CAMBODIA was taking the first steps to regulate the processing of halal food in order to serve both domestic and regional markets, Ministry of Commerce Secretary of State Mao Thora said.
The ministry was establishing a task force in conjunction with the Cambodia Islamic Association to discuss the requirements for a potential law regarding halal food, or food prepared according to Islamic law, he said.
“We’ve had one meeting to discuss the task force prior to submitting our report to the Council of Ministers for official approval as to how big it should be and how it should function,” Mao Thora said.
“Now we are preparing the legislation and organising the task force to conduct the necessary research.”
Even though Cambodia has not produced government-certified halal food in the past, Mao Thora said some manufacturers described their products as halal.
Although he doubted that Cambodian halal products would be exported to the Middle East, he said nearby countries with big Muslim populat-ions, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, were target markets.
Cambodian Islamic Community Development Foundation president Othsman Hassan said the goal was to set up only one institution to deal with the legal aspects of managing halal food production in Cambodia. It is needed to attract halal-related business to the Kingdom.
“Once we have that legitimacy, outside investors will come,” he said.
Othsman Hassan pointed to other countries with small Muslim populations, such as Australia and Brazil, that produce halal food, often for export.