Meat Notice 2009/08: Australian Government Authorised Halal Program - guidelines for the preparation, identification, storage and certification for export of halal red meat and red meat products

​NSFS Ref 30
Last notice on this issue: 2004/07
Date of Effect:  01 June 2009
Date of Expiry: Until further notice

Contact O​​fficers

Operational Conta​ct

Khazal Zorah
Area Technical Manager
Food Exports Branch
03 8308 5089

Policy Contact

Joffrid Mackett
Director
Meat Market Access
Export Standards Branch
02 6272 4006

Distribution Categories

  • Central & Regional Office
  • OIC Inspection Staff Meat Establishments
  • Managers, Export Meat Establishments
  • States
  • Licensed Meat Exporters

Implementation Schedule

(To be completed by the On Plant Supervisor on the AQIS file copy)

  • Date received:
  • Date discussed with management:
  • Initial implementation date:
  • Date completed:
  • Management Representative Initials:
  • AQIS OPS initials:

1. Purpose

To provide guidelines to all establishments for the halal slaughter of livestock and preparation, identification, processing, storage, segregation and certification of halal red meat and red meat products (hereafter referred to as halal meat) for export to all importing countries.

The Notice is issued as a Guideline under the Export Control (Meat and Meat Product) Orders Schedule 1 Sub-clause 31. (b).

2. Scope

This notice applies to all export registered establishments that produce, process and/or store halal red meat and meat products for export. It also applies to Islamic Organisations that undertake the supervision and certification of halal meat for export

Some importing countries have additional requirements which may be found in the Manual of Overseas Country Requirements. Additional requirements need to be addressed in the establishment’s Approved Arrangements (AA).

3. Background

The Export Control (Meat and Meat Product) Orders (ECMMPOs) came into effect on 1 July 2005. These Orders require establishments to have documented procedures (relevant to the establishment type) for the preparation, slaughter, identification, processing, segregation and certification of halal meat. These procedures form part of the establishment’s AA. The AA must identify the Approved Islamic Organisation (AIO) that is responsible for the training and oversight of the slaughterman’s ritual slaughter activities and will routinely verify halal arrangements at the establishment.

The Orders require the nominated AIO to also have an AA. The AIO is responsible for the religious supervision of, and provision of certification for, halal meat production for export. To be approved, Islamic Organisations must meet the accreditation criteria laid down in the Orders.

4. Definitions

In addition to those in the orders:

Approved Islamic Organisation (AIO): An organisation approved by the Secretary or delegate in accordance with the requirements detailed in the ECMMPOs for the purposes of supervising the production and certification of halal meat for export. The list of AIOs is maintained and published periodically by AQIS.

Authorised Muslim Slaughtermen: Aus-Meat provides identification cards, on receipt of a nomination form attesting to the fact that a slaughtermen is authorised by an AIO as suitable to slaughter animals in accordance with Islamic rites. The identification card will name the slaughterman, the AIO and will include a recent photograph of the slaughterman. ID cards are to be renewed annually.

Halal certificate: means a government certificate that includes certification of halal meat by an Islamic Organisation as well as by the Secretary1.

5. Establishment's Halal Procedures

The occupier of the Establishment, the AIO and AQIS all play an integral part in the operation of halal slaughter and processing for exports from Australia.

Establishment obligations

  • Hold an AA under the ECMMPOs addressing the halal production of meat.
  • Halal meat thus prepared must be identified by the presence of an official Australian Government halal stamp (as defined in Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the ECMMPOs) on the meat &/or on the packaging.

Islamic Organisations

  • AIOs that are approved by the Australian Government in accordance with the requirements of the ECMMPOs shall have sole responsibility for the religious aspects of production of halal meat.

AQIS

  • approve documented arrangements (AA) between AQIS and the AIOs and AQIS and the Establishments
  • will audit and verify the establishment’s compliance with all non-religious aspects of the production of halal meat
  • issue of halal certificates for halal meat for export (as a joint Islamic Organisation/AQIS function) with AQIS limiting its attestations to non-religious aspects.

5.1 Approved Arrangement (AA) Requirements

All establishments wishing to produce halal meat for export must address each of the following items within their AA.

