Following a conference attended by 40 of the country’s top Islamic scholars in June 2012 machine slaughter of poultry for Halal consumption was unanimously rejected. This did not include the Halal Food Authority, one of the largest certifiers in the UK, who certify some of the top multinational food companies.
However, as a result of various consultations and a procedural review by the Board of HFA Scholars and Trustees and other organizations, Halal Food Authority (HFA) has now decided to amend its certification policy and consequently, mechanical slaughtering of poultry will no longer be covered by the HFA Halal Standard commencing 3rd March 2014.
As a result of this, the Halal Authority Board (HAB) will host a conference to finally resolve the issue of mechanical slaughter of poultry on the 22nd February 2014. Halal certification bodies (such as HMC, HFA, Mosque Groups, Shariah Groups, and Muslim scholars) will meet to agree and declare a statement stating:
Machine slaughter of poultry is Haram (forbidden) and is not permissible for the Muslim community in the UK.
Only hand slaughter of poultry by Muslim slaughtermen is acceptable and will be considered as Halal.
This agreed statement will represent a significant step forward in the cooperation and agreement amongst UK Halal certification bodies and establishes a consensus to declare that all poultry that is machine slaughtered is not Halal for Muslims.
Naved Syed, Halal Adviser to the Yorkshire Association of Asian Businesses, said, “This declaration by the Muslim community will remove over 1.8 million fresh Halal poultry slaughtered weekly by machine slaughter from the Halal market. This is in line with FSA’s own guidance note on Halal slaughter which was issued back in 2003, and reissued again in 2010.
“Their will be no ambiguous situation regarding machine slaughter as HFA, the last UK certifier to ban this practice, has issued a directive to all their certified Halal slaughterhouses that as from 3 March 2014 they will not approve machine slaughter as Halal.”
Syed also said, “I expect some companies will try and get round this by getting overseas Halal certifiers to approve machine slaughter. Unfortunately this will not work as overseas Halal certifier’s have no bearing on the UK industry, and furthermore I expect FSA and Trading Standard to clamp down on this illegal act once this declaration has been duly signed.”