Special Interview with GIMDES President Dr. Huseyin Kami BUYUKOZER INTERVIEWS
Special Interview with
Dr. Huseyin Kami BUYUKOZER
The President of Internationally recognized Halal Organization GIMDES
(Istanbul-NewsHalal, Shawwal 10,1437 AH, 18 July 2016)
GIMDES is one of the leading International Halal Organization based in Istanbul, the historical city of Republic of Turkey. The organization not only serving the industries for the Halal Certification but also provides concrete knowledge on Halal to producers and consumers through organizing Halal Workshops, Halal Seminars, Halal Conferences and Halal Expo.
President of GIMDES Dr. Huseyin Kami BUYUKOZER is a lead Halal expert serving not only in Turkey but playing a vital role internationally to spread knowledge of Halal.
Dr. Buyukozer has worked in the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology, Industrial Department during 1974-1979 and after that worked as Minister Undersecretary.
He was in Germany between 1982-1984 for some academic research. Dr. Buyukozer has encountered the problem, which is relating finished food products during his three-year residency in Germany and Public institutions, which let him to make research up today.
Dr. Buyukozer Wrote his book, which is called "Food Report, Food and Drink are halal or haram?" about the problems which many Muslims encounter on the market shelves. This book is updated with its 7th edition.
After his research, Dr. Buyukozer has believed that it is necessary to provide Halal certification for Muslim consumption. For this reason, he established GIMDES Association in 2005. Dr. Buyukozer is currently the chairman of this organization.
NewHalal.com interviewed Dr. Huseyin Kami BUYUKOZER for our readers. The interview is highlighting not only about GIMDES or Halal activities in Turkey but also about the international issues surfacing in Halal sectors around the world. We thanks Dr. Huseyin and the team of GIMDES who supported us for this interview.
Dr. Huseyin speaking at a conference against non-Muslims inteference in Halal
Q: Please tell us about yourself and also about GIMDES? Who established this Halal Certifying body in Turkey? Kindly tell us about the number of GIMDES executives and staff including number of regional chapters within Turkey.
Dr. Huseyin: GIMDES is an Islamic, independent, non-profit, voluntary association established in Istanbul in 2005. GIMDES started Halal certifying in 2009. GIMDES is the first and only reliable Halal Certification body that works as NGO in Turkey. GIMDES has certified more than 450 companies' 10000 products until now.
Q: Kindly tell us about the number of GIMDES executives and staff including number of regional chapters within Turkey.
Dr. Huseyin: GIMDES has found executive committee, audit committee, jurisprudence committee, technical science committee, consultation committee, ladies’ committee. There are 60 people work in these committees.
Q: What is your main interest in Halal? Why have you started Halal certification with GIMDES?
Dr. Huseyin: Islam has a message in every point of our life. Islam aims to obey Muslims its certain way of lifestyle. We have pay attention to our foods in our daily life as a religious order. Such an order is a priority order to care individual's material and spiritual health. Any attitude that doesn't obey or underestimate just means to deny itself.
We are in a process that consumes our social structure. So I always think that we must get rid of this process at once. We have to think of a new way of life with our independent willpower. We must return again healthy lifestyle that consistent with our moral values and shows everybody in the history who we are. When we think about that people who lived 50 or 100 years haven't lived with the products which seem unavoidable for us nowadays. Our ancestors have established strong and respected states by applying healthy lifestyle during centuries.
So, it should be proud to bring to light again our community's halal and tayyib life elements, which seem lost now. When we apply Halal and Tayyib lifestyle to ourselves, our environment will start to accept, and this lifestyle will be a strong movement. In the beginning, producers and sellers will not be able to participate in this action immediately because of their short-term interests. However, in the end, they will have to comply.
GIMDES International Workshop in Istanbul 2015
Q:There are so many Halal Certifying Companies or Organizations in Turkey, what is the difference between GIMDES and other Halal Certifying bodies in Turkey? Could you also tell us about number of HCBs in Turkey?