  • Nominate the “responsible company officials”.
  • The animal species for which halal approval is sought e.g. cattle, sheep etc.
  • The scope of the halal production process eg slaughter, boning, offal processing, further processing, storage, and where applicable, transportation.
    • Establishments further processing halal meat products must ensure all ingredients used in the manufacture of such products are deemed by the AIO to comply with halal requirements. Documentary evidence of this must be available.
  • The recognised AIOs intended to participate in the AA.
  • Details of any facilities and equipment to be provided: ie facilities and equipment over and above that normally used.
  • Details of additional procedures required for specific market access and/or certification.
  • Control of stamps and certificates. (The Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Orders require that official marks are kept under the control of the occupier to ensure that they are only applied to meat and meat products that are eligible for that mark.)

5.2 Halal Slaughter and Stunning

Only authorised Muslim slaughtermen can perform the halal slaughtering procedure for halal products.

It is the competent Islamic slaughterman’s responsibility for identifying halal or non-halal carcasses in accordance with the procedures that are approved within the arrangement.

The over-riding responsibility of management and their employees for animal welfare takes precedence over any other aspect of the slaughtering process. Stunning is required to be by a method that is recognised as being reversible (e.g. electric or percussive). Animals shall receive the halal cut expeditiously after stunning to ensure they do not regain consciousness. Details on acceptable methods of reversible stunning and stun-stick intervals are in the “National Animal Welfare Standards for Livestock Processing Establishments Preparing meat for Human Consumption”, Australian Meat Industry Council, 2005.

In instances such as ‘emergency kill’ where non-reversible stunning methods (eg penetrative captive bolt or gun) are used, the carcass must be identified as non-halal.

5.3 Segregation

Establishments wishing to produce halal meat need to satisfy the AIO that the establishment’s procedures ensure segregation (in accordance with this notice) of halal from both non-halal and haram.

All areas in which halal product is to be slaughtered, handled, processed, packed and stored must be addressed in the AA, as must all aspects (animals, meat, personnel and equipment) pertinent to segregation of halal product. The establishment’s AIO will need to approve these halal procedures prior to the commencement of halal production.

5.3.1 Halal / Non-Halal Segregation

Export registered establishments with a halal program where meat and meat products are deemed to be non-halal or unsuitable must be segregated according to the AA.

This includes:

  • Emergency kill (captive bolt stunned or shot)
  • Animals that the authorised Muslim slaughterman determines are non-halal for religious reasons.

It is preferable that halal production is completed and segregated before non-halal production commences. Individual AIOs may approve other arrangements (with approved clean down procedures) in an establishment’s AA as they consider appropriate.

All establishments must put in place a comprehensive identification system that is fully documented in the AA and that clearly demonstrates effective separation between halal and non-halal.

5.3.2 Halal/Haram Segregation

The procedures that will operate within the registered establishment to ensure the segregation of halal and haram products must be described within the AA and approved by the AIO. All areas in which halal product is to be prepared, handled, packed and stored must be addressed.

Slaughtering Establishments:
  • Only halal species are permitted to be slaughtered on establishments where the approved arrangements cover halal.
Non-Slaughtering Establishments:
  • Halal meat must be processed, packed and stored in separate lockable chambers (eg rooms) to those used for haram substances unless otherwise approved by the AIO in accordance with the requirements provided below.
  • Where processing rooms are used for both halal and haram, equipment must be cleaned in accordance with procedures approved by the AIO prior to halal production occurring.

5.4 Product Identification/Halel Stamps

Halal stamps are official government stamps (as defined in Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the ECMMPOs) and so are controlled and accountable items (see AA Guideline).

Procedures must be documented and operate within the registered establishment to ensure that only halal meat is identified in accordance with Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the ECMMPOs.

The halal stamp must be applied to the halal meat, carcase tag and/or carton label before the product is removed from the registered establishment at which the animal was slaughtered or the meat was packaged.

The AA may allow halal eligible meat to not be positively identified but only where non-halal products are clearly identified as not being eligible (see segregation requirements). The method of identification (which may include brands or marks) must be clear, workable and capable of preventing halal meat and non-halal meat being intermixed. Under this arrangement halal eligible product to be loaded out as halal must have the official mark applied prior to leaving the establishment.

