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News on Halal Food: Halal food certification worries UK Muslims

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  • Zafar Khan
    Halal Meat is Australia s Greatest Export Australia may be famous for many things.
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2013
      Halal Meat is Australia's Greatest Export
      Australia may be famous for many things.

      http://www.islamiclife.com/food/2013/halal_meat_is_australias_greatest_export.php?q=print

      Australia may be famous for many things — its movie stars such as Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and pop icon Kylie Minogue but its greatest export is a culinary one — the quality of its delicious halal meat.
      With around 16 percent of Australia’s beef exports to the Middle East and North African region destined to the Kingdom and a surge in demand for high-quality grain-fed beef and wagyu, it seems Saudi Arabia does not get enough of this premium product.
      The Kingdom is also the largest destination for Australian mutton in the region, accounting for 27 percent of shipments.

      Tarek Ibrahim, celebrity chef and star of Fatafeat TV, says: ''As one of the world’s greatest food-producing nations, Australia deserves and enjoys a reputation for excellence so it comes as no surprise that Australia produces some of the world’s greatest meat.''

      Tarek Ibrahim adds: ''When talking about meat, for me it has to be Australian. It’s the only country in the world where I truly trust the halal and food safety systems. It’s utterly delicious and a dream to cook with for anyone from a top executive chef to the home cook.''
      Ibrahim said: ''Australians are renowned for their ‘barbies’ and what better way to celebrate Australia Day than to relax with family and friends over a delicious barbecue. Surf between flavors and textures; for example, if you like steak that has a light and gentle flavor choose grain-fed beef and for a deeper flavor go for the grass-fed selection.''

      He added: ''The hand test can give you a good sense of how hot the grill or barbecue plate is. Hold your outstretched palm about 6cm from the heat. If you can only hold it above the heat for around a second it means it’s too hot. If you can hold your hand above the heat for three-four seconds it’s at a moderately high temperature, which is perfect for barbecuing. Any longer, say eight seconds, then the heat is too low. The barbecue should be hot enough to sizzle the meat as it makes contact with the plate or grill.''
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      Halal food certification worries UK Muslims
      by OnIslam & News Agencies
      Source: onislam.net

      http://muslimvillage.com/2013/02/13/35292/halal-food-certification-worries-uk-muslims/

      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.

      Deadlock

      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.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      McDonald's pays out $700k to Muslims after falsely saying its food was halal
      Two McDonald's restaurants in Detroit advertise halal Chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches
      But a Muslim customer claims to have been served a non-halal meal in 2011
      McDonald's and Finley's Management have agreed preliminary settlement
      Detroit has one of America's largest Arab and Muslim communities
      By SUZANNAH HILLS
      PUBLISHED: 13:13, 22 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:45, 23 January 2013

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2266397/McDonalds-Islamic-diet-lawsuit-Michigan-restaurants-pay-700k-Muslims-false-Halal-food-claim.html

      McDonald's has paid out $700,000 to members of the Muslim community after one of its franchise restaurants in Michigan falsely advertised its food had been prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.
      A Muslim Detroit resident, Ahmed Ahmed, claimed he bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011 at a Dearborn McDonald's but found it was not halal - meaning it did not meet Islamic requirements for preparing food.
      The restaurant is one of two in Dearborn which sells halal products to cater for an area with one of the nation's largest Arab and Muslim communities.

      Mr Ahmed then approached lawyer Kassem Dakhlallah who together conducted an investigation before launching a class-action lawsuit on the ground the franchise sold non-halal food 'on many occasions'.

      McDonald's and Finley's Management agreed to the tentative $700,000 (£442,000) settlement, with the money to be shared by Mr Ahmed, a Detroit health clinic, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and lawyers.
      Ahmed's attorney, Mr Dakhlallah, said that he is 'thrilled' with the preliminary deal that's expected to be finalised on March 1.
      ...
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      Sinhala Buddhists should not consume Halal foods: BBS will never support 13th amendment

      http://www.asiantribune.com/node/61419

      Colombo, 31 January, (Asiantribune.com): Bodu Bala Sena requests the Sinhala Buddhist not to consume any food that is branded as ‘Halal’. The Buddhist organization announced that they have requested Sinhala Buddhists not to consume such Halal foods, but insisted that they have never demanded the Government to ban the sale of Halal foods in the country.

      Bodu Bala Sena told Asian Tribune that according to Buddhism they offer as a part of their prayers, wholesome foods to Lord Buddah and in those offerings the Halal foods that were offered to some other God in some other religion should not be included .

