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9340Halal Food and Drink: 'Halal Whisky', Non-alcoholic Beverage by Scottish Distillers Appalls World

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  • Zafar Khan
    Dec 1, 2011
      'Halal Whisky', Non-alcoholic Beverage by Scottish Distillers Appalls World
      by Nancy Needhima on November 06, 2011 at 7:02 PM


      First of its kind alcohol-free ’halal whisky’, is out on sale heralding the party season.

      ArKay, the world’s first alcohol-free whisky, will be sold worldwide from Dec 1, and is said to look and taste just like traditional whisky.

      It has been declared as Halal certified, which opens up the markets in Muslim countries and the Middle East.

      Whisky distillers in Scotland are said to be in a state of revolt over the ’alcohol free’ creation.

      "It is not possible to make alcohol-free whisky," the Daily Mail quoted a spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association as saying.

      "This company is trying to exploit whisky’s reputation with highly irresponsible marketing," the spokesman added.

      A Florida-based company called Scottish Spirits Ltd manufactures the non-alcoholic whisky in its Panama factories, and will be priced at 10 pounds a bottle and 4 pounds for a can.

      China eyes bigger share in halal food market
      20 November 2011, Sunday / ABDULLAH BOZKURT, YINCHUAN


      In north-central China's autonomous region of Ningxia, where 2.2 million Chinese Hui Muslims live, the halal food industry is rapidly developing to cater to the needs of Muslims in China with a keen interest to increase China's share in the world's $150 billion halal food market.

      The region was selected by the central government in Beijing as the production base for Muslim food due to local resources and regional advantages because of the large Muslim community. Ningxia generated 16 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) worth of halal food in 2010, up from 14 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) in 2009 with an increase of 14 percent. Both the central government in Beijing as well as the region's provincial government support Muslim businesses with the hope that the export market share of the Chinese halal industry would increase in the future. The Ningxia region exported only $10 million worth of halal-certified foods and beverage products last year, which officials say is too low.

      Since the market is underdeveloped, there are huge benefits for new startup companies in the region. Take for example the Yishun Yuan Agriculture and Trade Company in Ningxia. The company, owned by the Yishun Group, started its operations in the region in October 2010 with a 200 million yuan investment. “We have generated a turnover of 200 million yuan since, and we are not even at full capacity yet,” Di Yanqi, the company's owner and chairman, told Today's Zaman. “We are planning to increase turnover to 700 million yuan within two years' time,” he added.

      The Yishun Yuan Agriculture and Trade Company is already a market leader in the halal meat industry in the region with over 50 percent of the share. It employs 240 people in an integrated-meat processing plant on 14.6 hectares of land in the Desheng Industrial Park, located between the Yellow River and the Helan Mountain. It maintains a total of 38.1 hectares of separate breeding grounds for livestock, raising both cattle and sheep. The success of the Yishun Yuan Agriculture and Trade Company comes from the parent company Yishun Group, which already owns three subsidiaries in the Inner Mongolia region. It has meat processing, fur and textile companies.

      The certification was checked rigorously by the Islamic Association of China, which keeps a full-time imam at the production facility and on the company's payroll. “I need to recite prayers every time a cow or sheep is about to get slaughtered to comply with halal standards,” imam Yaqube Ma told Today's Zaman. The company also needs to abide by the rules set by the Ningxia International Trade Center to maintain International Halal Food Certification. “We already meet the HAACP [Food Safety Management System Certification] and ISO9001 [Quality Management System Certification] standards,” Yanqi underlined.

      However, 47-year-old Yanqi notes the rising food costs, saying he has to pass expenses on to his customers eventually. “Corn prices have gone up 20 percent since last year, while hay prices jumped 25 percent,” he said, adding that input prices began to increase by the end of 2010.

      Nevertheless, the prices are still very competitive compared to other countries. While the price of 15 kilograms of lamb costs 500 yuan ($78) in Ningxia, a similar amount of lamb costs TL 360 ($197) in İstanbul, the largest city in Turkey. The added value for the processed lamb goes as high as 2,500 to 3,000 yuan. Yanqi's company exports 60 percent of its processed halal foods to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. “I'm looking for market opportunities in Turkey as well,” he said.

      The Ningxia region has developed its own regulations and legislation to support the halal food industry and officials are doing everything they can to increase the region's potential. In the last five years, there have been halal food festivals in Ningxia to promote the industry. More than 2,000 small and big companies are involved in the halal food and Islamic products market, while 300 patents were approved for companies involved in halal businesses. Ningxia's autonomous government has set up a logistics center in Dubai to help the region's companies connect with international partners. Officials say Ningxia companies exported 354.2 tons of halal beef and lamb products in 2010.

