"Indonesia is a country with the worlds biggest Muslim population and so all food and drinks products it produces must be assured that they are halal (allowed by Islamic law)," the chairman of the Association of Nahdlatul Ulama Scholars (ISNU), Choiruk Sholeh Rasyid, said to newsmen here on Sunday.
He made the statement in response to a government officials recent statement that food and drinks products would become the driver of non-oil and gas industrial growth in 2016.
Industry minister Saleh Husin said last month the food and drinks products are projected to grow 7.4 to 7.8 percent.
Choirul said the halal status is very important to be assured for both domestic as well as import markets.
"The halal status is important because Indonesia is known as a country with the worlds biggest Moslem population while many other countries have also emphasized the importance of the status," he said.
He said the halal status of products produced in the country would become a differentiating factor in the worlds competition especially following the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community starting early this year.
He said food and drinks products which are sold in Indonesia and exported must be certified as halal products.
In connection with that he urged the ministry of industry to distribute a circular to food and drinks producers in the country to assure that their products are all halal.
"The public must be made aware that all food and drinks products that are not labelled as halal are not allowed to be consumed especially by Muslims," he said.
Choirul is one of the formulator of the Law on Halal Products Assurance passed by the House of Representatives and the government in 2014.
(Reporting by Aat Surya Safaat/Uu.H-YH/A014)