OLYMPIA —Senate legislation to protect consumers from the knowing sale of foods falsely advertised as halal passed through the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Recourses today.

Having already passed out of the Senate, SB 5799 now awaits a vote on the House floor in order to be sent to the governor to be signed into law.

“Increased awareness of culturally acceptable foods improves our ability to meet the needs of our diverse communities,” said Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), the bill’s sponsor. “I have had members of my community who are practicing Muslims tell me about the need to ensure halal food is labeled truthfully.”

Known as the Halal Food Consumer Protection Act, SB 5799 will extend standard consumer protections for other foods to include halal food products. Now, anyone who willfully sells food as halal, when it is not, will be subject to penalties under the Consumer Protections Act.

“We made sure that the bill did not discourage stores from carrying halal food,” Wilson said. “We want to make these foods readily accessible.”

The cost of halal food is generally greater than for comparable food products. This increases the incentive for a seller to knowingly misrepresent foods as halal, Wilson said.