Documented procedures should include where, when and how halal and non-halal product will be identified.

Procedures should also be documented for defacing the halal mark where the integrity of halal product has been lost. It is not necessary to deface the halal mark when product is moving into the domestic market (where the intention to export has been abandoned), however the “Australia Inspected” mark must be defaced.

5.5 Variation of Approved Halel Program

The halal program must not be altered or varied under any circumstances without prior written application to and approval of the Approved Islamic Organisation (AIO) and the Area Technical Manager (ATM).

5.6 Movement of Halel Meat from the Producing Abattoir and Between Establishments

Meat which is transferred between registered establishments loses its halal status if it is not identified as halal prior to load-out with a legible official halal stamp.

The Meat Transfer Certificate (MTC) covering halal meat being transferred between registered export establishments shall have the endorsement “Halal Meat”.

Meat which bears an impression of an official halal stamp and which arrives at a registered establishment for which there is no approved halal program shall not leave that establishment unless the official halal stamp is completely defaced or removed.

5.7 Halal Slaughter, Supervision and Training

Responsibilities of the AIO

The AIO will be responsible for the training and ongoing assessment of religious competence of the Islamic Slaughtermen.

The AIO will be required to be present during overseas delegation inspections or visits to the AIO premises as specified.

Responsibilities of the Establishment

Establishments will, in consultation with their AIO, ensure non-religious training and development programs are available for all employees engaged in halal slaughter and processing. Establishments will ensure induction and familiarisation programs are undertaken by all employees ensuring they are informed about halal issues.

Each establishment, in consultation with their AIO, should ensure satisfactory facilities are provided for the Muslim slaughtermen to conduct their daily religious activities.

6. Halal Meat Certification

All meat identified as halal meat in accordance with the ECMMPOs exported to any country must be accompanied by an official halal certificate. The approved format of the halal certificate is the EX237 (Appendix 1).

Only one official halal certificate shall be issued for each lot or consignment, and meat in the consignment shall have a legible impression of an official halal stamp applied to the meat, to tags attached to the carcases, to the wrappings or other covering around the meat, or to labels on cartons end panel or other containers in which the meat is placed.

6.1 Obtaining Blank Halal Certificates

Blank halal certificate pads may be obtained from the approved supplier where approved procedures are included within the Approved Arrangement covering their security. These procedures must account for issued and unissued certificates at all times.

6.2 Procedures for Completion of Halel Certificates

The exporter will indicate at the time of generating an Request For Permit (RFP) a requirement for a halal certificate. The authorised person validating the RFP will in addition put his/her endorsement (eg “complies Australian Government Supervised Halal Program”) in the comment box regarding the halal status of the product after he/she has verified that the prescribed goods are stamped correctly with the approved halal stamp.

The exporter or his/her representative generating the halal certificate will fill in the details of the prescribed goods in the certificate and will print a copy of the validated RFP including the additional comments from the authorising person. The halal certificate will then be endorsed and signed by the appropriate AIO. This certificate should then be taken to the AQIS authorised officer (AQIS AO). It is the AQIS AO’s responsibility to check that the description of the prescribed goods mentioned in the halal certificate is correct and is the same as described in the RFP and that the appropriate AIO has signed in the designated area of the certificate. Once the AQIS AO is satisfied that all required details are correctly filled in, he/she can then sign the certificate and stamp with the official stamp The signing AQIS AO should enter the number of the RFP to which the halal certificate relates on the quadruplicate copy and will keep the quadruplicate copy of the completed halal certificate for future audits.

6.3 Procedure to Issue Replacement Halel Certificates

Where the need arises for a replacement halal certificate to be issued, the following information should be obtained by the AIO:

  • An explanation as to why the replacement halal certificate is required; and
  • Whether the original has been presented.

This information should be provided to the AQIS AO so that a decision can be made as to whether a replacement halal certificate should be issued. In instances where it is decided that a replacement halal certificate can be issued:

  • The original halal certificate should be returned;
  • The words “issued in lieu of halal certificate number XXXXXX dated --/--/--” must be included on the replacement halal certificate; and
  • Appropriate records to be kept.