      The Buddhist organization went on to elaborate that the concept is, if we want to offer food or something in our ‘Buddah Poojava’ we don’t even touch or taste it . But in the case of halal foods, it has been already offered to their God – Allah and we don’t want to use that halal foods prepared according to the guidelines gathered from the Qu'ran and we should not make such foods as offerings in our Buddah Pooja or offer to Buddhist monks, said Dr. Dilanthe Withanage, Coordinator, Bodu Bala Sena.

      Dr. Dilanthe Withanage is one of the executive committee members of the Bodu Bala Sena. He is one of the lay members of the Buddhist organization and is the coordinator.

      Earlier, he was a Lecturer in the University of Jayawardenepura, as well as in the Colombo University. At present he is attached to Senior Minister S. B. Nawinna’s Office and involved in the preparation of a National Policy for the Consumer Welfare in Sri Lanka.

      In an exclusive interview with Asian Tribune , he went on to say, “Our focus is to work for Buddhism in this country, at the same time we do work with other ethnic and religious groups as well. Of Course we will oppose any fundamental groups which are involved in any or in all kind of extremist activities.”

      He went on to say that when making reference about our Buddhist organization, we request the media organizations that they must consider to contact them and clarify whether there are any truth in any of those allegations raised before publishing any reports about them.

      Denying involvement in attacking Muslims

      Dr. Dilanthe Withanage, further said that recently the Gulf News published an article saying that Bodu Bala Sena is a leading terror group in Sri Lanka. They have also claimed that we have done many attacks against Muslims. He denied those allegations and said that Bodu Bala Sena was not involved any of those attacks. He added that we learnt that some other groups were involved in many of those incidents.

      Asian Tribune pointed out that there are allegations that your organization was involved in the attacks of Muslims religious places – Mosques.

      Bodu Bala Sena’s coordinator denied and said “No never, ever.”

      He said that we can challenge anybody whether they can prove any such allegations against us. We don’t do that. We condemn such acts against any religious places of worship.

      Dr. Dilanthe Withanage said I remember once we received an information from one Muslim leader that one group of Buddhist monks were carrying a picture of a swine saying it was ‘Allah’ into a Muslim place of worship and then we immediately talk to authorities and asked them to take stern action against that group of monks. We definitely condemn any such irreligious activities.

      He further said, “We are a very popular organization and it was unfortunate that we are being blamed bluntly for any anti-religious activities without any investigation and they just make allegations on hearsay and simply place the blame on Bodu Bala Sena.

      He said, we use to work very closely with the people in Jaffna and other places and we are not ‘religious maniacs’ or fanatics. Of course in our organization we have different types of people and we work very closely with different communities. Already we had discussion with Mr. A. Vinayagamoorthy - a TNA MP. We have indicated our intention of having some more round of talks with TNA MPs. In case if they have any issues then let us discuss with them, because in dialogue only we believe in. We don’t believe in either violence or we don’t believe in any arms conflict.

      In fact we want Buddhist priests to have dialogue with the Tamil community. Because what we are seeing is that even the Buddhists monks too are unable to understand the grievance of the Tamils, because majority of the monks live in Colombo. We learnt that Tamil Community sometimes thinks that the Buddhist monks are armed with weapons and up in arms to destroy the Tamils. Indeed there remain some misunderstandings between the Buddhist monks and the Tamils as a whole. We indeed wanted to establish direct link with the Tamil community and speak with them directly, because TNA MPs speak only about their problems and we also understand and suggest them with some solutions, but at the same time we also had discussion with various Muslim groups as well.
      ...
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Dutchmen in horsemeat scandal also sold 'halal' horse: report

      http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130213/dutchmen-horsemeat-scandal-also-sold-halal-horse-report-0

      Two businessmen allegedly linked to the growing European horsemeat scandal have previously been convicted by a Dutch court for passing off horse as Islamic halal-slaughtered beef, Dutch media reported Wednesday.

      National public broadcaster NOS said one of the men, identified only as "Jan F.", received a one-year sentence with three months suspended in January 2012, after he sold horse flesh imported from South America as halal-slaughtered Dutch beef.

      Jan F. is the director of a Cyprus-based meat trading company called Draap Trading, which various British and Dutch news reports on Wednesday fingered as a suspected link between Romanian abattoirs and a French supplier.

      "Draap" is the Dutch word for "horse" (paard) spelt backwards.

      "Jan F. was the chief suspect in a meat fraud case," the NOS said.

