HFA Impartiality Policy
The Halal Food Authority (HFA) is committed to observing and maintaining our impartiality policy in all of our audits.
HFA auditors are always asked to reveal and disclose any potential compromises of impartiality and probable conflicts of interests in regards to any of our clients / business that we deal with.
HFA trustees and staff members have no personal connections with and to the companies that we certify, neither do they have any commercial or financial interests in our certificated entities.
All records of our financial and corporate dealings with our clients are black and white and such records are also available for the inspection of our impartiality committee.
Provisions for the use of HFA Logo
The HFA Logo is a cognitive property and a registered Trade Mark whose rights have been owned by Halal Accreditation Limited T/A Halal Food Authority (HFA)
The HFA Logo can only be used by prior contractual arrangements by:
- Organisations which have contractually been accorded Halal Accreditation either for a product or the site or both; the HFA logo may be used on all communication tools of an organisation such as letterheads, compliment slips, business cards, marketing materials, videos, websites, advertising, exhibition graphics, electronic media and company vehicles only if the full range of products manufactured at all sites of the organisation have been contractually authenticated and validated for halal status by the HFA. HFA logo can only be depicted on the packaging of halal products approved by HFA if full product range has not been certified.
- Third Party Certification Bodies and approved agencies either in the UK or abroad.
- Media and advertising channels with expressed permission for such use.
HFA Complaints Procedure
A guide to our complaints procedure
Halal Food Authority (HFA) takes all concerns and complaints seriously as they provide us with opportunities to improve and maintain the high standards we strive to achieve.
HFA recognises that sometimes things go wrong and actions or decisions do not meet the expectations. Therefore, feedback will help us to resolve the issues or concerns in a procedural way enabling us to redress the situation in accordance with our quality standards, ethical and moral values and business objectives without any potential compromise.
What is a complaint?
HFA defines a complaint as “an expression of discontent by a person or persons receiving a service (including any decision) from the organisation that cannot be immediately resolved at point of delivery, and about which the complainant desires a follow-up action is taken and a response provided”.
Complaints should be made in writing and addressed to the “Chief Executive of HFA” giving your full name, details of the organisation (if applicable) including phone number and email address, stating the nature of the complaint and sending any relevant documents. Complaints must be sent by emailing email@example.com or by post to Halal Food Authority, 7th floor, Finchley House, 707 High Road, London N12 0BT.
Stage 1: Your complaint shall be dealt with by the panel of three HFA officials headed by the Chief Executive of the HFA and after investigation; a response will be generated for the complainant within 14 days of the receipt of such complaint.
Stage 2: If the response from the HFA is not satisfactory or does not meet the expectations of the complainant, such complaint may be lodged again by the complainant within seven days of the response being received. Then the complaint shall be passed onto an independent Complaint Committee of the HFA to proceed further with the case.
Who can raise a complaint?
HFA Complaints Procedure is available to those who use or wish to use its services including organisations and companies using the audit, inspection and/or certification services and those involved and affected by HFA activities and events.
You should share your concerns or register a complaint when you are dissatisfied with any aspect of HFA/HFF’s services or activities.
What will happen after complaint is lodged?
HFA will acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receipt and we will send a response in fourteen days from the date of receipt.
If the complaint is re-lodged, the complaint will be forwarded to our independent Complaint Committee for further processing and we will write to you to inform you once this has happened.
Wherever possible HFA will respect your confidentiality and keep your complaint confidential as far as possible but will be sharing all the details about the complaint with our Complaints Committee who shall advise if a formal hearing is necessary to deal with such complaint. In this instance, you shall be notified in writing and any queries or any further documentation may also be requested from you.
The decision of our independent Complaint Committee on any complaint shall be concluded within twenty eight days from the date it was received by the Committee and such decision shall be final.
HFA Corporate And Financial Governance
Following an article published by Sharia Watch titled ‘Food prepared according to Sharia Law’ (published in April 12th 2014), the Halal Food Authority (HFA) would like to shed more light on our corporate and financial governance to ensure the industry, as well as consumers, that we do not dispense any of our finances to untoward activities or bodies.
Sharia Watch UK stated that they are concerned about the growth of the halal food industry because “funds from the halal industry are being used by Islamist groups to enhance the power of Sharia law in Britain and around the world” and that “Halal funds are, at least in part, helping to fund Islamist terrorism globally”. It is not the right of the HFA to contest the ideologies and opinions that others possess but we would like to make clear that under no circumstances do the above beliefs apply to our day-to-day governance or our body in its entirety.
As a company that has been serving the Muslim community and the halal industry for twenty years, we would like to make it clear that if other parties working in the Halal industry are aiding Islamist terrorism globally, this is fully condemned and looked at with disgust by the HFA. We are a body that work tirelessly to facilitate, support and enhance halal trade globally especially to UK/ EU exporters and our integrity is of the utmost importance to us.
