In June 2014, The Rakyat Post reported that the Central Seberang Perai Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Office raided a noodle factory for selling packets of mee sanggul noodles with unsanctioned halal logos.
The Star reported in May that fake halal certification syndicates are selling halal certifications for between RM250 to RM600, with the applicants none-the-wiser that their certifications are not sanctioned from JAKIM and they are using non-valid certifications. The syndicates earn more then RM100,000 for each programme offered and does not even check the premises to investigate the procedure for food preparation prior to giving out these fake certificates.
While companies are duped by these fake certifications, it is the consumers who suffer the consequences, unknowingly ingesting food products that are not prepared in the proper way. The proper way to go about obtaining a certification is through the Halal Malaysia Official Portal. This website also contains the directories for all the premises that have managed to obtain the certification for the use of consumers everywhere.
To simplify the process of checking through the halal certification, Mohd. Izzairi Yamin did what any proactive tech-savvy person would do – he made an app. HalalTouch is an app that allows users to scan or search for the premises’ documentations through JAKIM’s directory and gives the users an ease of mind knowing that they are indeed Halal.
He told the New Straits Times that there are actually other apps that does something similiar to what his app has to offer. However, these apps involve many unnecessary steps and procedures that he got fed up and decided to make an app of his own.
“As a foodie, I am quite particular about the food I consume. As much as I can, whenever possible, I will search for halal food even when I am abroad. Lately, I find that even eating out here can be quite an adventure if you want to truly search for halal food. There are so many shops posting halal certificate, but some do look quite outdated and even dubious,” he told the news publication.
The HalalTouch app uses the camera on the phone to scan a unique ID to access the records in JAKIM’s public database and pull it out for the users to see. This QR code is actually available in most premises registered with JAKIM.
While the information is readily available on JAKIM’s website, finding specific information for one restaurant is a tedious process. In addition, the restaurant certification does not mean that all the food is halal, as some premises only request for halal certifications for specific food on the menu.
According to Izzairi, the app allows users to gain access to all these necessary information easily. Users are able to see when the premises’s halal certificate is valid until, as well as the items that are deemed halal by JAKIM.
The HalalTouch website also allow business owners to register their businesses with the site and obtain an auto-generated unique ID to be displayed in their premises. The business owner is then able to send the message out to foodies that their premises are halal and run accordance with JAKIM.