Dr. Huseyin: Mission of GIMDES is to promote Halal in public in Turkey and abroad and teach people what is Halal and Tayyib (healthy) in terms of Islam. GIMDES is the first and only reliable Halal Certification body that works as NGO in Turkey. GIMDES started Halal certifying in 2009. GIMDES applies the most rigorous international Halal Standards approved by Muslim Scholars and Ulama from "Ahl Al-Sunnah Wal-Jama'ah". Because of its sincerity and strictness in Halal Certifying, GIMDES has become one of the most respected and recognized Halal Certification bodies in the world. As GIMDES, we have always been very strict in Halal certification because we know that our task is to protect the rights of Muslim consumers worldwide. Money and business benefits are not a priority for our organization mainly because we are considering this as a divine mission.
It is obvious that GIMDES Halal certification authority relaxed on the information needs and various procedures of the halal certification when compared to the other certifiers.
The other halal certification bodies’ problems are as the following;
a) Halal certification applicant incompetency of completing the application forms due to poor understanding of the halal certification procedures
b) limited manpower at certification bodies
c) lack of technology use
d) governance problem
On the other hand, GIMDES Halal Certification Body educate the manufactures on the halal certification by providing courses, improved communication and also assistance to complete the halal application.
GIMDES Halal and Tayyib Workshop in Istanbul 2015
Q: Please tell us about activities of GIMDES? Is GIMDES is just a local Halal Certifying body or it is working globally? What are GIMDES international activities?
Dr. Huseyin: GIMDES works globally. GIMDES has always been the good example of Halal promotion and certification because of the following points:
3. All GIMDES staffs are Muslims, who have taqwah in practicing the religion.
4. GIMDES accepts the Kafalat principle in certification. So certification is done by taking the responsibility and auditors, scientific and technical staffs are all fear Allah, and they take utmost care in protecting the rights of Muslims and Ummah.
5. GIMDES trains auditors and staff for Halal. Hundreds of food technicians, chemical engineers, people from food-related disciplines and also slaughter men were trained for Halal in Turkey and outside.
6. Halal is the only function of GIMDES. GIMDES doesn't have any other field of interest.
7. GIMDES has web sites, and arranges regular TV shows, radio talks, seminars, conferences almost every day to increase Halal awareness.
8. GIMDES cares for Muslims everywhere; Turkish, Asian, American; i.e. ethnicity does not matter. We are all Muslims, and all Muslims are our brothers. So, their problems are our problems, and their joy is our joy.
9. GIMDES has been following its own Halal standard, which was prepared after long years of research. We are proud to say that we have a very strict and higher quality of Halal.
10. GIMDES is recognized and accredited by many international Halal certifying bodies worldwide.
GIMDES Halal EXPO 2015 in Istanbul
Q: What is the importance of Halal Certification in Turkey? Why GIMDES launched annual Halal EXPO in Istanbul?
Dr. Huseyin: Halal is a simple five letter words but covers a wide range of definition. A food is not considered to be halal with just as simple as pronouncing the name of Allah (S.W.T) and cutting the throat. If the food is unsafe to health, it is also considered as not Halal. Halal food must also safe or and of good quality which is described through the word ‘thoyyiban’. Issue of Halal products has invites debates in various aspects of our lives. Under the Shariah law the products that we consume, must be hygienic, pure, clean and of quality, or also known as ‘Halalan Toiyyibban’. The narrow understanding of the meaning ‘halal’ is, it must be free from non halal ingredients or substances that contain pork and alcohol. Whereas the true concept of halal is to ensure that the whole process in preparation of the product has meet the Shariah rites. Halal promotes that not only what we consume must be Halal (follow the approved Shariah procedure) but the product must be "Toyyib" (of good quality). To ascertain good quality undertakes assurance along the production of the products. Halal certification is the process of certifying products or services as pronounced by the Shariah law. In providing the assurance to Muslim consumers on the halal quality, a system of the halal certification and verification is seen to be a key element. To remain competitive, the efficiency of halal certification must be emphasized. From a strategic point of view, competitiveness in the halal industry can be achieved by tackling the issues of operational efficiency.