      "He falsified documents to mislead clients," it added.

      "A second meat trader from Oosterhout (in southwest Netherlands) was given community service for his role as an accomplice," the NOS report added.

      Dutch food and consumer watchdog officials visited a meat cold-storage facility near the southwestern city of Breda on Wednesday where they took samples of meat for testing, Dutch media reported, saying it was used as a storage by Draap Trading.

      When contacted, a Dutch Food and Goods Authority (NVWA) official confirmed it was investigating for traces of horsemeat, but would not confirm the names of any specific businesses.

      The storage company Nemijtek's director Jeffrey Grootenboer told AFP late Wednesday he requested the NVWA to probe his business after being contacted by journalists about the case.

      "We know nothing about it. We just store the meat here, that's all we do," he said, but confirmed that Draap was one of his customers.

      He said he had some 150 tonnes of horsemeat in storage "all labelled as horse," which was restocked about four times a year.

      Supermarket chains in Britain, France and Sweden, and now also Norway, have pulled millions of ready-made meals from store shelves after it emerged that frozen food companies had used horsemeat instead of beef.

      In Brussels, EU ministers held crisis talks Wednesday to seek a rapid response to the growing food fraud scandal which French President Francois Hollande warned could seriously damage France's frozen food sector.

      Horsemeat is readily available on Dutch shelves and the country produced about 1,000 tonnes of equine flesh in 2011, according to the Dutch central statistics office.
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      NATIONAL MEAT LABELING SCANDALS UNDERSCORE NEED FOR SHARJAH HALAL EXPO
      posted on: 14/2/2013 10:44:05

      http://www.exhibitionworld.co.uk/newsdetails/2572/national-meat-labeling-scandals-underscore-need-for-sharjah-halal-expo

      MIDDLE EAST – Expo Center Shajah is to hold an exhibition to educate the Muslim community on ensuring the food they consume is genuinely halal.

      Halal Middle East will be held at Expo Center Sharjah on 16-18 December 2013, including Halal Expo and Halal Congress Middle East.

      A spokesman for the event said back-to-back local, and international, cases of halal food contamination have created a need for general consumers to be aware of halal rules and regulations.

      In recent weeks, the issue of food contamination has received extensive press coverage in the UK, where the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been informed by the Ministry of Justice that meat pies and pastries supplied to prisons in England and Wales were labelled and served as halal but contained traces of pork DNA.

      This follows a wider national scandal that horsemeat has been found in processed beef products on sale at supermarket chains including Tesco.

      In the UAE, there have been reports that restaurants in five-star hotels are using the same kitchen equipment on halal and pork products. And in the US, a global fast food chain and one of its franchise owners have agreed to pay US$700,000 to members of the Muslim community to settle allegations a Detroit-area restaurant falsely advertised its food as being prepared according to Islamic dietary law.

      Director-general of Expo Centre Sharjah, Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, stressed the role of the Halal Middle East trade fair and congress in educating the Muslim community on how to ensure that what they are consuming is genuinely halal.

      “Such instances of food contamination and mis-selling are worrying and at the same time unacceptable to any Muslim irrespective of the country or region,” he said. “Such incidents would have offended and distressed a large number of Muslims across the world. Several times such instances are reported even when there are clear regulations for food establishments to abide by while handling and selling pork products.”

      Al Midfa said consumers need to be aware of the “halal norms” governing the system for preparing and serving food products. These include how animals are slaughtered, labelled, stored, refrigerated, cooked and served.

      The UAE is well positioned for an event on halal food. The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) is working on unified standards for halal food and cosmetics, which, once approved, will be introduced in all Islamic countries in the near future.

      Expo Centre Sharjah is organising several exhibitions in Qatar through a partnership with the Qatar National Convention Centre and Qatar Expo.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      'Halal pork' supplier named
      Northern Ireland-based McColgan Quality Foods revealed as source of halal products containing pork DNA
      Press Association
      The Guardian, Sunday 3 February 2013 18.47 GMT

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/03/supplier-halal-meat-pork-dna-named
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      Muslim month of fasting sees rise in demand for halal meat
      August 5, 2012 12:23 am

      Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/muslim-month-of-fasting-sees-rise-in-demand-for-halal-meat-647660/#ixzz2Ku8GszGo

