With the recent outbreak of Coronavirus COVID19, the demand for Halal meat has increased where the average customer for example would buy 1 kg each week is now asking for up to 10 times more in the same visit thus putting a strain on the market to fulfil the increased demand. The community as a whole has been panic buying which has resulted in price increases across the entire supply chain from farm to folk. We have also seen price increases across all other commodities with demand exceeding supply unfortunately.
Previous reports have suggested that the Muslim community makes up 3-5% of the population here in the UK yet consumes 20% of local fresh meat produce. The Muslim community therefore consumes up to 8 times more meat and poultry than its non-Muslim counterpart. As a result, the “Muslim pound” is of significant value to the meat market with larger brands now serving Halal options too.
Since the past two weeks alone, HMC has been inundated with several hundred queries regarding the availability of meat/poultry, as well as the price and that HMC must do something to enforce this (please see our press release on this matter by clicking here).
Firstly, it is important to understand why there is a shortage and ask ourselves the question “where was the meat and poultry coming from prior to the Covid19 outbreak.” Out of all calls that we received, the focus was solely on price rather than questioning the authenticity of the products being purchased. A chicken is a chicken but for a chicken to be Halal it must be processed to conditions that are prescribed in accordance to the Islamic faith.
If we breakdown the makeup of the poultry market, in the UK, we slaughter up to 104 million chickens per month of which 20% is “Halal.”
It is our understanding that we import up to 40% of what we produce in the UK each month (41.6 million chickens) of which 20% is “Halal” (8.3 million). When you look at the numbers being processed, to keep up with this huge demand it is quite alarming to say the least. As a responsible community we must look at the amount we consume especially at the crossroads that we are at. The pandemic that is looming over us all globally is a time to reflect and make positive changes in our lives. The food that we consume, allows us as humans to function and more importantly allows us to fulfil our Religious obligation. Surely this is a massive food for thought on this topic alone.
It is also our understanding that majority of the imported poultry entering the UK is from Holland, Poland and Spain and is either stunned, mechanically killed or even gas killed. No one is continuously monitoring the provenance of these “Halal products” and they are simply passed off as being Halal when they may not meet with the Halal standard at all.
HMC makes up a small percentage of the entire meat/poultry sector in the UK, yet HMC is questioned for a response on behalf of the entire Halal market. With majority of the supply chain remaining unregulated, it is difficult for HMC to give a clear holistic answer for those shops/manufacturers/brands that are not certified by HMC. It is for this very purpose why HMC was setup, to combat malpractices and give consumer confidence when buying Halal meat & poultry.
We urge members of the community to be extra cautions during these difficult times and to truly question the origination of the meat and poultry as it is your pound and your purchase.
We once again also ask the community to refrain from stock piling as if we continue in this manner, all commodities will soon be sold at a higher price. It is better for products to remain on the shop floor than in our homes catching dust.
We ask the Muslim community to stay safe during these testing times and to supplicate for the safety of all insha’Allah.
HMC – Helping Muslims Choose
HMC is the UK’s largest Halal certifying body, employing over 220 people. Last month alone, HMC staff spent 14,448 hours to ensure your food is genuinely Halal with 15,488 visits made to outlets nationwide. It is a registered charity and also a not for profit organisation. It is overseen by a voluntary body, the National Executive Committee that consists of mainly scholars who are the Trustees of the organisation. HMC has been set up to work in the favour of all Muslims and the consumer at large. HMC aims to regulate and at every point inspect Halal products from source to the consumer. HMC is committed to serving the Muslims and the wider community and it intends to provide peace of mind and security where required.