Concurrently with our workshops and conferences, we are also organizing Halal and Tayyib Expos in Istanbul. We have been organizing the expo since 2010 and we are proud to say that the tiny show of Halal products in 2010 has now become an important event for Halal industry. Exhibitors from more than 10 countries continuously exhibited their products and visitors more than 50 countries visited the show. We can proudly say that our Halal and Tayyib Expo is a unique event in Middle East and European region and have already boosted Halal industry by opening new opportunities to both buyers and producers. More importantly, our Workshops and Expo have helped increase awareness of consumers and thus ordinary Muslim consumers have become more cautious in what to consume and what not. Events that we organize (the Workshops and the Halal Expo) have already become the major activities of Halal industry and all stakeholders are looking forward to take part in these events.
Q: What are the Halal Standards of GIMDES?
Dr. Huseyin: The concept of halal products or foods is now gaining a worldwide discussion due to its recognition as an alternative benchmark for safety, hygiene and quality assurance of what we consume or drink daily. Thus products or foods that are produced in line with halal prescriptions are readily acceptable by Turkish community. Consumers nowadays are so much concerned and always be aware of what they eat, drink and use. The awareness of consumers describes their perception and cognitive reaction to products or foods in the market. As such, their awareness is an internal state or a visceral feeling by way of sensory perception towards the products/foods they used or consumed.
There are a large number of standardization and certification organizations has been established worldwide. However, we believe GIMDES must work in the most ideal, and it must be the best example in itself as organization. We always take into account that our standard must be away from any doubt, and it must be as strict as possible. There are seven Halal standards. These are:
- GIMDES 1001 Food Standard
- GIMDES 1002 Cosmetics and Personal Care Standard
- GIMDES 1003 Medicine and Health Care Standard
- GIMDES 1004 Logistics Standard
- GIMDES 1005 Tourism, Accommodation, Travel Standard
- GIMDES 1006 Textile Standard
- GIMDES 1007 Consumer goods
GIMDES Halal Standard has been published and available on GIMDES website for the community.
Q: Do you or GIMDES works to raise Halal awareness among consumers and producers in Turkey?
Dr. Huseyin: Muslims’ awareness is the fastest growing consumer segment in Turkey. Any company that is not considering how to serve them is missing a significant opportunity to affect both its top and bottom line growth.
The increasing need for new market opportunities at both national and corporate level, coupled with growing consumer awareness, has pushed halal into the public awareness. Today, halal certified food requirement can be found all around of Turkey.
GIMDES has carried out various awareness projects such as seminars, conferences, publications etc. For this reason, today, halal certification has become a powerful market parameter that continues to evolve across different sectors of the product supply chain and has requested from different industries including cosmetics and personal care, pharmaceuticals, travel and hospitality, and lifestyle markets such as fashion and media.
GIMDES World Halal Summit 2015 in Istanbul
Q: How you are dealing with the issues such as stunning or mechanical slaughtering?
Dr. Huseyin: General requirements for slaughtering as the following;
Live Camera System has to establish in the Slaughterhouse according to Halal Assurance System. If Camera system doesn't set up, the certification process will be canceled.
2- Halal Manual will be prepared for Halal Assurance System. This handbook will be sent by GIMDES.
3- Slaughtering and cutting should be performed under hygienic/sanitary conditions.
4- All animals and fowl have to be healthy, free of disease, scars and any corporal
5- Animals should be well fed by their natural food. They are not to be fed by najis or meat products.
6- Animal or bird should be given water before slaughtering and be handled humanely so that it stays calm and not stressed out.
7- Animals and fowl have to be humanly treated before slaughter. It’s strictly forbidden to do an act of fright, biting, making sick or giving stress to animals and fowl before slaughter.
8- Further processed meat products should have no additives known to be unhealthy or carcinogenic such as sodium nitrate or nitrite, MSG, synthetic colors. In addition to, no GMO in soybean.
9- Additives which used in production like enzymes, natural colors, citric acid, fatty acids should be certified ‘’Halal’’ by the recognized and approved halal certification body by GIMDES.
10- There should not be any situation occurred that may harm the image of our foundation, such as having and consuming alcohol in the plant, advertising the Halal certified products and the alcohol as if they’re compatible.
11- Halal animals’ slaughterhouse has to be separated from Haram animals’ slaughterhouse.
