Mar 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka Muslim clerics' organization, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), which has been issuing the Halal certificates to businesses, said today it has decided to remove the Halal logo from all local products.
Addressing a press conference in Colombo Monday, the ACJU said the Halal certificates will be issued free of charge only to exporters who request it.
The ACJU, accompanied by the representatives of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and a group of Buddhist monks led by Ven. Bellanwila Wimalasara Thero at the media briefing, said the Halal logo will not be displayed on food packages after the existing stocks with the logo exhausted and the Lankan producers will no longer carry the Halal logo on their products unless requested by their foreign consumer.
The Chamber said that the products sold in the Sri Lankan market are not required to display the Halal logo.
However companies may continue to obtain the Halal certification for their products on a voluntary basis to facilitate exports which will be issued free of charge by the ACJU.
Also specialized outlets catering to foreigners may also sell products carrying the Halal logo at those outlets, the Chamber added.
The Chamber said however, it may take a considerable amount of time for the markets to run down the existing stocks carrying the Halal logo since all manufacturers carry substantial stocks of finished products and packaging material displaying the Halal logo.
"Until all such stocks are finished the market will have products with the Halal logo," the Chamber said adding that the manufacturers will however begin the process of changing the packaging immediately to ensure products without the Halal logo are available in the market.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said ACJU came to the decision to waive the Halal certification after extensive discussions it had with the Chamber and the Buddhist clergy.
The issue of Halal certification created controversy and a rift between the Buddhist and Muslim communities as the Buddhist extremist group Bodu Bala Sena issued an ultimatum to the traders to remove the halal products by the end of this month.