link to http://www.state.nj.us/search.html

NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 35, NUMBER 16
MONDAY, AUGUST 18, 2003
RULE PROPOSAL

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
HALAL FOOD

Proposed New Rules: N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22

Authorized By: Reni Erdos, Director, Division of Consumer Affairs.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2003-343.

Take notice that, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:14B-4(a)3, the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety will hold a public hearing on the notice of proposal that follows. The hearing shall be held by the Division as set forth below:

Date: Thursday, September 18, 2003
Time: 10:00 A.M.
Location: Auditorium
Seton Hall Law School
1 Newark Center
Newark, New Jersey

The public hearing shall be conducted by a hearing officer. A verbatimtranscript of the hearing will be prepared by a certified stenographic reporter. Interested parties may obtain a copy of the transcript by ordering it directly from the reporter at the hearing or thereafter. Requests to speak should be submitted in writing to Eugene L. Brenycz, Hearing Officer, State of New Jersey, Division of Consumer Affairs, Office of the Director, PO Box 45027, Newark, New Jersey 07101, no later than one week prior to the public hearing. Specific presentation times will be assigned. Individual presentations will be limited to five minutes. Those who do not preregister to speak will be given an opportunity to speak only if time permits. Individual speakers are requested to provide one copy of their prepared remarks to the hearing officer on the day of the public hearing.

Submit written comments by October 17, 2003 to:

Eugene L. Brenycz, Hearing Officer

State of New Jersey

Division of Consumer Affairs

Office of Director

PO Box 45027

Newark, New Jersey 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The Division of Consumer Affairs (Division) proposes new rules at N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22 to assist consumers in determining whether food represented to be halal are prepared and/or maintained consistent with expectations and understanding of the laws and customs of the Islamic religion.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.1 sets the purpose and scope of the rules in the subchapter in order to implement the provisions of P.L. 2000, c.60 (N.J.S.A. 56:8-98 et seq.), the "Halal Food Consumer Protection Act."

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.2 defines a number of key words and phrases as they are used in the subchapter including, but not limited to, "advertises, represents or holds itself out," "dealer," "food," "properly sealed packages" and "sell." The Division defines "dealer" to include any establishment that advertises, represents or holds itself out as selling, preparing or maintaining food as halal and "food" as food, food product, food ingredient, dietary supplement or beverage.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.3 requires dealers who sell food as halal at retail to post, in a location on the premises readily visible to customers, a halal disclosure statement on a form provided by the Division. Dealers who sell food as halal at wholesale are required to have the disclosure available upon request. The proposed new rule requires dealers of halal food to request a halal disclosure from the Division. The dealer is required to complete and return the halal disclosure form to the Division within 14 calendar days of receipt. The proposed new rule would require a dealer's sales practices to conform to the disclosures contained in the posted disclosure and the disclosure filed with the Division. In the event there are any changes in the practices posted on the halal disclosure, the dealer is to immediately amend the halal disclosure to reflect the change in the posted practices and inform the Director in writing of the change in the stated information. A person is permitted to sell food not represented as halal as well as halal food as long as the food is properly identified. The rule provides for an exemption to this section for a person whose sole representation of halal food is limited to the contents of food which is in properly sealed packages prepared by others who labeled the package halal. In addition to the posted disclosure statement required by this section, nursing homes, summer camps, caterers or other places which provide food pursuant to a contract shall furnish a copy of the halal disclosure prior to the signing of the contract.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.4 allows for oral disclosure of standards for food offered as a halal either prior to the food being served or at the time the food is served in establishments that do not make representations that food is halal until after the consumer has requested halal food.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.5 provides that any person subject to the disclosure provisions shall not be deemed to have committed an unlawful practice if it can be shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the person relied upon the representations of a slaughterhouse, manufacturer, processor, packer or distributor that the food is halal.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.6 outlines the recordkeeping requirements of dealers of halal food. Dealers must keep records of all foods purchased as halal on its premises for a two-year period following the date of purchase. These records shall include the name and address of the slaughterhouse, wholesaler or other source from which the food was purchased, dates of purchase, quantities purchased, identity or nature of food, and copies of all invoices and bills of sale. In addition, dealers who are slaughterhouses are required to maintain a record of the source of the animals they slaughter, the name(s) of the person who slaughters the animals, the name(s) of a responsible supervisor, if any, and the method of slaughter.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.7 provides that possession by a dealer of any food not in conformance with the disclosure statement is presumptive evidence that the dealer possesses that food with the intent to sell it in nonconformance with the disclosure.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.8 provides authorized inspectors of the Division, when conducting an investigation, right of entry upon and through the business premises of any person(s) which represents food as halal.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.9 requires all dealers who slaughter animals as halal to stamp or tag the animals with an indication that the animal is halal. The rule further requires cows, steers, calves and bulls to be tagged or stamped on each quarter section of the animal.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.10 stipulates that failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of this subchapter, failure to conform sales practices with the posted disclosures, failure to conform posted disclosures with the disclosure filed with the Division, failure to request a halal disclosure from the Division, failure to return the completed disclosure statement within 14 days, failure to comply with the recordkeeping requirements of this subchapter, failure of a dealer to permit an inspector entry upon the business premises or interfering with an inspection, failure to respond in a timely fashion to an inquiry conducted by the Division, failure to attend any scheduled proceeding of the Division, failure to answer any question pertinent to an inquiry, failure to make a proper and timely response to any subpoena, and/or the use of a recognized halal food symbol without first obtaining written authorization by the person or agency representing that symbol, constitutes an unlawful practice by a dealer under the Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.