12- Separate and identified masjid is required.
Halal slaughter has to be performed according to the following rules:
- Animal or bird must be of halal species.
- Slaughtering must be done by a mature Muslim of sound mind, trained in slaughtering method for the type and size of the animal to be slaughtered.
- Slaughtering must be done only for and in the name of Allah. Other purposes or means are totally haram.
- The name of Allah (Bismillah Allahu Akbar) must be verbally invoked by the Muslim slaughter person before and during the slaughter.
- Slaughtering must be carried out by a sharp knife in a swift step so that the animal does not feel the pain of cutting.
- Knives and slaying tools that are used in slaughtering should not be used for haram animals or haram material.
- Slaughtering must be carried out on the neck from the front cutting the esophagus, windpipe, jugular veins and carotid arteries, without cutting the spinal cord beyond the neck muscle.
- Blood must be drained out completely and the animal must die of bleeding rather than any other injury.
- At least, two halal slaughter men must always be at the scene to ensure that if any bird is missed out by the first slaughter man, it is covered by the second slaughter man.
- It’s absolutely forbidden to wound or cut any parts before they are totally dead.
Stunning is not recommended. However, if stunning is to be carried out, only water bath type of stunning in poultry is allowed. GIMDES R&D department carry out a project to avoid
Q: How the GIMDES would deal the issue of non-Muslims interference in Halal EU Halal sector?
Dr. Huseyin: Since the year 2010, we have been observing the European Committee for Standardization’s (abbrev. CEN) endeavors to interfere in Halal issues and to set their standards for Halal Food by building a standardization technical committee on Halal Food led by non-Muslims. I wrote my first article against this project in 2013.
So from the beginning of this initiative we have declared our crystal clear opinions that Halal is a pure Islamic issue and Halal standardization, and certification cannot be a working-field for non-Muslims. The religious affairs of a faith group vests exclusively with the adherents of that particular faith community. Halal (Lawful) and Haram (Unlawful) are Islamic precepts that govern the entire life of a Muslim and are accordingly regulated by a deeply spiritual commitment. Halal Certification by non- Muslim entities is deemed null and void in terms of Islamic Law. You have also shown your obvious support during 13-14 June Istanbul Congress against non-Muslims interference on Halal Standards.
Alhamdolillah CEN project is disbanded. I thank you again all brothers and sisters who support to keep Muslims Halal standards. We always need to stand up, immobilize, unify and make our voice heard against this type of initiatives all the time and this is an Ibadaah. We are worshiping Allah by keeping his religion from non-Muslims interference, and He will reward us inshaAllah. May Allah keep us in His path all the time.
GIMDES Halal EXPO 2015 in IstanbulGIMDES Halal EXPO 2015 in Istanbul
Q: It is said that the different Halal Standards confusing to Halal Foods, Beverages, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics and meat industries as well as consumers around the world. What is the solution? Is there any possibility that HCBs can agree on a unified Halal Standards? What is the stance of GIMDES?
Dr. Huseyin: Worldwide, several standardization and certification organizations have been established to control and assure the production of halal food products, resulting in diverse certificates and labels. Today, authorized Muslim certification organizations have been set up in many countries to monitor and inspect the abattoirs, manufacturers and distribution outlets in their handling of the animals and halal products, and to issue halal certificates.
Halal standards are used to make halal production more unambiguous. The standard certificates should support customers and consumers in choosing products that comply with halal requirements. Worldwide, certification organizations are trying to establish a single voice, with a global umbrella institution that will supervise all halal certifiers. Currently, the largest of such an institution is the World Halal Council (WHC), which oversees about 50 halal certification agencies from various countries. WHC is establishing unified halal food standard worldwide. GIMDES works for this important task under World Halal Council.
Q: What is the role of laboratory in the Halal sector? Why do we need analysis in Halal certification?
Dr. Huseyin: To ensure that the food industry has met the requirements in producing halal foods, the halal production has to be verified. Certificates and labeling are needed to show consumers and buyers that products are manufactured according to halal production methods. However, the lack of trustworthy halal logo drive consumers to seek additional assurance.