7. Islamic Organisations Approved Arrangements

The Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Orders 2005:

  • Require Islamic Organisations (IO) that wish to provide halal certification to have an AA approved by AQIS.
  • Provide criteria to be met by the IO at the time of initial accreditation. These criteria include the need for the IO to:
    • be recognised by a local mosque;
    • be recognised by an importing country authority;
    • provide details to AQIS of training and supervision of Muslim slaughtermen;
    • issue Muslim slaughtermen with identity cards once assessed as competent;
    • audit supervised establishments regularly: that is at least every 3 months for slaughtering establishments, and at least every 6 months for non-slaughtering establishments (eg independent boning rooms, further processing establishments, cold stores) and freight forwarders;
    • notify AQIS of critical non-conformances found during audits;
    • maintain relevant records eg details of the authorised Muslim slaughtermen, halal certificates, product transfer certificates;
    • participate in importing country reviews where required.
  • Provide a legal framework to ensure the respective responsibilities of AQIS and the AIOs to both importing countries and the Australian meat industry are understood and complied with.
  • Provide legal redress via suspension or removal of accreditation or prosecution for breaches of requirements.

7.1 Authorised Muslim Slaughtermen Training

It is the responsibility of the AIO to ensure the training and ongoing assessment of Muslim slaughtermen in matters directly related to religious slaughter and to maintain records which can be audited by AQIS of the details of such training and assessment.

The scope of this training and assessment details need to be provided within the application for approval as an AIO to ensure formal and consistent training and assessment is occurring and to satisfy importing country expectations. Examples may include:

In addition to the religious training the slaughterman must also understand and adhere to:

  • the halal procedures documented within the approved arrangement of the establishment where they work.
  • Normal personal hygiene and sanitation requirements as detailed within the establishment’s AA.
  • Animal welfare requirements such as:
    • ability to assess adequacy of the stun,
    • keeping the stun / stick interval as short as possible

This hygiene and animal welfare training would normally be provided by the occupier of the establishment.

Once a Muslim slaughterman is deemed competent by the AIO, an application for his registration will be forwarded to Aus-Meat.

Muslim slaughtermen should be able to produce their Aus-Meat Muslims Slaughterman’s identification card on request.

7.2 Record Keeping

AIOs must maintain records relating to slaughtermen training, assessment of slaughtermen competence and halal supervision and certification for a period of at least 2 years. These records must be readily available for presentation to AQIS or importing countries when required, and should include, but are not limited to, records of audit reports, security systems relating to documentation (eg health certificates, product transfers, appointment of relevant persons and halal slaughtermen), details of importing country requirements, slaughtermen identification, etc.

7.3 Supervision and Auditing of Establishments

It is a part of a AIOs AA that they assess an establishment’s conformance with these halal procedures on a regular basis. It is therefore important that the AIOs assure themselves that the halal procedures of the establishment’s AA are sufficient to ensure the satisfactory production of halal product.

An example of an audit check list which may be used by the AIOs is provided at Appendix 2. It is required that a copy of each report of audits conducted by the AIO be provided to AQIS staff. For establishments with on-site AQIS staff, a copy should be provided directly to the relevant officer. For establishments with no permanent AQIS staff, a copy of the audit report should be provided to the:

AQIS Food Safety Manager
c/o AQIS
GPO Box 858,
Canberra ACT 2601

AIOs must also ensure that any critical non-conformance detected at establishments under their supervision during an audit is brought to AQIS’s attention when submitting the copy of the audit report.

8. Roles and Responsibilities

8.1 Responsibilities of Responsible Company Officials

Responsible company officials shall ensure that only a carcase of an animal slaughtered in accordance with Islamic rites by an authorised Muslim slaughterman is stamped or otherwise identified as halal. Responsible company officials shall ensure that halal meat is prepared and handled at all times in accordance with the details of the establishment’s halal procedures.

Specifically, responsible company officials must:

  1. Ensure that their AA satisfies the requirements as detailed in this notice, as well as satisfying any additional relevant importing country requirements.
    • It must include monitoring, verification and corrective action activities.
    • When there is a breach of the arrangement that causes a loss of identity or status of halal product, all affected product must have all marks related to halal removed.
  2. Submit the relevant parts of the arrangement to an AIO for approval.
  3. Submit the relevant parts of the arrangement and the AIO recommendation to the ATM through the AQIS On-Plant Supervisor for AQIS approval.
  4. Conduct regular halal internal audits of the halal procedures in the establishment by viewing operations, records, and control of both halal and non-halal product.
  5. Provide suitable amenities for halal personnel.
  6. Ensure complete segregation of halal and non-halal (including haram).

