Food certification discussion

Sadly Vegemite is halal and so is Bega cheese. Won’t be getting a cent of my money anymore that’s for sure while this stamp is on its products.

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Should we also ban/boycott food endorsed by QEII (Royal Warrants), food which is Kosher, food suitable for vegetarians (inc. endorsed suitable for Hindus), organic foods, Heart Foundation endorsed foods, food labelled gluten free (namely suitable for those who chose not to eat Gluten and aren’t Coeliacs) etc because we don’t agree with its principals or ideals. Don’t think so.


In the context Bega cheese, vegemite etc. Halal just means that devout Islamic people are permitted to eat it. It is akin to saying something is gluten free, nut free, lactose free, organic, Kosher, etc. so people can decide whether or not to eat these products. Will you eschew all products with other certifications as well?

Just in case you weren’t aware of the extent of Halal certification, have a look If you put ‘dairy’ or ‘meat’ or any other category of food you consume into the search box, you will most likely get an extensive list of brands that are Halal certified. (It might be easier for you to look at the lower part of the lists where the brands not certified are listed, as it is far, far shorter.) It would seem that if you don’t want to spend money on any Halal certified food, the easiest option for you is to become largely self-sufficient food wise.


So what does Vegemite or any other product have to Halal certified.
I was bought up on Vegemite but refuse to eat anything with that label on it.
As I am against terrorism, these products that has this certification support terrorists.

Hi All,

Thanks for your interest in this thread. One member of our Community has started an interesting point of discussion, which is food certification. In particular, some have expressed their concern about the cost in particular of Halal Certification and do not wish their money to contribute to a religious group.

As other Community members have pointed out, Halal Certification is one of many certification bodies that range in purpose from religious to dietary, and these typically come at a cost to the business. Read our article on credence claims for more information . Halal Certification has been around for about 50 years and the Department of Agriculture manages approval.

Businesses choose to become certified as it improves consumer confidence in a product and can increase sales. Since we’re talking about Vegemite, around one out of every 30 jars of Vegemite sold is exported, according to an article in the Brisbane Times. Around 22 million jars of Vegemite are sold every year, and the estimated 0.01 cent added per jar of Vegemite is greatly offset by economies of scale provided by better access to other markets. In short, Vegemite would likely cost more for everyone if the company were to decide to stop competing in these markets.

More broadly, most commentators (including from across the political spectrum) agree that failing to compete in foreign markets would also be detrimental to Australian employment, especially farmers who are often the most dependent on foreign markets.

However, for some, it’s not about the size of the contribution, but that there is a contribution at all. Unfortunately for those with that viewpoint, if you drive a car that uses oil, or use products delivered by machines that use oil (planes, ships), or oil-derived products like plastic, then this contributes far more financially (PDF) to countries with religious practices that some do not wish to support then Halal certification schemes, even using the highest estimates (by multiplying the total number of food companies with the average cost of certification, I arrived at 14.3 million).

That comment is not intended to diminish consumer choice though. A recent senate enquiry has made recommendations to improve food certification practices for those consumers that want better control of this aspect. Perhaps there will be one ‘super logo’ in the form of a QR code that lists all considerations for all consumers?

I’d also like to remind users of our Community standards. This is a place for civilised debate and meaningful conversations. If you have a topic you’d like to debate, please provide evidence to support your arguments. Any personal attacks, derogatory statements or aggressive behaviour is unwelcome and repeat offenders will be removed from the forum.

In addition, this is a consumer forum for discussing consumer issues. While we allow some comment in other interest areas where they intersect with consumer issues, if you’d like to debate politics or religion it would be better if you found another forum or social media site to discuss these issues there. Any further comments intended solely to debate these unrelated issues will be removed for being off-topic. Finally, for any further comments related to Halal certification and terrorism, please contact the Australian Federal Police with your evidence and report a crime. I’m sure we can agree that terrorism is a serious claim, and making these claims without evidence makes it much harder for the people fighting terrorism to identify real threats.



Why are any products ‘certified’? It is to broaden the market that they can sell to (see my post above.) It doesn’t mean the product is in anyway different.

As I pointed out, so many of our foods are Halal certified you would need to practically live off fresh fruit and vegetables to avoid Halal certification.

That said, I really don’t think that Bega Cheeses are that concerned about a few people not buying Vegemite because they are offended by Halal certification.


The big big difference is the mug consumer doesn’t involuntarily pay for the other warrants.
Of course you are free to observe muslim ideals. Enjoy this freedom whilst you can.

This is a slightly different angle to certification by religious groups, but the broader statement was made about contributing to or supporting religious groups, essentially by product choice in the market generally …

I wonder how many people buy Sanitarium products?

“All of Sanitarium’s profits are transferred to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia which in turn operates charitable activities which include educational and health services and community programs to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

I would be very surprised if there weren’t a plethora of other examples - businesses owned by religious organisations and more subtly businesses owned by individuals who contribute heavily to religious organisations.

My point here is that its not necessarily a bad thing if your purchasing decisions contribute to or support a religious group (unless that is a specific personal view). Indeed I wouldn’t have the foggiest who I am supporting with most of my product purchases, I don’t do an in-depth analysis of their religious status, ethics, green-ness, other investments etc.

For me though, “certification” is a whole different kettle of fish …


Is Gloria Jeans still owned by Hillsong?

All products that direct profits to religious organisations should say so clearly in their products so that consumers can make an informed choice.


