China toughens checks on halal-certified foods
CHINA is strengthening checks on the certification of halal food to assuage the fear and complaints among local Muslims that they might be eating products prohibited in their religion.
There are too many food products now being marked as halal, Chinese media reported.
An official from the State Ethnic Affairs Commission told the official Xinhua news agency that China's fast-growing market economy has generated an uncontrolled deluge of food not produced strictly according to halal requirements but yet shipped for sale with a halal logo.
"Such a practice has affected the life of some of our minorities, and it violates their customs, hurts their feeling and, in some places, threatens inter-ethnic unity," he said.
There are 23 million Muslims in China.
The official stressed that the government would not implement a national halal law to combat errant practices as that would be a religious move that interferes with secular life.
It would instead instruct local authorities to tighten the related regulations and improve their administrations so that they could manage, supervise and discipline the halal food industry with greater efficiency, added the official.
"Where there is a need to punish, a fine will be levied and the licence suspended," he said.
Mosques and Muslim organisations should also help in the drawing up of halal rules at the local level and in enforcing them, said an editorial in the China Ethnic News. AGENCIES