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UK: Halal Meat Consumers Unclear on Stunning, claims food boss

By Nicholas Robinson Meat Info


Halal meat consumers do not necessarily understand the difference between stunned and non-stunned meat, according to a food purchasing company boss.

Speaking at a recent Halal Forum, hosted by Eblex on 24 October, Pelican managing director Shabaz Mohammed said he had been asking consumers about stunned and non-stunned meat “and most of them have not understood what it means,” he told the Forum.

“I asked a lot of Muslims the question and they had not a clue, I don’t think they are sure, unless you change their opinion,” he said. Following this, Mohammed noted how a recent education roll-out from the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) had changed the perceptions of some Muslim consumers.

His claims followed recent research from the Oxford Partnership, which surveyed 500 UK Muslim’s about their perceptions of halal meat.

According to the survey, the three most trusted sources of information about food were family (58%), friends (50%) and religious organisations (50%). Meanwhile, advice from religious leaders was a trusted source for only 30% of those surveyed, while just 23% said they trusted health professionals.

Mohammed also claimed that it was now more important to educate consumers on halal meat because “there’s chicken coming in from [places like] Taiwan, which is called ‘halal blessed’. That means it has had a tape recording played with the prayer [which must be said at the time of slaughter] on it.”

This, he urged, was a reason for all those at the conference to work to “keep the market in this country”. He furthered that a halal assurance standard that caters for stunned and non-stunned meat, such as the one Eblex proposed on that day, was an opportunity for the sector.

He explained that it was time to look at the issue of stunning more closely and said: “In the Middle East they stun the sheep and see it recover [to be sure it is still alive]. As far as their testing shows, they test the [stunning] machines on live sheep to prove that it is working.”

The managing director also gave a nod to how halal meat production was done in New Zealand and Australia. “Halal meat is being exported to the Middle East from these countries,” he noted. “And that is my problem, because in this country you cannot test [to see if the animal is still alive after stunning] like that.”

Following this, he urged Eblex to go away and work on getting a method like that approved in this country.

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