Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new framework to optimise the design of halal food supply chains, called the “Halal Supply Chain Model”. In this research the main logistics business processes are defined, which are the determinants for the halal supply chain performance. Design/methodology/approach – Next to an extensive literature review, a large discussion group and various focus group sessions conducted in Malaysia, The Netherlands and China have been used to identify halal control activities and assurance activities in logistics business processes, with a focus on transportation, warehousing and terminal operations. Findings – The findings show that product characteristics (bulk versus unitised, ambient versus cool chain) and market requirements (Muslim or non-Muslim country) determine the supply chain vulnerability to halal contamination, for which halal control activities and assurance activities are put in place to reduce supply chain vulnerability. More empirical research is needed to further refine the Halal Supply Chain Model for different product–market combinations. Second, qualitative research is recommended for halal cosmetics and pharmaceutical supply chains. Practical implications – This study shows that halal supply chain management is different from conventional supply chain management, which requires a halal policy and specific design parameters for supply chain objectives, logistics control, supply chain network structure, supply chain business processes, supply chain resources and supply chain performance metrics. Originality/value – The Halal Supply Chain Model can be an important instrument to design and manage halal food supply chains in extending halal integrity from source to point of consumer purchase. As there is an evident lack of academic research in the field of halal supply chain management, it provides an important reference for halal logistics and supply chain management. The large discussion group and focus group sessions resulted in the publication of the International Halal Logistics Standard (IHIAS 0100:2010) by IHI Alliance in 2010.