HALAL, Kosher and American Law
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
In the U.S., there can be no legal definition of kosher or halal, therefore, no legal mechanisms to regulate the standards used by food manufacturers. Legally, manufacturers can use either word on product labeling. They can call their products 'halal' or 'kosher' simply if they believe that their food meets these standards. This practice of labeling a food or ingredient like gelatin as 'kosher' is effective in attracting a significant portion of the "kosher consumer" most of whom are Muslims.
As the food industry's awareness of the market size for halal foods increases, we can expect to see more tactics by the food industry aimed at garnering the halal consumer. Therefore, moving forward, it is increasingly important to build awareness of and to support halal certification to ensure a product's compliance with Islamic dietary standards.
-- Read more about U.S. Laws concerning halal and kosher foods here. --
Guide to Halal Food Symbols
This guide identifies the halal certifying agencies behind the most commonly used halal symbols in the United States. Different halal certifying agencies can follow different halal certification standards, some more strict and others more lenient. More information about each agency, and the halal standards it maintains, can be found on each agency's web site.
Major Halal Certification Agencies in North America
|Muslim Consumer Group||Sunni||Huntley, IL, U.S.|
|The Muslim Consumer Group for Food Products is a non-profit and non-political organization, incorporated in 1993 as a Halal foods educational and Halal certification organization for Muslims consumers and food industry. http://www.muslimconsumergroup.com/|
|Islamic Food and Nutritional Council of America (IFANCA)||Sunni||Chicago, IL, U.S.|
|The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) is a non-profit Islamic organization dedicated to promote halal food and the institution of halal. http://www.ifanca.org/|
Kosher Certification Symbols
Halal, Kosher: A comparison
Market for Halal Products & the Muslim Consumer