The HFA are governed by a team of voluntary trustees and we receive no foreign aid, nor do we distribute our generated funds in any way (internally OR externally). The HFA shall have an independent budget financed from the following resources:
- The subscription and fees charged by the HFA in return for the services provided such as Halal audit for up to a full man-day. Certification proposal that contains certification fees will be provided upon receiving completed application form online.
- Sponsorships and fees received for conference or training conducted which do not compromise the HFA Impartiality at all.
- Other resources as determined by the Board of Directors.
The utilisation of the income received from any source shall be applied solely towards the achieving of the visions and responsibilities of the HFA.
All HFA surplus and yields directly go back to the Halal Food Foundation (HFF), the charitable arm of the HFA. The HFF is a registered UK charity concerned with education, outreach work, making bonds within the Muslim community and creating awareness on leading a halal and healthy lifestyle.
Funds attributed to our charitable arm are used for educational purposes and of course reserved for potential educational projects, events and workshops that are to be governed by the charity in the future.
Statutory accounts that kept records about the company, and financial and accounting records get prepared from the HFA’s financial records at the end of financial year. Statutory accounts must include the following items:
- a ‘balance sheet’, which shows the value of everything the company owns, owes and is owed on the last day of the financial year;
- a ‘profit and loss account’, which shows the company’s sales, running costs and the profit or loss it has made over the financial year;
- notes about the accounts; and
- a director’s report
Delegated Authority Policies
The HFA shall have a Finance Policies and Procedures Manual covering its day-today operations and activities. The list of delegated authorities is prepared and maintained by the Financial Controller, approved by the Chief Executive and Chairman and acknowledged by all employees.
No Pork Policy
Important changes in HFA Accreditation criteria
Pork/Porcine material handling and processing
Due to the recent developments in scientific testing of intermediate and finished food
products in UK retail markets and owing to the outcomes of various investigations carried out by enforcing and regulatory bodies on horse meat contamination in beef products, Halal Food Authority (HFA) has decided to incorporate in its policies and criteria of accrediting establishment/s where pork or porcine materials are likely to be stored, handled or processed, albeit with demarcation, clearly and strategically placed science for separation and, these are stated below.
All halal poultry, meat and food processors shall now be required to dedicate a halal production environment isolating all storage, handling, production, labelling and transportation operations including all similar activities to avoid potential cross contamination and presence of any foreign DNA in halal products. Amended criteria shall be construed to be as follows:
- All halal poultry and meat shall be sourced from suppliers who hold valid halal accreditation or certificate from a reputable and recognised halal certification organisation. Self certification for halal status of meat and poultry shall not be acceptable for the purposes of authenticating either finished or processed product or intermediary product for further supply.
- All halal production shall be carried out using dedicated separate set of equipment, utensils, lines and storage which under no circumstances shall come in contact with pork or porcine materials.
- HFA reserves the right to carry out unannounced audit(s) of your processing facility/facilities to perform verification checks and routine surveillance of your halal manufacturing operations in line with the information provided to HFA. HFA auditors shall be provided with access to the site and relevant records and information upon request at any point during announced or unannounced audit(s). In the event of denied access to the site or relevant information during un-announced audit, a major non-conformance or fissure may be concluded which will result in the suspension and eventual withdrawal of halal certification of the facility and products in the scope.
- .HFA has also decided to arrange for your halal products to be tested for foreign DNA (including meat/s and poultry) to protect the halal integrity of your products and HFA endorsement in the interest of consumers and Muslim community at large. HFA reserves the right to arrange for these DNA tests to be carried out mandatorily. In line with potential guidance from FSA with regards to stricter controls on food labelling, this would be in your own interest to co-operate with HFA regarding these tests on your finished products. If you are unable to dedicate a complete environment for halal production in isolation of pork/porcine materials, and continue to use your production facilities for processing porcine and halal without the required isolation, HFA shall have no other option but to terminate our accreditation agreement with you withdrawing your current halal certificate. No cleansing/hygienic regime shall substitute the above mentioned requirements of isolation of pork. Lastly, we hope that the relevant personnel would be clearly instructed to facilitate unannounced visits from HFA auditors by offering them access to the manufacturing site within 30 minutes of their arrival. You are also required to provide them with full co-operation with operational and technical information when requested.We strongly believe that you would do your utmost to abide by these amendments to HFA certification criteria; enabling us to provide you with our continued service and after service for the years to come.
HFA ensures consistency, accuracy and high level of customer service without a compromise on due diligence and quality parameters. Due to constant developments in the food industry, complex supply chain, dynamic global halal regulations and evolving consumers’ expectations, HFA is committed to achieving enhanced competence of its personnel involved in halal auditing, evaluation, communication and effective decision making.