Monitoring of specific haram ingredients in raw materials, half fabricates, and final food products can prove compliance with several halal requirements.
Laboratory analysis is not often used to prove the absence of haram ingredients. Although laboratory analysis for the verification of halal products is not commonly used in many Halal certification bodies; the halal assurance is to a large extent based on certificates that are verified by audits.
Since foods containing pork are prohibited for Muslims, food control laboratories need to be able to carry out species differentiation of raw materials used for industrial food preparation and the detection of animal species in food products.
Determination of animal species in meat (chops, steaks, etc.) is relatively straight-forward. However, identification of meat in complex and/or highly processed foods is more challenging. At the far end of the challenge scale are meat-derived protein ingredients, a group of high-protein ingredients primarily derived from animal by-products. Several analytical approaches have been developed to identify animal species in food products.
These include analytical methods based on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques, and methods for detection of the fat and protein composition, or volatile compounds.
DNA methods are very specific and sensitive and they can be even used for highly processed materials, because DNA molecules are very stable. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods are based on amplification of specific gene fragments.
Laboratory tests can also be used to reduce the number of mashbooh products, to measure the origin of the product, or to investigate the compliance of products to Islamic law.
For these purposes, the various halal requirements among different Muslim groups should be taken into account. Scientific justification and results of laboratory analyses can provide additional information for the Fatwa Commission to evaluate the halal status of the products.
The selection of the most suitable technique depends on the aimed type of haram compound(s), the composition of the food product, the expected levels of haram constituents, whether screening or confirmatory analysis is required, and the measurement uncertainty allowed. The specificity and sensitivity of detection methods determine the extent to which the absence of haram ingredients can be demonstrated. More sensitive, cheap and simple detection methods for haram ingredients are needed to support the verification of the halal status of food products. These detection methods are especially needed to measure low pork (derivate) contamination levels in composite and processed food products.
The laboratory results from the application of detection methods can be used as a proof of correct labelling when food products are delivered to consumers or buyers in the chain, or as a check whether suppliers indeed deliver products without haram substances.
Q: How the Halal Tourism sector is working in Turkey?
Dr. Huseyin: It has been significant growth in the hotel industry in Turkey. Halal tourism industry is getting bigger in Turkey and becoming successful in trying to attract Muslim tourists from all over the world, especially the Middle Eastern travelers.
Nowadays, many hotels have decided to get Halal certification system into their operational processes, with the aim to capturing a bigger tourism market especially tourists from the Middle East and the Gulf countries. Due to this trend, many hotels are trying to adapt their services more and more to their Muslim guests. It should be emphasized here that GIMDES has set up halal standard for hotel industry in Turkey. Although having GIMDES Halal certificate can boost the confidence of the general public that all the practices and activities are in compliance with the Shariah at all times whether in its products, instruments, operations, practices, management etc., until now there are no hotel that is enable them to fully abide and equip with the requirement as Shariah compliant Hotel as a whole which covered the whole premises when implementing halal certification.
Q: What is the importance of Halal logo usage? Is there any issue of true and fake Halal logo in Turkey? How do you deal with such issues?
Dr. Huseyin: Halal product is widely recognized for their quality assurance. Meanwhile, the halal logo has become a symbol of good quality product. The global demand for halal food in accordance to Shariah compliant will continue to rise with a huge global demand. Islam is the basis of public and private life in Muslim nations.
This indicates that Islam has inspired the way of life of a Muslim and food consumption is one of them. With the growing number of Muslim population world-wide, the demand for halal food is simultaneously at an increasing rate.
The concept of halal and haram (prohibited) cannot be separated from Islam as a way of life. Besides halal, we must strongly emphasize on cleanliness, especially in the context of foods and drinks. Muslims are sensitive with the food they eat which must be clean and prepared in a right manner and they must avoid any forbidden items. Again, Quran had stressed that it will keep them faithfully clean and pure when a Muslim is eating only halal food.
Food quality seems to be important as Islam has set two essential criteria for food consumption, namely, halal that is permissible by Islamic Shariah and toyyib which refers to good quality food. In essence, food purity is knotted with food quality and creates the healthfulness (Halalan Toyyiban) of the halal food that complied with the Islamic dietary rules.
