The Victorian certifier has reportedly doubled the costs of certification to Indonesia for Queensland exporters, and has raised concerns about whether processors will now have to pay different Halal certifiers for different markets in future or whether a monopoly will exist for certification of all Halal markets.
Indonesian Halal certification is a state based system in Australia, where historically there has only been one certifier for Indonesia. The Indonesian MUI introduced a policy two years ago requiring that Australian-based Halal certifiers for Indonesia to operate within one state only.
The delisting of Queensland’s main Halal certifier on April 8 is believed to relate to internal disputes within the Muslim certifiers over the state based arrangements and opportunities for certifiers to expand their business across states.
Until this development, Queensland packers have been able to pay one certifier to handle all certification requirements for all Halal markets including Indonesia that they supply.
Certifiers are required to return some of the money they are paid by processors for Halal certification services back to their local Muslim community, such as through donations to Mosques or Islamic schools. It is understood that one of the reasons for the state-based rule was to ensure that money from certification services stays within the local muslim community.
One source explained to Beef Central that the Queensland certifier’s accreditation was delisted after it won a contract to supply Halal certification services in Victoria for a processor to cover markets outside of Indonesia. This development led to a dispute among local certification bodies about whether certifiers should operate across state boundaries, and resulted in the decision by MUI in Indonesia to remove the Queensland supplier’s accreditation and institute another certifier in Queensland.
The delisted certifier, which handles a bulk of the Halal certification work for Queensland exporters across all Halal markets, is understood to be trying to have its accreditation with Indonesia reinstated.
One of several Queensland based exporters who supply Indonesia, but asked to not to be identified, said some companies have switched certifiers to make sure their product got accepted, while others had stopped supplying Indonesia because of the costs involved.
Beef Central is aware that there have been discussions between Industry and the Federal Government around options to improve the current Indonesian certification system and to ensure competition in the market for these services.