As the Division has provided a 60-day comment period on this notice of proposal, this notice is exempted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.

Social Impact

Proposed new rules N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22 advance the welfare of New Jersey consumers by establishing clear standards regarding food labeled halal. This will assist and protect consumers when making choices about purchasing halal food as well as protecting the integrity of the labeling process. The proposed new rules require dealers who sell food represented as halal at retail to post in a location readily visible to consumers a disclosure on a form provided by the Division. The proposed new rules also provide that a violation of the rules constitutes an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.

Economic Impact

Proposed new rules N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22 will have a positive economic impact upon New Jersey consumers who purchase halal food. The proposed new rules will reduce the likelihood of consumer confusion or fraud associated with mislabeled food and ensure that consumers can make an informed decision when purchasing food labeled as halal. The proposed new rules will have a minimal financial impact on dealers of food labeled as halal as they will have to maintain records for halal food purchased for a period of two years. In addition, dealers who are found to have violated the proposed new rules will be liable for financial or other penalties.

Butchers or slaughterhouses may incur costs in order to comply with the marking requirements for meat and poultry sold as halal.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required as the proposed new rules have no applicable Federal standards. The proposed new rules derive their authority in the Division's power to make rules effectuating the purposes of the Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq., pursuant to N.J.S.A. 56:8-103.

Jobs Impact

The Division does not believe that the proposed new rules will either increase or decrease the number of jobs in New Jersey.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The Division does not expect the proposed new rules to have any impact on the agriculture industry in the State, as the rules predominately address slaughterhouses and the dealers of food labeled as halal, and thus do not impact on farmers.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., requires the Division to estimate the number of small businesses to which the proposed new rules will apply. If, for purposes of the Act, dealers of halal food are "small businesses" within the meaning of the statute, the following analysis applies.

The Act requires the Division to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed new rules, including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with its requirements. The Act further requires the Division to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs of the proposed new rules and set forth whether the rules establish differing compliance requirements for small businesses.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.3 requires retail dealers who sell food as halal to post in a location on the premises readily visible to a customer a halal disclosure on a form provided by the Division. Wholesale dealers who sell food as halal are required to have the halal disclosure available upon request. The proposed new rule requires dealers of halal food to request a halal disclosure from the Division and to complete and return the halal disclosure to the Division within 14 calendar days of receipt.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.6 imposes recordkeeping requirements on dealers of food sold as halal. To comply with the proposed new rules, dealers must keep complete and accurate records of all foods purchased as halal on their premises for a two-year period following the date of purchase. Dealers who are slaughterhouses are required to maintain a record of the source of the animals they slaughter, the name of the person who slaughters the animal, the name, if any, of the responsible supervisor, and the method of slaughter.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.9 requires dealers who slaughter animals to stamp or tag the animal with an indication that the meat or poultry is halal.

The Division believes that the compliance costs of record maintenance for dealers who sell halal food are minimal and that no professional services would be required to comply with the rules. The benefit gained to consumers in aiding enforcement by requiring dealers who slaughter animals as halal to mark the animal as halal outweighs any costs incurred by the dealer.

