Need for Monitoring

For many years, UK Muslims have been expressing deep concerns as to the authenticity of Halal meat and associated products. Not all meat and poultry products which are labelled Halal are genuinely Halal.

The Halal meat industry is based on trust, but unfortunately, there have been many incidents over the past years where Halal meat and poultry has been falsely labelled. Halal and its associated Arabic symbol has become an abused word, a word and sign that is not protected by UK Law.

The word Halal has been misused by Muslims and non-Muslims, with the word Halal being displayed everywhere without regulation. Muslim consumers are led to believe that the products they are often eating are Halal, when unfortunately in many cases these products are not. According to research, statistics show that over 90% of Halal labelled meat and poultry in the UK is in doubt. The word Halal displayed at butchers, food outlets and takeaways is therefore not sufficient anymore. Another reason for HMC adopting the stringent guidelines is that the Jurists have derived a principal from the shari`ah that الاصل فى الاشياء الاباحة وفى اللحوم الحرمة everything is permissible and Halal except those items which are clearly proven to be prohibited and Haram. That is apart from meat, where all meat of animals is HARAAM unless clearly proven to be Halal.

Some Problems within the Halal Industry:

There are many causes which have contributed to Halal products being falsely labelled. Some of these include:

  • Slaughtermen at abattoirs not reciting the Tasmiyah (a mandatory condition for Halal) or using of taped recitation of the Tasmiyah
  • Controversial use of mechanical slaughter and rotating blades (often severing necks and missing frontal cuts)
  • Stunning of animals that bring into question whether the animal was alive at the point of slaughter
  • Mixing of meats including use of pork in Halal products or cross-contamination with non-Halal meats
  • Incorrect incisions and insufficient vessels being meet Halal criteria.

Many butchers and restaurants who receive deliveries of meat are unaware of the full supply chain of where their meat has come from. They too rely on the word “Halal” and Trust they give to the people in the supply chain when we know there is no legal protection in UK Law and problems are rife.

Some recent press examples of issues in the Halal Industry

  • Study Reveals Shocking Kebabs (BBC News, Jan 2009). Shocking news of Halal Donner Kebab containing pork in the UK.
  • ‘The Chicken Run’ (BBC News, May 2003). Panorama revealed that chicken products being processed were injected with enzymes from beef and pork and shipped to Muslims in the UK for consumption.
  • ‘Unfit’ meat seized by Police (Yorkshire Evening Post, March 2008). Unfit meat being sold as Halal.

In order to overcome meat and poultry passing through the food chain, the HMC Halal Standard and Systems was a much needed. A system that can bring traceability to the supply chain and once again provide authenticity in the supply of genuine Halal.