Sunday, 24 February 2013

Halal food certification worries UK Muslims

Halal food certification worries UK Muslims
By: OnIslam & News Agencies
LANCASHIRE – Following recent fiasco surrounding pork traces found in halal food, the relation between Lancashire Council of Mosques and the city council has come to a deadlock after raising concerns about the certification of halal food supplied to schools.
“The Muslim community of Lancashire is utterly shocked that the supplier of pork contaminated products is certified by the Halal Food Authority,” the statement issued by Lancashire Council of Mosques was cited by The Asian Image website on Thursday, February 8.
“We urge communities and schools across Lancashire to boycott HFA-accredited products until further investigation.”
The stalemate started three months ago when the organization urged parents not to allow their children to eat school meals provided by Lancashire County Council which contain meat.
The warning came because of concerns over whether halal products were properly accredited by the authorities approved by the council.
The problem aggravated after traces of pork were found in food deliveries to prisons by a local halal meat supplier.
The incident was made public after a spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency said the halal meat supplied to prisons involved traces of pork.
The discovery comes after horsemeat was found in beefburgers stocked by major British supermarket chains, with one brand of burger coming in at 29 percent horse.
Muslims do not eat pork and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.
After the finding the Lancashire Council of Mosques called for an investigation into the halal food industry.
Despite halal food scandal, Lancashire County Council rejected the mosques’ request, stating it will continue to provide meat supplied by the HFA, one of three halal accreditation agencies.
“The only products we purchase through the HFA are halal chicken products which come from a supplier which only processes chickens on site, so we have no concerns about cross-contamination with pork,” Roger Eakhurst, assistant director of Lancashire county commercial services, said.
Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, agreed.
“I am disappointed that the Lancashire Council of Mosques is asking parents not to allow their children to have halal meals provided in our school kitchens,” he said.
“I am prepared to discuss this, but the council of mosques must recognize that the council will not provide meat from animals that were not stunned before slaughter.”
The Muslim authority, however, said it felt vindicated about its previous concerns and may yet warn parents away from all school meals.
“We only trust meat certified by the Halal Food Committee,” Moulana Hanif, a member of the council’s halal sub-committee, said.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority, estimated at nearly 2.5 million.
The concept of halal, — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.

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