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Asia's growing halal demand spurs innovation, profit

Women try out Wardah's halal-certified cosmetics at a shopping mall near Jakarta. (Photo by Yumi Kotani)

JAKARTA -- Halal is an Arabic term meaning "permissible" or "lawful." To obtain halal certification, food manufacturers must comply with Islamic dietary laws as prescribed in the Quran, the Islamic holy book. Among other things, these laws prohibit the use of ingredients made from pork and alcohol, and set down guidelines for preparation and storage.

Numerous halal certification organizations have sprung up around the world, such as the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, a government institution better known by its local acronym, JAKIM. Different bodies adopt their own standards for determining the halal status of products or services, and each has its own logos to be printed on packaging and other materials.

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