For Muslims, the thought of consuming non-halal meat is unfathomable.
So imagine the uproar that broke when Malaysia’s Muslim population woke up to the news that the “halal labelled meat” they’ve been consuming for the past 40 years might have been fake.
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Here’s how Malaysia’s biggest “halal meat cartel” scandal unfolded chronologically:
23 November 2020, the Malay daily Sinar Harian reported that a freight company was importing non-halal certified meat with falsified documents, which the authorities were turning a blind eye to.
2 December, RM30 million worth of frozen meat (1500 tons) were seized in Senai, Johor, after a raid on a warehouse took place.
The warehouse was used for making fake halal labels and stamps that were used to repackage the meat.
21 December, the New Straits Times reported that officials from at least four agencies were bribed with cash and involved in aiding the cartel in its illegal practices, which had been going on for at least 40 years.
On 30th December, Two directors of a Johor Bahru-based frozen meat company, Raihanah Cold Storage Sdn Bhd, were charged with falsifying halal logos on transport vehicles. By 4 January 2021, four suspects had been remanded to custody.
This scandal broke consumers’ trust and affected other halal product providers badly.
Most consumers now demand transparency and accountability from key government agencies regulating food imports and halal certification.
Bear in mind that Malaysia is just one of many; there has been an increase in concerns regarding the Halal food labelling transparency process worldwide, pushing consumers to feverishly demand more proof and a way to verify these products themselves.
So how can this issue be prevented from happening again?
The solution to all halal supply chain problems
One of the potential solutions brought up by experts triggered after the meat cartel scandal occurred is leveraging Blockchain technology to control the halal supply chain and secure certificates.
Blockchain technology is a decentralized ledger that is mainly secure and immutable.
Employing a Blockchain-based traceability system can enhance the traceability of the Halal labelling process. It can be a solution to current limitations in monitoring the production process of halal products in this context.
To ensure that you’re well informed, “Halal” is a set of standards that adhere to dietary restrictions prescribed by Islamic law, including the humane treatment of animals and not cooking with alcohol and pork, among others.
How blockchain technology can aid in controlling these issues:
- It helps improve the traceability of the products and promotes transparency.
- As a decentralized system exists between all permitted parties, there’s no need to pay intermediaries, and it saves time and conflict.
- Complete information about the items and their supply chain path right from the source to the point of consumer purchase
- Blockchain is data provenance. It’s the documentation of where a piece of data comes from and the processes and methodology by which it was produced.
To Sum it up:
There are already existing local blockchain technology players that can secure certificates, provide traceability & tracking solutions for food (including halal). However, lacking in the awareness and adoption area and enforcement (including the enforcement processes) from the government is affecting the growth of the Halal Blockchain industry in Malaysia.
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