In the News: Indonesia’s Ḥalāl Labeling Law

Last month, the Indonesian government decided to postpone an October 2019 deadline requiring all consumer goods sold in the country to be certified ḥalāl.

According to a 2014 Indonesian law, all food, beverages, drugs, cosmetics, chemical, biological, and genetically engineered products, as well as “consumer goods that are worn, used, or utilized by the public” must go through an inspection process—overseen by the Indonesia Council of Ulama (religious scholars)—to ensure that the raw materials and manufacturing process do not involve ḥarām (religiously impermissible to eat) products, including blood and pork.

Although ḥalāl products are often associated with food, since the law was passed, Indonesian companies have been increasingly seeking ḥalāl certification for non-edible products, including refrigerators and even women’s ḥijābs. However, the plan has also attracted criticism, since companies that produce unique products such as vaccines may choose not to create a version specifically for the Indonesian market. At the same time, the Indonesian government estimated that by charging companies for ḥalāl certification it could gain $1.6 billion in annual revenue.