      Yanqi said they also work with embassy officials from Muslim countries and can easily cater to their special requirements if necessary. “Muslim countries' embassy staff in Beijing is welcome to examine our production facilities and our processes,” he noted.

      On Thanksgiving, why hate halal?
      Published: Friday, November 25, 2011, 12:05 PM
      By Dr. Aref Assaf/NJ Voices


      Muslim hater, Pam Geller is a hate-stuffed turkey.

      On this year's Thanksgiving Day, I thanked God for a lot of the good and bad things with which I've been blessed. I especially thanked God for the realizations that there is only one Pamela Geller; I cannot imagine life with two or three of her ilk.
      An Internet blogger and Islam-hater, Ms. Geller has spewed her venomous poison by warning Americans not to eat turkey meat by the brand name, Butterball, simply because it is certified halal. Halal in some fashion is like Kosher: it is the acceptable form of slaughtering animals within the system of dietary constraints that observant Muslims must follow. In a column on The American Thinker, Ms. Geller is outraged that not only those halal meats are already prevalent throughout most of the meat industry, but also now, they have even infiltrated the popular frozen turkey producer Butterball. She went as far as calling for the boycott of the company's turkey.
      Ms. Geller is joined by other Islamophobes. Robert Spencer called this revelation "shocking" on his Jihad Watch blog - and she even set up the "Boycott Butterball Turkey" Facebook page, which so far has about 900 "likes." Geller prods supporters to "keep calling and writing. All Halal should be labeled." And anti-Islam, anti-bear activist Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association tweeted this warning on Tuesday: "Be advised: every single Butterball turkey sold in America this Thanksgiving has been sacrificed to Allah first." In addition, there is the site Bare Naked Islam which provided this "WARNING" for its subscribers: "ALL 'BUTTERBALL' TURKEYS ARE HALAL-SLAUGHTER CERTIFIED. JUST IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING. I have just learned that the turkeys so many Americans enjoy for the holidays are certified Islamic-blessed, halal-slaughtered birds."
      Ms. Geller is getting away with her bestial attacks on Islam and Muslims. This latest manifestation would not have gone unpunished had she replaced the word halal with kosher, the term that describes a regime of laws governing the dietary requirements of observant Jews. She would be promptly labeled an anti-Semite (and possibly, a self-hating Jew) and would be forced to recant. But American Muslims have not achieved the political and financial maturity of American Jews to extract such a punishment. The fact that so few have 'Liked" her Facebook appeal, demonstrates how her extremist views are removed from mainstream America.
      The requirements for halal slaughtering are remarkably close to those found in a kosher regime. First, the animal must be in the halal category, i.e. an herbivore or the birds identified in the Koran. Second, the individual performing the slaughter must be an adult Muslim. Third, the name of God must be pronounced at the moment of slaughter. Finally, the throat must be cut in a manner that brings about complete and fast bleeding which would result in the most rapid death. The agreed-upon method for fulfilling this last condition is to cut three of the four main passages, i.e. jugulars, esophagus, trachea, and carotids.
      Worldwide, halal meat production is dominated by non-Muslim countries such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, India, New Zealand, UK, and USA. The non-Muslim world is effectively supplying the Muslim world with Halal meat, making this market a truly global concern.
      One noticeable trend is that many meat producers are deciding to do away with a dual slaughtering process. Producing non-halal meat is becoming increasing perceived as irrelevant. The Muslims insist on halal, and the rest of the world seems happy enough (save a few) to eat it as well, so why bother with non-halal slaughter?
      Halal foods while similar to kosher foods are not identical. For one, kosher permits alcohol and forbids shelled fish. Islam forbids alcohol and permits all sea creatures. Until recently, American Muslims have considered kosher foods to be a permitted food in the absence of Halal-certified foods. I, I like many Muslims, do consume kosher-labeled foods every day. Whether it is my cola drink, gum stick, "Hebrew National" hot dog or occasional pastrami, I see no sinister conspiracy to force Judaism down my throat.
      Halal is fast becoming a new market identifier, a new market structure. As this trend increases and strengthens, we are likely to see the call for some form of standardization of procedures and certification methodologies. Where Geller may be correct is the issue of labeling products. But she is not the Ralph Nader type consumer advocate. And that's where I part with her Islamophobic fear mongering.
      I as a concerned consumer demand and expect accurate labeling of foods I consume. In a sense, Butterball cannot claim it is selling halal foods because the turkeys are not labeled as such. If they were labeled halal-certified, the turkeys would have undergone a very strict set of requirement not only dealing with the slaughtering method. Islam requires that for any food to be permitted (halal), it must be freshly killed, not injured or sick and its feed contains no impure ingredients. The halal certified meats and foods thus extract a higher premium because of these requirements.
      Halal food is a growing industry not only in the US but also all over the world. Recent statistic put the halal market volume at well over $14 billion in the US alone. (The worldwide halal meat market is estimated at around $630 billion.) With a population of close to 8 million, American Muslims are increasingly demanding clear mandates to protect their rights as consumers. Because as an observant Muslim, I am used to paying more for halal-certified foods. This fact has enticed many greedy merchants to mislabel their products as halal. When this practice is uncovered, the relevant consumer agencies are notified, fines would be levied, and even licenses suspended. But enforcement is not uniform and in some states it does not exist. New Jersey has led the nation in 2000 by enacting laws that govern the marketing of halal foods. No the State is not becoming an agent of Islam and the Establishment Clause is not being compromised. Like kosher laws, the state
      was responding to consumer demands to that, like selling prescriptions drugs or beef, the seller clearly indicates all the relevant and law mandated details.
      The silly outrage about halal turkeys is misplaced and in many ways dilutes the true spirit of Thanksgiving. If you have eaten a truly halal-certified turkey, be thankful: you have eaten a well-fed and humanely killed bird. The rampage is meritless and truly exposes the hate with which the heart of Pam Geller is stuffed.
      Update: (Watch this video)
      Dr. Aref Assaf, president of American Arab Forum, a think tank specializing in Arab and Muslim American affairs. www.aafusa.org