      Mehmet Gurakar, the president of McKeesport halal meat producer MRG Food LLC, has been fasting during the day for more than two weeks. But working alongside livestock and beef, veal and goat carcasses doesn't quite pique his appetite.
      "We are at the beginning of the food chain," he said. "It doesn't make us very hungry."
      Mr. Gurakar, who is from Turkey, is observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began in late July. Partaking in the Ramadan fast is one of the five pillars of Islam, and observant Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset during the month.
      During Ramadan, demand for halal meat -- which is slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law -- is up at local grocers and producers, as members of Pittsburgh's Muslim communities look to prepare meals for the nightly break-fast meals.
      Approximately 6,000 Muslims participate in local congregations in Allegheny County, according to a 2010 estimate from the Association of Religion Data Archives, though more live in the surrounding areas. Muslims form a small portion of the region's seven-county metropolitan population of 2.4 million, as counted by the U.S. Census.
      As a result, there are few halal grocers in the area and, according to Mr. Gurakar, only two other halal meat distributors. Salem's Market and Grill -- a halal butcher, prepared foods counter and grocer in the Strip District -- offers fresh butchered meat and international products. Some larger area chains carry halal meat from national outlets.
      Smaller halal food operators must strike a balance between serving their customers and fulfilling their own requirements as Muslims.
      While many Muslims do not eat halal meat during most of the year, more will choose to do so during Ramadan, said Abdullah Salem, the supervisor at Salem's. Moreover, customers are more likely to cook the break-fast meal at home for family and guests.
      MRG and Salem's experienced a rush during the first two weeks of the holy month, as customers were stocking up. Salem's, which purchases halal meat from MRG, prepared for Ramadan a month before it began, while Mr. Gurakar said business was up 20 percent at MRG Food during the first weeks of the holy month.
      "I guess people ... like to get ready for Ramadan, like they are kind of anxious or kind of excited," he said.
      MRG -- which provides meat for restaurants and grocers in Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, N.Y., and Pittsburgh -- stayed open late twice in the last two weeks to meet demand.
      Though volume and prices vary from week to week, Mr. Gurakar said his company might slaughter and deliver 200 lambs, 200 goats, 30 to 35 cows and 10 to 15 calves on a given week, and his employees have the capacity to produce three times that number.
      At Salem's, business in the grocery store probably doubles or triples during the month, and Mr. Salem said he keeps the shop stocked with bulk food. "We've bought so many groceries that we can't pay for it until after Ramadan," he said.
      Salem's has also adjusted its hours and offerings to meet the demand.
      Every day, the store caters for the break-fast meals -- or iftars -- of two or three mosques, which serve between 100 and 200 people. And it is staying open later, serving food until 10:15 p.m. instead of its usual 8 p.m. closing time.
      During those extra hours, Salem's hosts a $13.99 buffet. Usually, around 30 people come; many others will opt for the free iftars at local mosques. "We're competing with free," Mr. Salem said.
      This is the first year that Salem's has offered the buffet, which includes dates, kabobs, salad and more. Mr. Salem said he switched from the normal counter service to the buffet primarily for his employees, who in past years have had to serve customers until 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m., extending their own fasts even further.
      "We would make more profit if we didn't have a buffet and just let [customers] order out," he said.
      Still, he sees potential for expansion. Depending on how many non-Muslims come for the buffet, he is considering making a part of its offerings during the rest of the year.
      Because about half the customers of Salem's are Muslim, the late afternoon lunch crowd has been smaller lately. Increased demand elsewhere in the store helps make up for that deficit.
      Salem's also accepts donations on behalf of people looking to gain "rewards" during Ramadan. In Islam, it is believed that giving food to a fasting person provides the donor with the equivalent reward of the fasting person, without diminishing the latter person's own reward. As a result, Salem's will receive donations to be used to distribute meat to mosques.
      Mr. Salem estimated that the store received between $10,000 to $15,000 worth of donations during the first week. "All rewards are [multiplied] during Ramadan," he said.
      In the end, he said, the holy month is actually less profitable for his store than other months. "We do way better in Christmas than we do in Ramadan," he said.
      Among the business practices that he employs during Ramadan -- which might not be seen as the most cost-effective -- are the fact that his company prides itself on providing for people who might not be able to afford the full cost. Salem's prices are negotiable, and not just during Ramadan.
      The flexible approach is reflective of the bartering conducted in many countries besides the U.S., Mr. Salem said. In the store, a wall holds the names of customers who haven't paid but said they will the next time.
      Mr. Salem views the store as a community service. Because it is one of the few halal meat providers in the area, he said he offers especially low prices so he won't be accused of taking advantage of customers during this month. "People want us to match a Sam's Club price," he said.
      In addition, he pays employees overtime to handle the extra demands generated by the holy month, and then they often take paid vacation immediately before and after Ramadan.
      It is a tough month of work in any case. At MRG Food, Mr. Gurakar's physically demanding work is made even more difficult by virtue of the fact th at he cannot quench his thirst during the day. He is the only Muslim, and therefore the only person fasting, on the company's "kill floor."
      Salem's employees, who are all Muslim, take one- or two-hour breaks because of the extended hours and the difficulty of working while fasting. Moreover, because they are serving food and cleaning up until well after sunset, they cannot break the fast with their families.
      But it's all worth it in Mr. Salem's view.
      "You can't count for the blessings," he said.
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      Bringing a Muslim Culinary Tradition Mainstream
      Think "halal" is a just a dietary restriction? Adnan Durrani, the founder of American Halal, wants to change the definition.

