The Halal Certificate is a separate certificate issued by ‘Majlis Ugma Islam Singapura’ better known as ‘Islamic Religious Council Of Singapore’. Issued to eating house establishments, it certifies that the restaurant serves food in accordance to guidelines under the Islamic Sharia Law and so also caters to the needs of Islamic customers all over Singapore. Even though it is an optional and a difficult certificate to obtain, more and more restaurateurs are starting to get their establishments Halal certified to cater to a more diverse audience.
Whether you are already running an established outlet or are planning to open a new restaurant, it is a good idea to get your restaurant Halal certified. Here we have, everything you need to know to get the Halal certification.
What Are The Advantages of A Restaurant in Singapore Having a Halal Certificate?
As mentioned earlier, getting a Halal certificate is an extensive process, yet more and more restaurateurs are getting their establishments Halal Certified. For a number of industries, this move has some bearing of the signing of GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement but even for restaurants, kiosks or even hawker stalls, it comes with further added advantages.
- Halal certification gives restaurants a competitive advantage and allows them to cater to a diverse audience.
- Because of trade proximity with Malaysia and Indonesia, which are Muslim majority countries, it is easy to produce and sell halal certified foods in Singapore which will reach everyone and not just 85% of the market.
- Singapore has seen a constant increase in the number of tourists of, especially of Muslim ethnicity. Not only was it voted the most ‘friendly’ non-muslim destination for Muslim tourists in 2015, it also saw 2.73 million visitors coming from Indonesia, and 1.17 million from Malaysia, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. These are predominantly Islam countries and so getting a Halal certificate is good for business as it will cater to not just the market at home but to tourists as well.
- Even if you use Halal ingredients in your restaurant, having a Halal certificate will increase the level of assurance of Muslim customers in your restaurant.
What Are Challenges Of Acquiring Halal License?
Before going for a Halal license, it is equally important to understand that getting a Halal certificate is not an easy process. Here are the biggest challenges in getting a Halal certificate for your restaurant.
- It may take over a month to get your restaurant Halal verified and this move will have a further knock-off on your financials.
- Further, it will also affect your restaurant capacity in selling different items as you would only be able to serve dishes which can be made using halal-certified ingredients only.
- Among the various conditions that you would need to meet in order to get your restaurant Halal Certified, the most troublesome is hiring at least two Muslim staff members who must also obtain Halal Training Certificates. At least one of these hires must be given a supervisory position. Furthermore, these hires will be subject to MUIS’ approval.
- MUIS can also require laboratory testing for any of your ingredients.
- A cleaning ritual of your premises will be required if deemed necessary by MUIS, which will be carried out by The MUIS or an agent of its choice at your cost.
Apart from these, there are some more mandatory conditions that you would have to meet in order to obtain a halal certificate. Here is the complete list
How To Get A Halal License For Your Restaurant
Now that you are well aware of the advantages of a Halal certificate, next is getting a Halal certificate for your restaurant. Here we have or you a simple procedure to get your restaurant Halal certified. For more details, you can visit the official website of Majlis Ugma Islam Singapura
1. Applying For A Halal Certificate
Given that the Halal certificate is an optional certificate, having all mandatory licenses as laid down by the Government of Singapore to run a restaurant or any eating establishment are a prerequisite to applying for a Halal Certificate. Here is a comprehensive guide to the application process of getting Halal certification for your restaurant
(i) All applicants are to go to the Muis eHalal System (MeS) at to apply for a Halal certificate. Make sure that your entry is complete and all the information provided is accurate or it will lead to a disqualification of your application.
(ii) You’ll have to submit a New Application if:
- your current outlet has not been previously Halal Certified
- If you have a new outlet and your other outlet(s), bearing the same business name, are already Halal Certified
- If your existing Halal certificate has expired
- if you are not able to submit a Renewal application via the MeS
- if a previously submitted application was rejected or your Halal certificate had been cancelled.
