Indonesian lawmakers have approved a request that the House of Representatives include mandatory halal food labeling in a draftlaw.
House religious affairs commission chairman Hazrul Azwar said Saturday legislators agreed with the Indonesian Ulema Council(MUI) that halal certification should be obligatory rather than voluntary.
"I agree that all food and drugs producers must obtain halalcertificates and put them on their products because this is whatIslamic sharia obliges for Muslims," he told The JakartaPost.
At a hearing earlier this month with the House commission, the MUI demanded protection on the issue of halal product assuranceso as to compel producers to certify their products.
MUI fatwa committee head Ma'ruf Amien told the parliamentaryhearing the majority of Indonesians were Muslims, thus theyneeded protection and assurance that what they consumed was halal(permitted under Islamic law).
He also asked the House to allow the MUI to retain itsauthority in administering and issuing halal certificates.
According to Hazrul, a legislator from the United DevelopmentParty (PPP), most members of the Commission VIII agreed with theMUI's proposals during the hearing.
The council said it wanted the House to pass the bill into lawbefore the 2009 general elections.
JAKARTA,Feb.25, 2008 (News Agencies)