      http://www.inc.com/magazine/201205/american-halal-bringing-muslim-tradition-mainstream.html

      Most Americans know the term halal-if they are familiar with it at all-as the Muslim system of dietary regulations. Adnan Durrani wants consumers to understand halal in different terms: "Wholesome and pure. Sustainable, fair trade, and just practices in terms of the environment and animal welfare."

      Durrani is the founder and CEO of American Halal, whose Saffron Road brand sells the first halal-certified frozen entrées available in mainstream supermarkets nationwide, including all stores in 11 regions of the Whole Foods chain. Though halal may be mysterious to most Americans, it has many parallels to kashrut, or Jewish dietary law, notably in its ban on pork products and standards for butchering meat. And for Durrani, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, that's the point.

      There are only 5.3 million Jews in the U.S., but kosher food is a $12.5 billion market. It's also a crowded one, with 16,000 companies selling certified-kosher products. As for Muslims, a recent Pew Report put their U.S. population at 2.6 million in 2010 but projects that number jumping to 6.2 million by 2030.

      If Muslims' numbers are relatively small, their market power is considerable. About 52 percent of U.S. Muslim households have income of more than $50,000 a year-slightly more than in the public at large. And they are highly educated: Forty-two percent of Muslim American women, for example, hold a college or postgraduate degree, compared with 29 percent of American women overall-a rate second only to that of American Jewish women. (Food marketers generally target female consumers.) The Muslim population is also young; 73 percent are 18 to 44, compared with 44 percent in the general population. "American Muslims," Durrani says, "are a food marketer's dream come true."

      If Saffron Road succeeds, it won't be the first time Durrani will have realized such a dream. In 1991, Durrani founded Vermont Pure, which became a leading supplier of bottled water. A decade later, bottled water was a $6.9 billion business, and beverage giants like Coke were scrambling to create water brands of their own. In 1994, even as experts told him that American kids would never eat yogurt, Durrani's private equity firm was one of the first institutional investors in Stonyfield Farm. "He gets credit for being ahead of his time," says Stonyfield Farm co-founder and chairman Gary Hirshberg, who remains friendly with Durrani. "What he's trying to do now is create not just a company but really a new category."

      Of course, for a brand with Saffron Road's ambitions, making a hit with Muslim shoppers isn't enough. In the kosher food market, for example, about 75 percent of sales comes from non-Jews-many of them Muslims-who buy kosher for reasons including health and safety, taste, or flavor, and the belief that the products are made under stricter guidelines than are other products. (Readers of a certain age may remember Hebrew National's successful 1970s "We Answer to a Higher Authority" TV ad campaign.) The Saffron Road name-an allusion to the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that connected the Middle East, India, and China-was chosen to be broadly appealing.

      And each box is graffitied with half a dozen or so seals of approval: certified humane, antibiotic free, gluten free. Although halal certification (from the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America) may be the draw for a Muslim shopper, a non-Muslim looking for frozen Thai or Indian food might choose Saffron Road because it's the only certified-humane and antibiotic-free option in the grocery freezer.

      The approach seems to be working. In 2011, Saffron Road won the best-product award from the World Halal Forum and was named one of the top 10 new products to watch at the 2011 Fancy Food Show, a key event for the specialty-food industry. American Halal had retail sales of more than $4 million in 2011, driven largely by Whole Foods. But with new products on the way and distribution in more supermarket chains-including Publix, Wegmans, and Kroger-Durrani forecasts sales hitting $50 million within five years.
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      Kosher and Halal: Halakha and Sharia Requirements

      by Yasir Qadhi

      http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/kosher-and-halal-halakha-and-sharia-requirements/0019217

      Introduction

      Observant Muslims and Jews only eat ḥalāl and kosher products, and face many of the same problems in finding appropriate meat products in the modern, secularized world. Due to the dearth of kosher meat products available, and even higher scarcity of ḥalāl meat, many Muslims feel comfortable purchasing kosher meat, believing that all kosher meats (and by extension kosher products) are necessarily ḥalāl. Other Muslims, due to either political or theological reasons, believe that it is impermissible to purchase or consume any kosher meat products.

