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Seminar on Halal Certification: Promoting Sustainability and Fairness in Halal Concept

On 23rd of August, 2017, Indonesian Student Associations in Wageningen (PPIW) in corporation with Agriculture and Environment Agency (LPLH) of Special Branch Nahdlatul Ulama (PCI-NU) in the Netherlands held a Seminar on Halal Certification: promoting sustainability and fairness in Halal Thoyyiban concept. The event was held in FORUM Building, Wageningen University & Research, and was also supported by Wageningen University & Research and the Indonesian Embassy to the Kingdom of Netherlands.

There were around 100 participants attending the event whom comprised as groups of students, researchers, practitioners, members of PPIW, members of PCI NU the Netherlands, and members of PCI NU Germany. Furthermore, our special attendees came from Indonesia, whom were represented by Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) and Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama Indonesia (PB NU). Along with our representative guests from MUI and PB NU, Prof. Bambang Hari Wibisono as the attaché of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Senior Superintendent Yuda Gustawan as the Police attaché also joined the event.

The event was opened with the audiences sang the National anthem of Indonesia “Indonesia Raya” together, and then followed by welcoming speeches from the chairman of PPIW – M. Gumilang Pramudyatama, chief of LPLH PCNU the Netherlands – Achmad Sahri, and from the Deputy Chief of Mission from the Indonesian Embassy to the Kingdom of Netherlands – H.A. Ibnu Wahyutomo.

The chief of Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) and Rais ‘Am (Supreme Leader) of Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama Indonesia – Dr. (HC) KH. Ma’ruf Amin, as the first keynote speaker, took a privilege of his speech to explain about the history of halal certification in Indonesia and the applied Islamic laws to define the halal criterions and practices in Indonesia. As the second speaker, we had the Director Food Program, WUR – dr. ir. R (Ralf) Hartemink who explained about complexities of halal products from the perspectives of food technology, and challenges that might arise in non-Muslim countries for the application of halal certification. Meanwhile, Ine van der Fels-Klerx (RIKILT, WUR) gave a speech about their evaluation on some samples (snacks) which were already certified as halal products. Of which, unfortunately, 2 out of 10 products that have been tested were positive containing the trace of pork DNA. Abdul Qayyoem, as the chief of Stichting HVV (Halal Voeding en Voedsel) the Netherlands, brought an awareness and remarks about challenges for halal certification practice in the Netherlands. He also mentioned that this topic has been intensively discussed with Dutch government, in order to make sure that the Muslim community who are living in the Netherlands able to practice their religion and be sufficient with halal food. As the last speaker, we had the Associate Professor in Law and Governance (WUR) – Kai Purnhagen, PhD, stated that there are indeed challenges to apply the halal certification globally, yet it might not impose the global preferences or become political. After a fruitful discussion, the seminar was continued with lab tour to RIKILT to have a look on halal product verification based on food technology approaches.

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