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UK: New Halal Assurance Standard Consultation Launched

By Nicholas Robinson Meat Info


Halal meat operators could be given the choice to produce stunned or non-stunned meat under a new halal assurance standard for lamb.

Yesterday (24 October) Eblex launched a draft proposal at its first Halal Forum in order to gauge what halal operators would seek from a halal assurance standard, which can be adopted by the entire sector.

Similar to the organisation’s Quality Standard Mark (QSM), the halal assurance scheme would require participants to meet various on-farm and abattoir welfare standards, before being approved.

Marketing manager for Eblex quality schemes Laura Bishop told MeatInfo.co.uk that an assurance mark had been discussed since before the organisation disbanded its Halal Steering Group earlier in the year, in favour of the Forum.

Bishop explained that one of the scheme’s unique points would be its ability to cater for stun and non-stun lamb. “Particularly with the Red Tractor and QSM not being able to go on a product that hasn’t been stunned, this is something we have had in the process for a while,” she said.

Demonstrations of the various kill methods used in a halal slaughterhouse were shown to the forum via a video, in a bid to outline the standards the assurance scheme would work to. However, the scheme is still in draft state and nothing will be finalised until Eblex has gained feedback from the industry.

Southern senior regional manager for Eblex Dr Phil Hadley took part in the kill demonstrations used in the video at a halal facility. “The purpose of the video was to demonstrate the three different methods most commonly used: non-stun; head only; and a third way, which is the post-cut stun, where the animal has the cut when it is alive, but then stunned afterwards,” he said, adding, “This is what we are proposing a standard may look like.”

He said the industry challenge was to create a standard that people in the “stun camp and the non-stun camp” could adopt. “It’s to create a standard that both parts can join in and make something of it,” he said.

As a result of the different slaughter methods, Eblex has proposed two labels for the industry to consider for use. The organisation revealed two product stickers to help consumers choose a product that suited them best – a stun label and a non-stun label.

Bishop said it was likely, following consultation, that consumers would see the stickers on products in supermarkets, but they would most likely be used by the independent market first.

The sector will have the chance to express its views and opinions on the proposed assurance standard through a consultation document, information from which will be fed-back early next year.

Consumer research

Meanwhile, Eblex research showed there was strong support for a halal assurance scheme. Figures showed that, in terms of halal certification, 77% of consumers strongly thought it was important to have some sort of label on pre-packed meat, showing its halal certification.

“The top three overall considerations when deciding where to shop for meat/poultry are religious compliance, followed by quality and shop cleanliness,” it furthered, saying that halal butchers were the main meat retailer for 60% of respondents to the research, with supermarkets in second at 23%.

About Waleed Ahmed