      The Stealth Halal Jihadist Turkey: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Muslim Trojan Horse
      Wajahat Ali
      Posted Nov 24, 2011


      Halal and kosher hit by Dutch ban
      6 November 2011 Last updated at 04:05


      Next month the Dutch parliament is expected to approve a ban on halal and kosher methods of slaughtering animals for food.

      Those who proposed the ban say it is simply an issue of animal welfare, but it received strong support from the right-wing Freedom Party.

      Many see it as a violation of their religious freedom, and among the Jewish community it is a worrying echo of a similar ban brought in by Hitler.

      Anna Holligan reports from The Hague.

      Wednesday November 23,2011
      By Richard Palmer Royal Correspondent


      THE Queen held a halal state banquet at Buckingham Palace for Turkish President Abdullah Gul tonight and promised British backing for his country's bid to join the European Union.
      She celebrated ever-closer political and economic ties between the two nations, despite concerns over allowing the predominantly Asian and Muslim country into the EU.

      "We have come through a great deal together to develop what is, today, a very modern partnership," she said. "In Europe, the British Government remains committed to working with you to secure your place in the European Union.".

      The 85-year-old monarch and 170 British and Turkish guests sat down to a completely halal state banquet of lamb from the royal estate at Windsor in the palace ballroom.

      "It's a matter of politeness that it's halal. The President and his wife are guests of the Queen. We wouldn't do a separate menu for them so everyone eats the same," a palace spokeswoman said.

      Meat used at similar banquets for the King of Saudi Arabia in 2007 and the Emir of Qatar last year were also slaughtered in a traditional Islamic way to ensure they too were halal.

      Guests tonight were still offered a selection of fine wines, however.

      Earlier in the day, Turkey's First Lady, Hayrunnisa Gul, caught the eye, towering over the Queen and Prince Philip in
      stylish ankle boots with 6in platform heels.

      They matched her dove-grey outfit and trademark Islamic headscarf.

      She sought to portray herself as the elegant face of modern, moderate Islam as she and her husband began a three-day state visit to Britain.

      Mrs Gul, 46, is a figure of controversy in Turkey because her decision to wear the headscarf is seen by critics as a symbol of political Islam and an attack on the country’s secularist tradition.

      But she and her husband seemed relaxed as they enjoyed the hospitality at Buckingham Palace after receiving a ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade.

      The Queen and Prince Philip toured Turkey in March 2008, only four months after a visit by Prince Charles and Camilla, reflecting the importance attached by cross-party leaders to the relationship between the two nations.

      Britain, which believes Turkey is set to become an economic powerhouse in the next few decades, supports the country’s efforts to join the European Union, despite opposition led by France, and has strengthened political and economic ties in the last four years.

      Trade with Turkey increased by 26.3 per cent in the first nine months of 2011.The two countries are united in concern over human rights abuses by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad against his own people The Duchess of Cornwall pulled out of helping to host the state visit, blaming a heavy cold. "She's losing her voice," an aide said.

      Muslims outraged by claim of fake halal meat
      Anaheim Super King Market paid $527,000, but money doesn’t go to people who bought the meat.
      Published: Nov. 28, 2011 Updated: 4:15 p.m.


      ANAHEIM – Local Muslims who read a Register story about a District Attorney's Office investigation that determined an Anaheim market was falsely selling meat as halal said they are outraged and considering legal action.
      Last week, the Orange County D.A.'s office announced that it had obtained a $527,000 settlement against Anaheim Super King Market, at 10500 Magnolia Ave., after investigators determined that the market was incorrectly advertising and selling generic meat and mixed meats as halal.