HFA management aims to provide the required resources and skills to satisfy the expectations of its stakeholders including but not limited to, entities that recognise the certification and activities of the HFA, accreditation bodies and regulatory authorities. Notwithstanding the size of HFA operations, its locations, global presence, recognitions and accreditations, the Quality Management System of the HFA remains enforced and implemented and is constantly monitored by the HFA’s senior management.
Investing in its people and their qualifications and development is an additional pledge from our Board and HFA’s recruitment process performs the required checks to maintain the integrity and the quality of the workforce.
HFA believes in leading a positive and constructive change, and it is always open to innovation that could add to its quality standards, personnel development and customer service. HFA intends to become a worldwide market leader in providing most trusted, robust and highly compliant halal certification across the world, whilst developing and producing best halal auditors and halal technologists/scientists, and also educating the generation on not only halal consumption, but on halal as a lifestyle!
The welfare of animals destined for slaughter for consumption by Muslims is of significant importance as part of the HFA’s Traditional Halal certification scheme. The Traditional Halal has adopted a holistic approach to ensure that all traditional halal slaughtered meats are consistent with high animal welfare standards. In addition, the Traditional Halal trained supervisors and technical auditors will work closely with Traditional Halal certificated abattoirs to ensure that the Tayyib (wholesome) element of halal is duly met in order to produce safe and high quality meats.
Traditional Halal & European Regulation
European Council Regulation, EC1099/2009, permits the slaughter of animals without any form of stunning for consumption by faith groups, which includes Traditional Halal slaughter. However, additional guidelines regarding the restraint and slaughter are in place to ensure that animals are spared any avoidable pain and distress. The objective of these traditional halal slaughter guidelines is to ensure that traditional halal slaughter is performed in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards and in line with the teachings of the Quran and Hadith, and the relevant animal welfare legislation(s) applicable in the geographical location of the abattoir. The Traditional Halal, in association with the certificated abattoir, will work together to ensure that animals are sympathetically handled on arrival at the abattoir. The entire slaughter process will be supervised by the Traditional Halal to ensure that only well trained slaughter men carry out traditional halal slaughter in order to facilitate efficient bleeding-out and death. Since all forms of stunning are prohibited during Traditional Halal slaughter, measures will be put in place to ensure that sharp knives are used to severe the appropriate blood vessels and also to ensure rapid blood loss and death.
The following guidelines must be followed at all times:
- Trained Traditional Halal supervisors
Trained Supervisors, who will be able to spot any breaches of animal welfare, will monitor all HFA’s Traditional Halal certificated abattoirs. These supervisors will work closely with site management, Official Veterinarians (OVs), and Animal/Poultry Welfare Officers (AWOs/PWOs) on matters relating to the welfare of animals destined for traditional halal slaughter. All major and minor animal welfare compromises will be recorded and appropriate actions will be taken immediately to ensure that animals are spared further distress and suffering.
- Use of Sharp Knives
It is the responsibility of all abattoirs certificated to carry out Traditional Halal slaughter under the HFA scheme to have adequate supply of knives for the Muslim slaughtermen. In addition, there must be suitable equipment for the sharpening of slaughter knives. All Traditional Halal supervisors will be trained on the correct inspection of knife sharpness and such supervisors will be given the authority to inspect slaughter knives to ensure that all knives are suitable for use during traditional halal slaughter.
- Inspection of the Cut
To ensure rapid blood loss and death, Muslim slaughtermen must be conversant with the anatomy of the species of animals they are assigned to slaughter. As a minimum requirement, the cut must be able to severe the trachea, both carotid arteries, and both jugular veins without severing the spinal cord. The Traditional Halal will provide in-service training to slaughtermen on best practice regarding traditional halal slaughter. Animal welfare research scientists or Traditional Halal in-house AWOs/PWOs (trained by external institutions) will undertake this training. Trained Traditional Halal supervisors have a duty to inspect the neck cuts at random to ensure that the right blood vessels are severed at all times, which in return should ensure rapid blood loss and brain death.
- Restraint of Large Animals Pre-slaughter and Post-slaughter
The interpretation of EC1099/2009 may differ slightly depending on member state where the abattoir is situated. For instance, during traditional halal slaughter, the English Domestic Legislation, WATOK (2015), requires animals to be individually restrained mechanically. The Traditional Halal supervisors will work with abattoirs to ensure that the restraint of animals is done sympathetically in-line with the relevant legislation. No animal shall be lifted by its coat/wool and ears. It is also contrary to the HFA’s Traditional Halal standard for animals to be thrown or hoisted alive. As a requirement, animals must be held in the restraint post neck-cut until they completely lose sensibility or for a minimum of 20 s (small ruminants e.g. sheep) or 30 s (large animals e.g. cattle).