation Regulation, institutions engaged in halal accreditation assessment activities in accordance with locally and internationally acknowledged standards (“CIs”) are to apply to the Halal Accreditation Institution (“Institution”) in order to be accredited.
In order for CIs to be accredited by the Halal Accreditation Institution, CIs must satisfy the following:
- During the inspections, it should be determined and verified that while conducting its activities, the CI is (i) complying with local and international legislation and standards that it is subject to; (ii) applying the regulations to be issued by the Institution in accordance with the relevant legislation and announced on its website; (iii) satisfying the locally and internationally acknowledged technical criteria required by the halal accreditation system;
- CIs must pay the annual accreditation fee and the fees for the services to be received which are to be determined by the Institution and announced on its website; and
- The approval of the Board of Directors of the Institution confirming that the CI satisfies the above criteria must be received.
CIs must also sign an agreement which sets out the terms and conditions that they undertake to comply with during and after the accreditation process (“Accreditation Agreement”), in order to be accredited.
The Institution will determine and announce on its website, the processes to be followed for accreditation activities and procedures and principles to be applied during these procedures by the Institution, as well as other details regarding the implementation process.
Upon being accredited, the CI receives an accreditation certificate laying out the scope of its accreditation and become entitled to use a halal accreditation brand which is defined under its Accreditation Agreement.
Obligations to be fulfilled by a CI which is accredited include, among others, the following:
- Conducting its activities by complying with the terms and conditions under its Accreditation Agreement;
- Declaration to third parties and the public the scope of its accreditation;
- Payment of its annual accreditation fee and fees in return of the services received;
- Declaration of activities which are not within the scope of its accreditation in order for third parties and the public to have a better understanding of those and establishment of procedures regarding separation of activities within the scope of its accreditation and those that are not;
- Complying with national and international standards, requirements under the applicable legislation and warnings to be issued by the Institution in respect of its advertisement, promotion and public announcements activities and performance of the requests by the Instutition.
Additionally, the Accreditation Regulation provides that CIs should take sufficient and required financial, technical and administrative measures in order to be able to recover damages that may arise from the risks associated with its professional liabilities.
The Accreditation Regulation further provides that, in case of non-compliance with the rules, the Institution is entitled to suspend, revoke or limit its accreditation.
The CIs whose halal accreditations have been suspended or revoked cannot use its halal accreditation certificate and rights arising from such certificate and the use of advertisements and promotions identifying such CI as an accredited institution status and HAK halal accreditation brand will be ceased.
Regulation on Halal Accreditation Consultancy Board Working Procedures and Principles
The duty of the Consultancy Board established pursuant to the Regulation on Halal Accreditation Consultancy Board Working Procedures and Principles is to assist the Institution on the following: (i) determination of policies, strategies and targets in relation to the halal accreditation; (ii) establishment of credible halal accreditation mechanism internationally; (iii) provision of recommendations regarding the promotion, priorities and problems of the Institution and solutions to such problems; (iv) scientific and academic studies needed by the Institution. The Regulation additionally governs the formation of the Consultancy Board and principles and procedures applicable to the meetings.