      Calling meat halal indicates that it was slaughtered in a specific way, in accordance with Islamic Law.
      "I'm shocked by it. My whole family is very disappointed," said Sam Chouche, 23, of Anaheim who shopped at the store. "It specifies in the Quran that you must eat meat in a certain way, that you shouldn't eat meat killed inhumanely. It's our faith."
      At least a dozen people called or emailed the Register to express outrage.
      "We just cannot believe this," said Shakeel Ahmed of Anaheim. "It's very disgusting, and all (of my) family is very upset – so upset that we throw up and cry."
      Several people said they had meat from Anaheim Super King stored in their freezers that must be destroyed. The investigation began in early 2010.
      Anaheim Super King Market didn't admit fault. Market officials did not return phone calls on Monday seeking comment.
      The market now must only purchase meat that is clearly labeled halal on the invoice and packaging and must ensure that halal meat is properly segregated.
      The settlement money doesn't go to individual victims, because it would be too difficult to determine who exactly was victimized, a D.A.'s spokeswoman has said. Instead, the money goes into a fund to help prosecute fraud cases.
      Several Muslims said they should be entitled to compensation and are considering filing claims.
      Contact the writer: 714-704-3769 or ecarpenter@...

      Halal not just for Muslims anymore
      Published: July 17, 2011 at 4:20 AM


      CHICAGO, July 17 (UPI) -- With the annual Ramadan celebration just two weeks away, practicing Muslims this year have more alternatives for breaking the monthlong daily fast -- a line of prepared foods from Saffron Road that meet halal strictures.

      The Stamford, Conn., company produces 15 items -- 12 of them frozen and three broths that can be consumed alone or used as a base for more elaborate fare. All but the vegetable broth are meat-related.

      The company currently has revenues of less than $6 million annually but Executive Vice President Jack Acree said it is growing exponentially. Currently, Saffron Road employs eight and contracts out production and packaging.

      "Halal is the foundation of what we are as a brand," said Acree, who describes the operation as "an American company that produces halal products rather than a halal company."

      "Our line is the first natural halal-certified products available nationwide."

      Acree, who is not Muslim but has experience in launching premium products like Terra chips, said the halal industry is where kosher was in the early 1950s before there was any kind of national certification process and when much of what was available was produced only on a local or regional basis.

      "We're pioneering halal in the United States," he said, adding the company hopes to make its products appealing to a wider audience as companies like Hebrew National ("We answer to a higher power") have made kosher a commonplace thing in many non-Jewish kitchens.

      "Halal is more forgiving than kosher in a lot of respects," Acree said, adding the company has received numerous comments on Facebook and through direct contact expressing gratitude for prepared halal meat products. "They were primarily eating vegetarian dishes. … It might be easier for them to find a halal restaurant but when they're looking for a prepared meal, it's been very limited. The crossover to kosher, to vegetarian is there."

      Like Jewish dietary laws, Muslim dietary laws exclude the consumption of pork products and animal blood, except in emergencies. Halal products also must not contain any alcohol and like kosher meat, animals must be slaughtered in accordance with strict ritual.

      Acree said the animals used for halal slaughter must be humanely raised, given no antibiotics and fed strictly a vegetarian diet.

      "Halal is not only about religious slaughter but really about the entire life cycle of the animal. It is given respect from the minute it's born," he said.

      Saffron Road's biggest retail partner currently is Whole Foods and the company has plans to expand to other chains.

      "It didn't happen strictly because we were halal (the association with Whole Foods). It was because our chickens are humanely raised, no antibiotics and that sort of thing. Many of the items are gluten-free. It resonates across the spectrum of natural foods consumers. They look at kosher as a safer option when it comes to meat. We look to educate them to parallels with halal. … What we are selling is good-tasting food," Acree said.

      Acree speculated there's been no real push for halal because the Muslim community is so diverse, not nearly as cohesive as the U.S. Jewish community, which came largely from Eastern Europe, most around World War II.

      "What we're looking to do is move halal out of halal shops and into the supermarkets where the vast majority of Muslims want to shop," Acree said.

      "Second and third generation Muslims in the U.S. identify themselves as Americans first and Muslims second. We're making an American product that is halal certified."

      Acree said he sees the current line as a stepping stone and hopes to expand the line next year into ingredients halal cooks can use to prepare more elaborate meals.

      "We really believe in the concept of people sitting down at the dinner table," he said. "We don't expect people to cook the way they did 20 to 30 years ago. What we hope to provide are timesavers."

      Saffron Road products currently are available at 2,000 locations, including Whole Foods. Acree said the company hopes to expand to 4,000 by the end of the year.