The authorising person responsible for signing a meat transfer certificate or generating the RFP must verify that the halal meat intended to be transferred or exported is correctly identfied with the halal stamp and provide halal attestation on the documentation.

The exporter (or their representative) generating the halal certificate must complete the details of the prescribed goods in the halal certificate, and provide this, as well as a copy of the validated RFP to the AIO representative for endorsement.

8.2 Responsibilities of the Approved Islamic Organisation (AIO)

The AIO must:

  1. Adhere to their AA once approved by the Secretary or delegate for the purposes of certifying meat as halal under the ECMMPOs.
  2. Assess the halal aspects of the establishment’s AA and monitor ongoing compliance once it has been approved in accordance with the frequencies in this notice.
  3. Keep appropriate records and make those records available during audits.
  4. Identify Muslim slaughtermen by issuing ID cards.
  5. Provide training and on-going assessment of Muslim slaughtermen.
  6. Endorse and sign the halal certificate when satisfied that the goods comply with the halal procedures within the AA.

8.3 Responsibilities of Muslim Slaughtermen

Each AIO will be responsible for the Muslim Slaughtermen who is to identify themselves upon request to AQIS staff by showing their ID card and to perform correctly the ritual slaughter of all animals which are to be used for halal meat.

Muslim slaughtermen must:

  1. Be a Muslim considered to be competent by the AIO;
  2. Comply with their religious slaughter training:
  3. Comply with personal hygiene, operational sanitation and animal welfare requirements as detailed in the AA.
  4. Identify carcasses that are considered non-halal in accordance with AA.

8.4 Responsibility of AQIS Staff

AQIS staff shall audit and verify under National Establishment Verification System (NEVS) the procedures (relevant to the establishment type) for the slaughter, identification, processing, storage, segregation and certification of halal meat, and ensure that they are in accordance with the establishment’s AA, and the provisions of this Notice. AQIS will also audit AIOs to ensure their operations are in accordance with their AAs and the provisions of this Notice.

The On Plant Supervisor must:

  1. Assess the relevant parts of the AA and either make a recommendation for alterations to the occupier, or recommend an amendment for approval to the ATM.
  2. Once approved and implemented, verify the halal procedures of the arrangement through the daily monitoring and verification report and scheduled audits.
  3. Verify that stunning is by a recognised reversible method and in accordance with animal welfare requirements.
  4. Raise non-compliances with the company management through the formal AQIS reporting systems.
  5. Where a critical non-conformance is identified and the company has not taken corrective action as defined in the arrangement, the AQIS on plant supervisor must ensure that affected product is retained and the corrective action in the arrangement is conducted. The AIO is to be notified.

The ATM must:

  1. Where an amendment submitted for approval satisfies these requirements, approve the amendment to the AA.
  2. Verify the activities of the Occupier and the AQIS On-Plant Supervisor once the amendment is implemented.
  3. Make recommendations about suspension or removal of AA operations where critical non-conformances are identified.

The AQIS authorised officer signing the halal certificate must:

  1. Verify that the description of the prescribed goods on the halal certificate is correct and is the same as described in the RFP.
  2. Verify that the appropriate AIO has signed the halal certificate.
  3. Once satisfied with points 1 and 2 above, sign the halal certificate and stamp it with the official AQIS stamp.
  4. Enter the RFP number to which the halal certificate relates on the quadruplicate copy and file it accordingly.

Mark Schipp
General Manager
Animal Products Market Access Branch


Reference

  • Export Control (Meat and Meat Product) Orders 2005
  • Export Control (Prescribed Goods General) Order 2005
  • 'National Animal Welfare Standards For Livestock Processing Establishments Preparing Meat for Human Consumption', Australian Meat Industry Council, 2005.
  • AQIS Notice XXXXX Revised List of Approved Islamic Organisations for Halal Certification
  • Manual of Overseas Country Requirement
  • The Australian Standard for the Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS4696:2002).

