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Australia is a multicultural and multi-religious country with a diverse population. Australia is also an important food exporter to many countries in the Asian region, and further afield, which are home to significant Muslim populations.

Of particular significance to observant Muslims is the consumption of Halal (or "lawful") and the avoidance of Haram (or "unlawful") food and drink.

Many Australian food manufacturers seek Halal certification of their facilities and processes, in order to label their products as Halal and ensure they are able to be enjoyed by Muslim consumers. In the same way that food labelled as vegan or gluten-free is suitable for consumption by a broad range of consumers, Halal certified foods are commonly enjoyed by non-Muslims.

For a product to be Halal, it must be as a whole, and in part:

  • free from any substance taken or extracted from a Haram animal or ingredient (eg pigs, dogs, carnivorous animals, animals not slaughtered in compliance with Islamic rites);
  • made, processed, manufactured and/or stored by using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that has been cleaned according to Islamic law (eg not cleaned with alcohol); and
  • free from contact with, or being close to, a Haram substance during preparation, manufacture, processing and storage (eg blood, alcohol, poisonous and intoxicating plants and insects such as worms and cockroaches).

Many foods and drinks, particularly those that do not contain meat or alcohol, are inherently compliant with Halal criteria. Official certification, which may be granted by accredited religious authorities in Australia, is however required before products are able to be labelled as such.

There is some confusion in the community about what Halal certification of food and drink means. Should you have questions about a specific product, it's best to contact the manufacturer directly.

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) credits the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) for the preparation of this material.
For further information see www.afgc.org.au/about-afgc/our-policies/halal-certification/