SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Food chains Fish & Co and Delifrance Singapore have lost their halal certifications after failing to renew them this year.
Fish & Co's certification expired in March and Delifrance's in June.
An Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) spokesman said Fish & Co's 12 outlets have not been halal certified since April 1.
He said the chain's renewal application in February was rejected for not meeting Muis' Halal Certification Conditions.
"As of now, we have yet to receive any new halal applications from them," he added.
In a Facebook post last Wednesday (Aug 1), Fish & Co said it was still complying with Muis' halal standards.
It added that its halal certification consultant, HalalHub, is working on renewing the certification, which is valid for a year.
When contacted, HalalHub chief executive Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad told TNP that the renewal application was rejected due to "incomplete information".
He declined to say what information was missing but said HalalHub would submit a new application on behalf of Fish & Co once it has all the required documents.
The Muis spokesman also confirmed that Delifrance Singapore's 19 outlets are no longer halal-certified.
"Delifrance certificates had expired on June 30. To date, we have yet to receive any new halal applications from them," he added.
Delifrance Singapore is facing such a situation for the first time in 16 years of being halal-certified, said its general manager, Mr Alvin Goo.
He said the company is working to resolve some technical issues, which "are not related to food preparation, materials used or presentation".
"We are taking necessary actions and engaging in active discussions with the relevant authorities as well as working with an expert in the field to resolve them."
TNP understands that its renewal application was rejected this year because of regulations requiring all related companies with the same name to be verified as halal before they can be certified.
However, Delifrance Singapore is not able to compel the original France-based company, which sells frozen bakery products here as Delifrance Singapore Wholesale, to be halal-certified.
Mr Goo said: "The complexity of the technical issues will take time to be resolved.
"We assure our customers that we would never, in any circumstance, use or sell any non-halal products in our outlets."
Business experts said that being halal-certified has its pros and cons.
Mr Samuel Tan, course manager of the Diploma in Retail Management at Temasek Polytechnic, said halal businesses could attract more customers.
"But those seeking halal certification must be ready to overhaul their entire operations, including ingredients, food handling, facilities and staffing."
He said it is possible to have both halal and non-halal options. "One strategy is to re-brand the business with selected halal outlets under a new name. For example, Han's Cafe has rebranded to Hanis and likewise Aston's restaurants to Andes."