In order to ensure that the protections to be afforded by the proposed new rules will benefit all consumers, no differing compliance requirements have been established for small businesses and the rules will be applied uniformly to all dealers of halal food.

Smart Growth Impact

The proposed new rules will not have any impact upon the achievement of smart growth or upon the implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

Full text of the proposal follows:

SUBCHAPTER 22. <<-(RESERVED)->> <<+HALAL FOOD+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.1 >>

<<+13:45A-22.1 Purpose and scope+>>

<<+(a) The rules in this subchapter implement the provisions of P.L. 2000, c.60 (N.J.S.A. 56:8-98 et seq.), which created the "Halal Food Consumer Protection Act" under the Division of Consumer Affairs.+>>

<<+(b) This subchapter shall apply to all dealers, as defined in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.2, who prepare, distribute, sell or expose for sale any food represented to be halal.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.2 >>

<<+13:45A-22.2 Definitions+>>

<<+The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:+>>

<<+"Advertises, represents or holds itself out" means engaging, directly or indirectly, in promotional activities including, but not limited to, oral representations, newspaper, radio and television advertising, Internet and electronic media, telephone book listings, distribution of fliers and menus and any in-store signs or announcements.+>>

<<+"Dealer" means any establishment that advertises, represents or holds itself out as selling, preparing or maintaining food as halal, including, but not limited to, persons, manufacturers, slaughterhouses, processors, wholesalers, stores, restaurants, hotels, caterers, catering facilities, butcher shops, summer camps, bakeries, delicatessens, supermarkets, grocery stores, nursing homes, freezer dealers and food plan companies. Such establishments may also deal in food not represented as halal.+>>

<<+"Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety or the Director's designee.+>>

<<+"Disclosure" means the form(s) provided by the Division and executed by a dealer for the purpose of disclosing to consumers and to the Division practices relating to the slaughter of animals, preparation, handling and sale of food represented to be halal.+>>

<<+"Division" means the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.+>>

<<+"Food" means a food, food product, food ingredient, dietary supplement or beverage.+>>

<<+"Meat" means animal and/or poultry meat, meat products or meat byproducts.+>>

<<+"Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, trust, estate, partnership, association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest or any other legal or commercial entity. When used in this subchapter, "person" shall include, but not be limited to, all retail establishments, all dealers as defined above, and all others along the chain of commerce from the time a food is produced or, in the case of meat or poultry, from the time of slaughter to the time of its sale.+>>

<<+"Properly sealed packages" means those packages which bear a halal symbol sealed by the manufacturer, processor or wholesaler at its premises.+>>

<<+"Sell" means to offer for sale, expose for sale, serve or sell, directly or indirectly.+>>

<<+"Wholesaler" means any person selling food to another person where that food is intended for resale.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.3 >>

<<+13:45A-22.3 Disclosure statement; posting of disclosure+>>

<<+(a) A dealer selling food at retail represented as halal shall post, in a location on the premises readily visible to the consumer, a completed halal disclosure statement provided by the Division. A dealer selling food represented as halal at wholesale shall make the disclosure available upon request.+>>

<<+(b) A dealer shall request a halal disclosure form from the Division.+>>

<<+(c) The dealer shall complete and return to the Division within 14 calendar days of receipt the halal disclosure form provided by the Division. A dealer who completes the halal disclosure shall conform its sales practices to those set forth on the disclosure statement by the dealer.+>>

<<+(d) In the event of any change in the practices posted on the halal disclosure, a dealer shall immediately amend the halal disclosure to reflect the change in the posted practices and shall inform the Director in writing and, if applicable, any party to a contract, within 14 calendar days of any change in the stated information.+>>

<<+(e) A person may sell both food represented as halal and food not represented as halal as long as the food is properly identified.+>>

<<+(f) A person whose sole representation of halal food is limited to the contents of food which is in properly sealed packages prepared by others who labeled the package halal shall be exempt from the requirements of this section.+>>

<<+(g) In addition to the posted disclosure statement required by this section, nursing homes, summer camps, caterers or other places which provide food pursuant to a contract shall furnish to the consumer or his or her legal representative a copy of the halal disclosure prior to the signing of the contract.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.4 >>

<<+13:45A-22.4 Oral disclosure+>>

<<+In establishments such as hospitals or other places where representations that food is halal are not made until after the consumer has made a request for halal food, the disclosure may be orally provided to the consumer either prior to serving the food or together with the food when served.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.5 >>

