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The Turkish Standards Institution, which awards halal certification, has introduced halal service documents to restaurants, markets and hotel dining facilities that provide service in compliance with Islamic standards.
The institution evaluates facilities that produce, sell and/or serve food according to halal food criteria set by the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) as of January. Food factories, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, markets, fast-food chains and food-serving sections of hotels can apply to the institute to obtain a halal service document.
All of the products that are used by the applicant facilities will be assessed according to their compliance with Islam. First all the food products should be approved as halal. Food that hasn’t been labeled will be inspected there and will be permitted if the inspection committee of the institution finds it proper, except meat and meat products. Meat products are obliged to obtain a halal food certificate to be sold. For markets, all the products that don’t have halal food certificates would be banned.The characteristics of the facility and its surroundings, its employment rules and particularly its hygiene conditions will be inspected in detail.
If the facility offers dual – halal and non-halal – service, it must be separated into two sections as all the equipment, employees and stocks have to be separate. Halal products should be listed on a halal menu and alcoholic beverages may not be included on this list.
This certificate and the opportunity to establish halal sections within restaurants and hotels will boost halal tourism in Turkey. Turkey was rated the world’s third-most Muslim-friendly holiday destination in a survey released Jan. 17. Malaysia was on the top as the world leader in halal tourism. However Turkey has been utilizing only a small portion of its halal tourism and market potential, sector players say. The number of Arab tourists visiting Turkey has been surging every year along with the government’s policies that prescribe close relationships with the Muslim world and the increasing influence of Turkey in the Arab world through television series and political figures. Last year 1.3 million visitors from Arab countries showed interest in Istanbul, a 54 percent increase.
Officials from tourism agencies from Arab countries have spoken about why their citizens chose to come to Turkey for vacations. Among the most important factors they detailed were the food, the shared history, the natural beauty and religious similarities between Turkey and their home countries, Hurriyet Daily reports.
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