Slaughtering approval for Australian halal abattoir suspended

Kompleks Islam Putrajaya. Jakim director-general Datuk Hakimah Mohd Yusoff said the decision was taken following a special meeting among the Veterinary Services Department (JPV), Jakim and Australian authorities as well as the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (Photo by The Edge)

Kompleks Islam Putrajaya. Jakim director-general Datuk Hakimah Mohd Yusoff said the decision was taken following a special meeting among the Veterinary Services Department (JPV), Jakim and Australian authorities as well as the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (Photo by The Edge)

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PUTRAJAYA (May 14): The slaughtering approval granted by Malaysia to Thomas Foods International Lobethal, a halal-certified company in Australia, has been suspended with immediate effect until a thorough investigation is done.

Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) director-general Datuk Hakimah Mohd Yusoff said the decision was taken following a special meeting among the Veterinary Services Department (JPV), Jakim and Australian authorities as well as the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on Friday (May 13).

“Jakim has conducted an investigation into the slaughterhouse and held a series of discussions with the Australian authorities.

"Jakim has also arranged a meeting with Pertubuhan Kemasyarakatan Rakyat Malaysia (Pekemas) to get more information," she said in a joint statement by Jakim and JPV here on Saturday regarding alleged violations of halal slaughtering procedures of a company recognised as halal by Malaysia in Australia.

Recently, the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association, together with Pekemas and Sahabat 99, reportedly revealed violations of standard operating procedures for halal slaughter by a company in Australia, which had received approval from Jakim, based on video evidence and photos attested to by slaughter workers at the company.

Hakimah said the halal certification body responsible for halal supervision of slaughterhouses in Australia, namely the Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia Inc (Sichma), will be given a show-cause letter.

She said Sichma would also likely face revocation of its status as a halal certification body recognised by Jakim if it is found not complying with the requirements of Malaysian halal standards and procedures.

She stressed that Jakim and JPV view seriously the allegation, adding that the procedure for the recognition of foreign processing plants by the Malaysian government had to go through strict and detailed audits before going through the process of presentation and evaluation four times to be approved.

"This is because the process of recognising slaughterhouses and processing plants abroad is carried out systematically by trained officers of JPV and Jakim based on several standards that have been set for product quality and safety," she said.