Today, you’ll find Halal food establishments of all different kinds and cuisines in Singapore – you might be surprised to find that places like The Dim Sum Place and Afterwit Mexican Taqueria are Halal-certified.
In Singapore, the Halal certificate is issued by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapore (MUIS), also known as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. We spoke to Mohammad Salehin of WhatsHalal, a B2B blockchain platform that's streamlining Halal certification, about this process. Here’s a concise guide:
According to MUIS, in order to be certified as a Halal establishment, your F&B business will need to meet 3 types of requirements:
All raw materials used must be Halal and substantiated with supporting documents.
You must have a minimum of 2 Muslim staff.
At least 1 Muslim representative and 1 other staff must have attended the Halal Training Programme.
You must comply with the 10 principles of the Singapore MUIS Halal Quality Management System (HalMQ), a system that ensures your F&B business's Halal compliance is consistently well-managed and documented for easy traceability.
How to apply for Halal certification
MUIS offers 7 types of Halal certification schemes for the various businesses in the F&B industry, from restaurants to central kitchen facilities to poultry abattoirs.
If you’re a retail food establishment (i.e. a restaurant, hawker stall, canteen stall, bakery, etc), you’ll want to be applying for the Eating Establishment (EE) Scheme.
Engaging a consultant
As Halal-Tech consultants, WhatsHalal has seen more and more F&B businesses choosing to engage them to help with getting Halal certified, Salehin shares.
Gathering all the necessary documents in order is intense stuff, so getting Halal certified isn’t the quickest process – the entire task can take about 2 whole months. Whatshalal has a database of Halal certified suppliers and their products, removing a lot of the manual work involved. As such, the processing time for your application can be cut down to as short as a week.
What’s the rush, you ask? If, in the span of your 2-month long application, your supplier’s halal certification expires, your application will fall through as well. And speaking from experience, advises Salehin, it’s actually a very common problem.
Want to DIY? Apply through the LicenceOne portal by logging in with your CorpPass details if you’re an F&B business registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), or SingPass details if you’re an individual owned business like a hawker stall.
This is also the same platform used to apply for a whole range of business licences, so simply search “halal” under “licence application” to be directed to where you want to go:
In the first stage of filling in your application, you’ll be asked to provide your company’s details like your business address.
Also, you can choose between normal and express applications. The former will be attended within 14 working days, and the latter, 7. The application fee is $159 and $340 respectively; including 7% GST, it’ll cost $170.13 and $363.80 respectively.
The next step is to submit the following documents through the platform:
Your NEA/ AVA licence
The floor plan of the premises applying for Halal certification
A list of your ingredients and the suppliers you got them from, as well as pictures of the product labels of these ingredients
A list of all of the items on your menu
(Indeed, that’s quite a lot of records to gather. If you find that you’re missing some documents, you can save your application as a draft and return to it later.)
Almost there! Now, to pay the fee. The Halal certification fee comprises of the application fee ($170.13 for normal application and $363.80 for express application, as mentioned above) as well as the certification fee, which depends on the type of F&B business you’re running:
See the full list of fees for each type of business here.
To complete your application, you’ll have to pay the application fee and 40% of the certification fee; and when it’s approved, simply pay the remaining 60% of the certification fee to finally get Halal certified.
For instance, if you’re a small restaurant with a floor area not exceeding 186sqm, your first stage of payment for a normal application would be $170.13 + 40% of the certification fee of $829.25 = $501.83.
The payment status should reflect that you’ve “STAGE 1: PAID, STAGE 2: N.A”:
Following an audit inspection and the approval of your application (which we’re getting to in a bit), you’ll have to pay $497.55, the remaining 60% of the certification fee.
The audit inspection and approval process
After you’re done filing your application (i.e. after making the first payment), it’ll go under the “My Portfolio” > “Applications”. This is where you can review your application and check your application status:
When your application is being reviewed, you might be notified to supply additional information, for instance, if you missed out a Halal certificate for a certain ingredient. The notification will appear under “My Portfolio” > “Request for Action”; simply follow the instructions to complete the action and facilitate your application.
An auditor will then make an appointment to come down to your F&B establishment for an audit inspection. As long as you comply with the Halal certification requirements, the auditor will then recommend your application to MUIS. The entire process takes about 40-60 days.
And that’s it – your Halal certification application is successful! An invoice will be sent to you via email once your certificate is ready for collection.
Maintaining your Halal certification
If there are any changes to your Halal team, Muslim staff, supplier, menu items or ingredients, you’re required to update MUIS through LicenceOne.
Under the “Licence Application” drop-down, select "amend existing licence", and simply follow the instructions to upload your relevant supporting documents.
There are no fees for amending your licence.
Renewing your Halal certification
The renewal process is basically the same as your initial application process, but if you have the documentation from your previous application and kept it up-to-date along the way, it should be a lot less tedious!
Under the “Licence Application” drop-down, select "renew existing licence", and simply follow the instructions provided.
This time, you’ll only have to pay a 40% certification fee upon applying, and the remaining 60% upon a successful application (i.e. there’s no application fee).
Winning Singapore’s Muslim market
And there you have it – with your Halal certification, you’re ready to serve your Muslim customers with assurance. Your F&B business will also be on MUIS’s directory of Halal-certified eating establishments.
To find out more, visit the MUIS website here.