<<+13:45A-22.5 Reliance on representation; good faith; defense+>>

<<+(a) A person subject to the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.3 and 22.4 shall not have committed an unlawful practice if it can be shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the person relied in good faith upon the representations that the food is halal made by the following:+>>

<<+1. A slaughterhouse;+>>

<<+2. A manufacturer;+>>

<<+3. A processor;+>>

<<+4. A packer; or+>>

<<+5. A distributor.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.6 >>

<<+13:45A-22.6 Recordkeeping requirements+>>

<<+(a) Dealers shall keep complete and accurate records of all food purchased as halal including:+>>

<<+1. The name and address of the slaughterhouse, wholesaler or other source from which the food is purchased;+>>

<<+2. The dates of purchase;+>>

<<+3. The quantities of food purchased;+>>

<<+4. The identity or nature of food; and+>>

<<+5. Copies of all invoices and bills of sale.+>>

<<+(b) In addition to the requirements of (a) above, dealers who are slaughterhouses shall maintain a record of:+>>

<<+1. The source of the animals;+>>

<<+2. The name(s) of the person who slaughters the animals;+>>

<<+3. The name(s) of the responsible supervisor, if any; and+>>

<<+4. The method of slaughter.+>>

<<+(c) A dealer shall retain such records on its premises for a two-year period following the date of purchase.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.7 >>

<<+13:45A-22.7 Presumptions+>>

<<+Possession by a dealer of any food which does not conform with the disclosure statement required by N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.3 is presumptive evidence that the dealer possesses that food with the intent to sell it in nonconformance with the disclosure.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.8 >>

<<+13:45A-22.8 Inspection of dealers+>>

<<+(a) Inspections of dealers and dealers' premises shall be conducted by authorized inspectors of the Division.+>>

<<+(b) For purposes of conducting an inspection, an inspector shall have the right of entry to, upon and through the business premises of any dealer which represents food as halal.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.9 >>

<<+13:45A-22.9 Marking of meat and poultry+>>

<<+(a) All dealers who slaughter animals as halal, except as provided in (b) below, shall identify the animal by stamping or affixing not less than one tag to the animal to identify the animal as halal.+>>

<<+(b) All dealers who slaughter cows, steers, calves and bulls as halal shall either stamp or affix tags to each quarter section of the animal identifying the animal as halal.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:45A-22.10 >>

<<+13:45A-22.10 Unlawful practices+>>

<<+(a) In addition to any violation of any other statutes or regulations, the following shall constitute an unlawful practice by a dealer under the Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.:+>>

<<+1. Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.3;+>>

<<+2. Failure to request a halal disclosure statement form from the Division;+>>

<<+3. Failure to return the completed disclosure statement within 14 calendar days of receipt;+>>

<<+4. Failure to conform sales practices with the posted disclosures;+>>

<<+5. Failure to conform posted disclosures with the disclosure filed with the Division;+>>

<<+6. Failure to comply with the recordkeeping requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:45A-22.6;+>>

<<+7. Use by any person of a recognized halal food symbol without first obtaining written authorization by the person or agency representing that symbol;+>>

<<+8. Failure to permit an inspector entry upon the business premises of a dealer or to interfere in any way with an inspection;+>>

<<+9. Failure to respond in a timely fashion to an inquiry conducted by the Division;+>>

<<+10. Failure to attend any scheduled proceeding as directed by the Division. In the event that a person elects to retain counsel for the purpose of representation in any such proceeding, it shall be the person's responsibility to do so in a timely fashion. The failure of a person to retain counsel, absent a showing of good cause for such failure, shall not require an adjournment of the proceeding;+>>

<<+11. Failure to answer any question pertinent to an inquiry made pursuant to N.J.S.A. 56:8-3, or other applicable law, unless the response is subject to a bona fide claim of privilege; or+>>

<<+12. Failure to make a proper and timely response by way of appearance and/or production of documents to any subpoena issued pursuant to N.J.S.A. 56:8-3 or as otherwise may be provided by law.+>>



Rule Proposals | Consumer Affairs Home Page | NJ Dept. of Law and Public Safety Home Page | State of NJ Home Page | Feedback Survey
If you have any comments or questions, our e-mail address is: askconsumeraffairs@lps.state.nj.us
Posted August 2003