I don’t believe Gloria Jeans was ever owned by Hillsong the organisation. The story that it was has been around for a long time and my understanding is it has been debunked each time it has come up. It was however owned by two people prominent in the Hillsong congregation, Nabi Saleh and Peter Irvine - and I’d imagine lots of business owners go to church - how much of their personal profits they donate is arguably their business, and whether we choose to drink Gloria Jeans is our choice. Personally, I prefer to drink coffee :wink: In 2014, Saleh and Irvine sold Gloria Jeans to Retail Food Group, who own a myriad of brands like Donut King and Brumbies et al. Until recently, Retail Food Group (ASX listed) was run by Tony Alford (also the biggest single shareholder), who prior to that was Michael Hutchence of INXS accountant. Hutchence was technically broke when he died but there are those (including apparently a Queensland Supreme Court Judge) who have suggested Alford knows what really happened to the fortune Hutchence left spread around the world in various tax havens.

To single out religious organisations for full disclosure seems like a slippery slope to me. What about other organisations - political, environmental, aid, etc. Then there’s crossover - some religious organisations might claim to be aid organisations, and of the seemingly altruistic class of organisations, who’s to say they are what they say they are. I’d rather my money go to a religious organisation than a front company laundering money for organised crime for example … but I bet I’ve done both without knowing …


@draughtrider (& @Fred) , you do raise an interesting point. Many of the organisations behind the major faiths in the world own or have shares in companies whereby the company profits are used to support and fund the services (inc. charities) they provide. This is often one of the arguments in relation to whether such organisations should have tax concessions…with the alternative argument being it maximises the amount of money available to the social support services they provide.

While this is different to certification, these funds go directly to organisations one may not agree with the ideologies or principles. For example, an atheist may not agree with indirectly funding a religious organisation or one owns faith supporting another faith which may have been source of historical conflicts.

Certification funds usually go to the (government) institution or organisation providing the certification rather than directly to a religious organisation.


Thanks for that, Draughtrider. Wikipedia confirms no direct ownership, though it does say:

I bet I have too, which is one very good reason for disclosure.

Of course it’s not uncommon - many products advertise that their profits go to a particular charity, for instance. Ostensibly they consider that disclosure will increase sales, and they may be right.

Knowing where a product’s profits go would certainly influence my purchases - in the positive or the negative, depending on the organisation. But I do believe that we have a right to know.


I have raised this issue before. Coles and Woolies have specific areas for Chinese, Indian, British and South African food products. Why can’t supermarkets do the same for Halal goods? I don’t like paying a premium for these items as I am not of the faith and I wasn’t consulted by the manufacturer (or given the option) of declining. Cadbury’s chocolates is an example. The Halal certification is in the fine print. I don’t buy their goods but I am conscious that I may be supporting others by not reading the fine print. Can we discuss please?

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Hi @john.blakey, I’ve moved your post here to add it to the existing discussion. Feel free to continue to add to this thread :+1:

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@john.blakey, My guess would be they are not interested because halal is neither a type of cuisine nor a national origin, and so many products are halal (and/or kosher) certified these days. What you are asking is essentially for Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, etc, etc, etc, sections as halal and kosher are religious things having nothing to do with anything but religion. Would the same products have to be replicated in multiple sections if different religions could eat them, each with their unique labels?

Being more practical, since vegemite is halal would you be happy to go to the halal section for it and the myriad other products that will end up there, not where most people would expect them, eg next to like products such as spreads, cereals, etc?


Hi John,

One won’t be paying a premium of foods which are halal certified. Have a look at the impact on the price of Vegemite in my 26 Jan 2017 post as this gives a true idea of the cost for certification.

It is also worth noting that halal only really relates to meat products. Technically most food items in a supermarket is halal as they don’t contain meat products.

One could possibly say that maybe the supermarkets should have a non-halal section as this would be substantially smaller than a halal section.

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For a food to be deemed ‘Halal’, it has to be certified by a recognized Islamic body or council. They charge for this and the funds generated go towards propagation of the faith. It is big business and increases the price we pay in the supermarkets. As only about 2% of Australia’s population are of the Islamic faith, I fail to see why my purchases should be taxed in effect to support a religion or any religion for that matter.

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If that is your real cause will you always include kosher in your campaign? Our population is roughly 0.05% Jewish and many Jews do not keep kosher but nevertheless there are similar charges for kosher certification.

FWIW the preponderance of information suggests certification is in the order of $1,500 p.a. (eg a minuscule amount of turnover) for either halal or kosher. A big “tax”? Those with problems with any of it are encouraged to “shop elsewhere for preferred products” as it is their right to vote with their dollars.

One might wonder if you are as concerned about the tax free status of religion whereby every one of us is subsidising the lot of them by paying more ourselves, for their benefit.

I’ll now take leave from this thread.


Not necessarily. All fruit and vegetables are halal (provided they are not contaminated with ‘haram’) and don’t need to be certified and can be sold as halal.

Many businesses certify products which are halal for marketing purposes, to remove and confusion that the foods can be consumed by our Muslim friends. It open up new markets, results in more of their products being sold which ultimately reduces prices for all (prices are reduced as fixed costs are spread over a larger number of products).

It is worth reading the summary of the recent parliamentary inquiry in relarion to halal certification in Australia as it provides good information on what certification means. The summary can be found here.

It ia also not a tax and is no different to food manufacturers using and paying licence fees or certification fees for Australian made green and gold logos, organic certification, heart foundation ticks, cancer council logos, environment group endorsements (eg, Planet Ark) etc. All the above, like halal certification are used for marketing purposes and allowing foods to be bought/exported to particular markets.