Appendix 1: Copy of the approved format of the halel certificate (EX237).

This is an image of Appendix 1 showing a copy of the approved format of the halel certificate (EX237).  

Appendix 2: Example of an audit checklist to be used by AIOs.

This is an image of Appendix 2 showing an example of an audit checklist to be used by AIOs.  

This is an image of Appendix 2 showing an example of an audit checklist to be used by AIOs.  

This is an image of Appendix 2 showing an example of an audit checklist to be used by AIOs.  

Audit checklist details
ItemRequirementActivity Conformance
(C or NC)
Comments/Remarks
(explanation or quantification of activity conformance)
1Establishment Approved Arrangement  
aIs the establishment’s Approved Arrangement comprehensive covering all aspects relating to the receival, slaughter, dressing, product transfer and storage of Halal product?
Is a copy available for inspection?
  
bDoes the establishment’s Approved Arrangement adequately meet the requirements / standards of relevant overseas authorities? ie JAKIM, MUI etc  
cHas the establishment developed procedures for clean down between Halal and non-Halal production?  
dIs there a procedure for removing carcasses downgraded from Halal from the chain?  
eAre Halal stamps and certificates maintained and controlled in a secure area as detailed in the AA?  
2Slaughter Floor  
aAre the slaughtermen in possession of a current registration card?  
bIs stunning and slaughtering being correctly undertaken in accordance with the establishment’s Approved Arrangement and with relevant religious requirements?  
cAre sufficient checks being carried out to assess that stunning is being correctly applied?
If not, does the company have an adequate process to take appropriate corrective action and to remove non-complying carcasses from the chain?
  
dHow are non-Halal carcases identified, segregated and handled  
eAre adequate records being maintained by the Muslim Slaughterman and by the establishment to determine the numbers of Halal eligible animals slaughtered each day?
Can this be confirmed by access to product transfer / cold storage documentation?
  
fWho is applying the Halal stamps?
Are all Halal carcasses stamped before leaving the floor?
  
3Offal Room  
aIs offal processing being correctly undertaken in accordance with the establishment’s Approved Arrangement and with relevant religious requirements  
bIs there proper separation between Halal and non-Halal production, with proper cleandown, no cross contamination in use of equipment (eg knives), people etc?  
cAre there documented procedures to ensure offal is only packed from Halal carcasses – eg what happens to retrieve offal’s from carcasses which are downgraded?  
4Boning Room  
aIs processing being correctly undertaken in accordance with the establishment’s Approved Arrangement and with relevant religious requirements?  
bIs there proper separation between Halal and non-Halal production, with proper cleandown, no cross contamination in use of equipment (eg knives, cutting boards, tables), people etc?  
cAre their procedures to ensure the Halal eligibility of product prior to boning?  
5Cold Store  
aIs storage being correctly undertaken in accordance with the establishments Approved Arrangement and with relevant religious requirements?   
bIs there proper separation between Halal and non-Halal storage?
Is this supported in inventory controls?
  
cAre the systems for the provision of Halal certification adequate?  
6Further processing  
aIs further processing being correctly undertaken in accordance with the establishments Approved Arrangement and with relevant religious requirements?  
bIs there proper separation between Halal and non-Halal storage, with proper cleandown, no cross contamination in use of equipment (eg knives, cutting boards, processing equipment), people etc?  
cAre there procedures to ensure the Halal eligibility of all raw materials and ingredients?
How does the company verify that the ingredients are Halal?
Are they all documented and accounted for?
  
7Other  
aDoes the company have a training and development program available for all employees engaged in Halal slaughter and processing?
Are work instructions for Muslim Slaughtermen and Muslim Supervisors satisfactory?
  
bIs there an induction and familiarisation program offered to all new employees, ensuring all establishment staff are informed of the sensitivities relating to Halal issues?
Are there systems in place to review effectiveness of training programs?
  
cAre facilities provided for Muslim slaughtermen to conduct daily religious activities (prayers)?  

1In accordance with the ECMMPOs a government certificate means a certificate issued by the Secretary under clause 14 of Schedule 8 of the Orders and includes a health certificate and a Halal certificate.

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