The Italian Foreign Minister, Health Minister, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies signed the inter-ministerial Convention sponsoring the "Halal Italia" project yesterday.
The project in question is intended to create an Italian Halal stamp of certification for Made in Italy food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products compliant with Koranic law.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
The Italian Islamic Religious Community (COREIS) participated in a pilot project run by the Milan Chamber of Commerce, setting up a special internal body with its own registered brand that will be able to issue Halal certification to Italian made products compliant with Italian and European health laws.
In the context of the Italy’s commitment to internationalizing its productive system, and in light of Italian businesses’ growing interest in the markets of the Islamic world, this inter-ministerial convention will allow the government to guarantee adequate institutional support for the initiative, promoting the Halal certification registered by COREIS through trade associations and businesses and, at the same time, accrediting it with the authorities of Islamic countries as an Italian State-recognized certification of quality for the exportation of products compliant with Koranic law.
The aim is twofold: the expansion on markets of Muslim countries - halal products have a turnover of 500 billion euros worldwide, 54 billion in Europe, 5 billion in Italy with 120,000 firms managed by Muslims - but also, explained Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, ''the progressive integration of Muslim communities resident in Italy into the social fabric.''
With the initiative approved today, and to which companies will adhere voluntarily, Frattini added that ''the seriousness of the certification'' verified by the Ethical Committee was guaranteed, always respecting the Italian and European legal system, and ''reassurance is given to consumers and authorities of those countries where these products will be promoted.''
It is also, underlined the Minister for Agricultural Policy Giancarlo Galan, ''a tribute to all the Muslim women and men who work in our country and to whom we owe a great deal.''
Pointing out the ''historical and solid friendship between Italy and countries of the Arab world,'' Frattini underlined the importance of ''a sign of attention and respect for the values of which the Muslim countries are the carriers.''
And in response to journalists who asked if this will be a problem for relations with Israel, Frattini answered that he ''didn't believe so'' because ''we have respected and we respect the Jewish rules in the same sector.'' He concluded that ''we want to build bridges, not barriers.''