Halal Food Enforcement Unit
Frequently Asked Questions
What is halal?
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permissible.
How does the State of New Jersey regulate the sale of halal foods?
The State Division of Consumer Affairs enforces the Halal Food Consumer Protection Act and the regulations under that law. Halal dealers, such as slaughterhouses, meat markets, grocery stores, supermarkets, bakeries, wholesalers, and street vendors, must disclose their business practices on posters provided by the Division. The Division checks to ensure that statements made by a halal dealer on its posters represent the dealer’s actual practices. The State does not determine the religious legitimacy or acceptability of the dealers selling halal food.
What does halal certification mean?
Halal certification is given by an independent third party (halal certification agency) that supervises the production of food and attests or certifies that the food was produced in conformance with that agency’s standards of halal.
Do establishments in New Jersey that sell halal food have to be certified by a halal certification agency?
No. Under New Jersey law, a dealer selling halal foods does not have to be certified. Note, however, that some businesses fall under the authority of the United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D. and must adhere to federal laws related to packaging and labeling products that are represented as halal.
Are halal certification agencies required to file anything with the Division?
If an individual or entity provides halal supervision to a dealer in New Jersey, the agency must file annually with the Division of Consumer Affairs a document listing the names, addresses, and the types of establishments that are supervised by them.
Do dealers have to post a separate disclosure statement for halal supervision if they are certified by a halal certification agency?
No. If a dealer is supervised and certified by a halal certification agency, the dealer will include the agency’s information on its disclosure statement(s).
May a dealer sell both food represented as halal and food not represented as halal?
Yes. A business may sell both food represented as halal and food not represented as halal, as long as the dealer identifies the relevant information on the posted disclosure.
Are all establishments selling halal food in the State of New Jersey required to post disclosures?
Any dealer selling food represented as halal that is not in a sealed package from the original producer must post the disclosures in a clear and conspicuous place within the establishment. If all of the food sold as halal is in its original package, disclosures are not required.
Are caterers required to post halal disclosures?
Yes. Caterers, nursing homes, summer camps and other dealers who serve prepared food pursuant to a contract, must post disclosures and furnish the consumer or his or her legal representative with a copy of the halal disclosure statement, prior to the signing of the contract.
Are street vendors selling food represented to be halal required to post disclosures?
Yes. Street vendors who sell prepared halal food (except vendors selling halal food only in packages sealed by the manufacturer) must post the halal disclosure statement in a place where it is readily visible to consumers.
If a dealer sells a variety of halal foods, such as in a combination meat market and bakery, does it need to post different types of disclosures?
Yes. Dealers must post all disclosures relevant to their business. The Division’s staff will assist dealers in determining which posters are necessary.
What must a dealer who sells foods represented as halal do if it decides to change its business practices?
A dealer may change its business practices at any time, but it must immediately amend its posted halal disclosure statement(s) and must inform the Division within 14 calendar days of the changes. The Division will provide the dealer with new halal disclosure statements.
What happens if a dealer violates the Halal Food Consumer Protection Act?
The Attorney General is authorized to prosecute violations of the laws governing the sale of foods represented as halal. If violations are found, sanctions can range from advice to correct the conduct to formal action seeking injunctive relief, civil penalties, costs and attorney’s fees.
Last Modified: 5/9/2017 7:08 AM