(iii) Within 7 days of submitting a new application, you must pay a ‘Non-Refundable Application Fee’ by cash or cheque either online or at the MUIS Office. Your application will be automatically rejected without further notice if you fail to do so. No application fee is required for Change or Renewal application
(iv) You will be submitting a ‘Change Application’ if you are an existing Halal certificate holder, and have updates to make to the application details submitted earlier through the MeS. These changes include but are not limited to your contact information, particulars of Muslim personnel, names of product or menu items, details of raw materials, processing aids etc.
(v) You will be submitting a ‘Renewal Application’ in order to renew your Halal certificate. This will be done through MeS, 90 – 30 days before expiry of your existing Halal certificate. If this application is made less than 30 days before the expiry of existing Halal certificate, you will have to apply for a New Certificate and will be charged a ‘Non-Refundable’ application fee.
(vi) Details of all products, menu items, raw materials, additives and processing aids shall be declared through the MeS in this step itself. These details shall include, but not be limited to, the item description as well as names of the manufacturers, suppliers and Halal certification bodies
(vi) For submission of the Halal application via the MeS, you will have to:
- Register an MeS account using the exact business name reflected on the establishment’s signboard
- Register separate MeS accounts for multiple establishments that reflect different business names on their signboards;
- Submit separate MeS tickets, under the same MeS account, for different certification schemes
- Submit separate MeS tickets, under the same MeS account, for chain or franchise outlets at different locations bearing the same business name
(vii) In addition to ‘Eating establishment Scheme’, you may need to apply for different schemes under the MeS, the details of which are here.
2. Paying The Application Fee
3. Desktop Audit
The processing of application begins within 14 days of receipt of the application fee for both ‘New Applications’ and ‘Change and Renewal Applications’. In case of express application, the processing begins within 7 working days. You may be required to conduct a presentation on the company’s / establishment’s corporate profile, including its holding company, subsidiaries, nature of the business, process flowchart, layout, the composition of Halal Team, Halal system, etc. Apart from this, you will be required to submit relevant documentation for purpose of the desktop audit, prior to the site audit. Furthermore, you will have to access MeS regularly to check upon the status of your application, review of any notices of shortcomings and your audit reports. All of this will be done before the site audit.
4. Site Audit
After a successful desktop audit, MUIS will conduct a site audit either itself or through its approved agent. You need to prepare for this audit upon submission of the application but the audit will take place after you have commenced operations. Remember this is not a one-step process and repeat audits may be conducted. The steps that the site audit sollows are:-
- Opening Meeting
- Documentation Review
- Site Tour
- Interview of Halal and Muslim Personnel
5. Review Of Application And Audit Findings
Once the site audit has been done, the auditor will check for audit trails and further verify your documents. All members of the Halal team should be present during the Site Audit itself to ensure that all documentation required for smoothly issuing the Halal Certificate are presented. If there are any shortcomings, you will be informed via MeS or any other means of communication. You must rectify and revert to the concerned authority within the stipulated time period or else your application will be rejected without further notice. If there are no shortcomings found, your application will go over to the next step and your Halal certificate will be issued.
6. Payment Of Certification Fee And Collection Of Certificate(s)
Once your Halal Certificate has been issued, you will be issued an invoice and a notice for collection of the certificate. You must pay the full ‘Non-Refundable’ certification fee and collect the certificate within 14 working days from the issue of notice or else your certificate will be automatically cancelled without further notice. You shall be subject to the payment of the full non-refundable certification fee even if you decide to not collect or cancel the certificate upon approval.
Unannounced Post Certification Checks
To ensure that Halal Certification guidelines as laid down by the MUIS are being followed, MUIS and/or MUIS appointed agent will conduct unannounced audits post the issue of Halal Certificate. These unannounced audits can occur as many times as seemed required by MUIS till the validity of the certificate. If any shortcoming or non-compliance is found during this time, you will have to rectify it and revert to the concerned authority with the given deadline or else your certificate will be revoked.
Getting a Halal Certificate is an extensive and an expensive process requiring you to cause major changes in your dishes and team but given the way competition is rising in Singapore’s restaurant space, it is a move worth the cost especially when it allows you to access 100% of the market and tap majority of tourists as well. How necessary a Halal certification is for your restaurant business is another matter though. In this guide, we have put down the basic procedure of getting a Halal certificate along with benefits and consequences of the same. Hope this has been helpful!