Muslim community in Canada is concerned that the halal products available in the market may not be properly halal certified resulting in many to buying products that may be fake labelled without their knowledge.
Toronto – Canada’s Muslim community leaders hope to end fraud in Canada’s Halal food industry which has become an attractive target for fraud – due to its phenomenal growth in the past decade.
Omar Subedar, a Toronto-based imam who also serves as the secretary general and official spokesperson of the Halal Monitoring Authority says:
“Halal is really important to support a Muslim’s spirituality, the acceptance of our worship in the eyes of Allah is dependent on it, that we’re only consuming Halal.”
Subedar states that the ineffectiveness of slaughterhouses and meat producers to meet the growing demand for Halal meats, together with an absence opened the doorway for manipulation and fraud.
“As the Muslim community grows here in Canada, and particularly in the GTA, you’re going to see a lot of consumers now asking for Halal products,” affirms Subedar.
”There are people that do truly feel they could can use this to their advantage.”
Subedar says he was initially tipped-off to the frauds many years back by sources within the meet producing premises.
In the beginning he was not sure about the authenticity of the information, taking it to be merely an attempt to discredit the competitors whilst promoting themselves.
After some preliminary research, in 2004 Subedar and his fellow members prepared a task force that conducted a number of researches in around four month period.
“We discovered many a things that made us sleepless at night,” Subedar affirms.
In one such investigation, which involved a quail abattoir that produced Halal meat exclusively for a single customer.
They found out that this distributor was putting his own “Halal” labels on non-Halal meat before it left the slaughterhouse.
“He stuck it on and! And whilst we were doing our investigations in all of these food markets, which had grocery stores that stock halal, and the next thing you see, that stuff is there and other people are purchasing it.”
Subedar states that shocking exposes such as these from our investigation triggered the formation of the HMA, which upholds a comprehensive directory of Halal-accredited producers, restaurants and brands.
The next thing for Subedar and his other imams is to establish a national regulating organisation to manage and regulate the certification of Halal foods.