Food purity aspects concern on ways the food is handled with a high level of hygiene, safety, nutrition, and meeting certain standard of cleanliness. It is unquestionable that food purity has become part of human necessity in ensuring healthy lifestyles to all races and religions.
Another important attribute of halal logo is it represents food safety. It means that to have food in good quality, it needs to ensure that it is safe and no side effects to a person’s health. Food safety as known as risk perceptions or concerns about the properties of unfamiliar foods that food safety is focused on the presence of toxic compounds normally contained in foods, contaminants, mycotoxins, pathogens, and toxigenic microorganisms.
Food traceability has been identified as another important attribute to halal logo.
It is the duty of a Muslim to recognize the resources and ingredients contained in the halal food and drink that goes into their mouth. Traceability represents the ability to identify what is exactly happening to the products at any stage in the supply chain cycle starting from the farm where it is grown until transmitting it to the end phase of the finish products. Food traceability has its tracking system which is able to spot, if there is, any sign of contaminations and to remove products that are hazardous to customers’ health.
One of the subjects that are issued lately by the sensitive consumers is the lack of Halal logo on the products that has already Halal certified. GIMDES Halal logo is obviously the most important symbol for GIMDES Halal and Tayyib Certified products proofing that there are not any additives or aiding materials in the products against Muslims’ beliefs and health.
Unfortunately, there are some companies that aware of this circumstance and think that they are clever enough to use GIMDES Halal logo, although the products haven’t Halal certified. Our lawyers conduct juristic acts against those companies.
As GIMDES we developed websites and mobile applications to inform followers in fastest way to avoid such fraud attempts.
Q: Could you give us number of products Halal certified by GIMDES? Also give some names of companies or products certified by GIMDES.
Dr. Huseyin: GIMDES has certified more than 600 companies' 10000 products until now. GIMDES Halal certified companies and their halal certificate scope is published on www.helalgidasertifikasi.info website.
Q: What is future plan of GIMDES to protect true Halal not only in the Turkey but also in Europe and other regions?
Dr. Huseyin: We have completed DUNYA HALAL FOUNDATION establishment after long time work by the grace of Allah (SWT). Our life is like a journey of seeking for Halal and Tayyib life system. We have set up GIMDES in 2005 due to become reproducible Halal and Tayyib products. Alhamdulillah, 10 thousand products have been certified during that period of time and provided to all mankind. GIMDES has become internationally recognized and trusted institution now.
DUNYA HALAL VAKFI was added to our new study. We are establishing as a CHARITY CENTER to grant scholarship to young people and set up DAR’UL HALAL MEDRESE and HALAL PRODUCTS RESEARCH LABORATORY with this foundation.
These international projects are still in the beginning stage. We are working to embody with the help and benevolence our projects in a shortest time. We request from all volunteers and benefactors to take a part in this good projects. We’re inviting them and saying “PUT A BRICK TO THIS AUSPICIOUS WORK”. We’re planning to this education center is to be Istanbul the city that have been capital of the Islam Ummah for centuries.
If you want to take a part in this auspicious event, we’re waiting your help that you have already earned with the way of Halal. In addition to that we are giving our commitment to you that you will be informed step by step about the works will be done with your help.
For your help and donations: Kuveyt Turk Ikitelli Branch DUNYA HALAL VAKFI Account Number: 93737332 IBAN NO: TR60 0020 5000 0937 3733 2000 01
My brothers name who was donated a million TL will be given one of the amphitheater halls of Darul Halal Medrese. My brothers name who was donated five hundred thousand TL will be given one of the classes of Darul Halal Medrese. My brothers name who was donated one hundred thousand TL also will be written on the board among with the other brothers that gave donations. Every year on remembrance day, all of our brothers who gave donations will be mention with goodness and prayers.
Q: Please give your message to Muslim consumers and HCBs around the world.
Dr. Huseyin: Halal is a way of Muslims' life and Halal certificate is a litmus paper for products to avoid any contamination. We have to be one voice and one heart to keep and deploy Halal in all industries and services which is requested by more than 2 billion Muslims all over the world.