Farouk Othman, Gopinath Sangaran & Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan
Halal food labels and certification schemes are found in many countries, however, their credibility remains a question. Halal food concerns in five-star hotel establishments around Malaysia started getting attention since 2009. Malaysian Muslim consumers and hotel patronage expressed their concerns over products served at five-star hotel buffets, especially food served during the ever popular Ramadhan buffet dinner. This has driven hotel management teams to conduct halal certification in their food outlets. The Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) that operates under the Malaysian government is responsible for enforcing the development of the halal gastronomy in the country, and providing halal solutions and certification for food production and restaurant establishments. This study looked at halal certification issues related to five-star rated hotels in Kuala Lumpur. A total of eight five-star hotel establishments were selected to participate in this qualitative research. However, only four responded positively to the interview sessions. The study also aims to educate and provide holistic information on recognising what is halal and haram. The basic fundamental values of halal food regulations, gastronomical experiences from religious slaughtering to intoxicating drinks and product driven market are explained in the literature review section. The justification of lawful and unlawful in the Islamic religion which relates to halal food are also explored. The context is purely derived from Muslim religious texts and beliefs, namely The Holy Book of Qur’an. As a sign of respect, the researchers did not review, contrast and compare the books of the Torah, the Bible and other religious texts so as to avoid biasness and conflicts in research values. In addition, this would also avoid complications in the directive control of this review and researchers’ responsibilities.
Keywords: Halal, gastronomy, certification, five-star, hotel, Holy Qur’an