In a significant move, the Uttar Pradesh government has recently enforced a ban on products carrying a halal tag, citing concerns over the parallel system of halal certification. The decision, effective immediately, encompasses the production, storage, distribution, and sale of food products with Halal certification within the state, excluding those designated for export.
The official order emphasizes the imposition of strict legal measures against individuals or firms engaged in the production, storage, distribution, buying, and selling of Halal-certified medicines, medical devices, and cosmetics within Uttar Pradesh. This regulatory action aims to uphold the standards outlined in Section 89 of the Food Safety and Standards Act.
Highlighting the rationale behind the ban, the order contends that the Halal certification of food products operates as a parallel system, leading to confusion about the quality of food items. It underscores that the authority to determine the quality of food items rests solely with the entities specified in Section 29 of the said Act, responsible for assessing relevant standards in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Furthermore, the order points out that certain medicines, medical devices, and cosmetic products are reported to display Halal certificates on their packaging or labeling, despite the absence of provisions for such certification in government rules related to drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and its associated rules do not mention Halal certification, raising questions about the legitimacy of the practice.
This regulatory stance follows a police case against a company and several organizations accused of exploiting religious sentiments to boost sales through allegedly “forged” halal certificates. Entities such as Halal India Private Limited Chennai, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust Delhi, Halal Council of India Mumbai, and Jamiat Ulama Maharashtra are among those facing legal action for purportedly engaging in a large-scale conspiracy to influence consumer choices based on religious considerations.
The Uttar Pradesh government’s response underscores its commitment to ensuring fair trade practices and preventing the exploitation of religious sentiments in the marketplace. As the controversy unfolds, it raises pertinent questions about the role of certification in product marketing and the need for adherence to established regulatory frameworks.