Halal Meat Monitoring Company Accused of Bullying in UK
A form of trademark that doesn’t see a lot of attention is the certification mark, where an organization allows its mark to be used on products that meet certain standards or guidelines. For example, fair trade marks will be familiar to many coffee drinkers. The Halal Monitoring Committee, which certifies abbatoirs and meat wholesalers who meet the stringent requirements for halal meat, has recently been accused of exercising bullying tactics in fulfilling that purpose.
Retailers have complained that the committee is heavy handed, alleging tactics such as reporting to the local mosques and intimidating the owners within their stores. Another retailer reported obstructive responses and demands for high-priced fines when the owner attempted to recertify his store after losing his certification. HMC maintains that the accusations are false, and that it does not prioritize money but rather providing “peace of mind” to Muslim consumers.
Obviously, if a certification organization pursues bullying tactics, it should be held liable for doing so. Stories like this provide a useful reminder to us as customers that the trademarks we see certifying a product’s quality are not provided by faceless entities nor government bodies, but by third party organizations that have their own priorities. Ultimately, the certification is a trademark and it should not be relied on without investigating the certifying organization in question.