      This paper seeks to discuss the question of the Islamic legal ruling on consuming kosher meat products. Therefore, political questions and personal values, which do not dictate the general ruling (aṣl) with respect to such products, will not be discussed.

      Generally speaking (and as per Q. 4:160 and 3:50), halakhic laws are stricter than Islamic ones. This is shown not only in the foods that are permissible or impermissible, but also in the laws pertaining to slaughtering, cooking and consuming foods. Since the normative applications of Jewish law are stricter than those for Islamic law, in most cases these laws will not affect Muslims who wish to consume kosher, but would affect Jews who might be interested in ḥalāl meat. The most pertinent examples will be discussed in this paper.

      Prohibitions Regarding Types of Animals and Foods

      Both Jewish and Islamic laws prohibit the consumption of carrion, swine, insects, rodents and blood. Additionally, any food that is poisonous or immediately harmful to the human body would be prohibited. All solid food items prohibited by the Sharīʿa are also prohibited in Jewish law.

      There are a number of significant items prohibited in the halakha but allowed by the Sharīʿa. The Qurʾān itself mentions the most common example, viz., certain types of animal fat (see Q. 6:146). Halakhic law specifies which types of fats and nerves are prohibited.[1] The majority of madhhabs allowed the Muslim to consume these parts that are typically not considered kosher after a Jewish slaughter. The only exception to this is the Mālikī school, which deems the consumption of these parts impermissible.

      Other examples of items that are prohibited for Jews but allowed for Muslims include:

      - Sharks, shellfish and crustaceans (lobster, crabs, etc.) [Note: for the Ḥanafīs these animals are also not permitted].

      - Some types of birds (e.g., ostrich, emu).

      - Camels (because it does not have a proper ‘split hoof’).[2]

      Interestingly enough, the locust is an animal that is explicitly mentioned and allowed by both halakhic and Sharʿī texts.

      Also note that Jewish law forbids mixing meat and dairy products together. Different Jewish authorities have different interpretations and rules for implementation – some even require two sets of kitchen utensils and separate areas of refrigerators for these two products. There is, of course, no equivalent in Islamic law.

      Jewish law also has stringent rules regarding the religious washing and usage of utensils. For example, if a ceramic or porcelain utensil is used to cook a non-kosher food, that utensil can never be purified and used for kosher cooking. However, if a metallic utensil has been used, it must be cleaned with soap and water, then left for a period of time, then immersed in boiling water under the supervision of an expert, before it may be used to cook with.[3] Islamic law, on the other hand, would only require the regular washing of any such utensil and would permit its subsequent usage to cook or consume ḥalāl products in.

      The permissibility of gelatin and rennet are ongoing discussions in both faiths. The exact same spectrum of opinions exists in both Muslim and Jewish circles. It appears that most mainstream Jewish and Muslim authorities would not permit regularly available gelatin, since it is derived from either pork or non-ritually slaughtered animals (with minority dissenting opinions on both sides). Proper kosher gelatin is therefore typically derived from kosher fish (and, in even rarer cases, from kosher slaughtered animals, or from certain cows that have died natural deaths,[4] or from vegetable products). However, it should be noted that a product that is marked as kosher does not necessarily mean that all Jewish authorities believe it to be so. In fact, most yoghurt and candy products that are marked with circle-K are not approved by most Conservative and Orthodox Rabbis. Hence, Muslims need to know the different types of symbols used by the Jewish food
      industry, and their corresponding opinions, before they make a choice on whether a product that is marked as kosher is in fact ḥalāl or not.

      Cheese, on the other hand, appears to be an issue where the spectrum of opinions are the same, but the majorities of each are different. Most Jewish authorities would only allow cheese if produced from kosher rennet; most Muslim authorities would allow cheese from non-ḥalāl rennet because of the issue of istihlāk.[5] In both groups, there are dissenting minority opinions, but the minorities are on opposite sides.

      There are some halakhic restrictions on vegetables and plants (for example, the orlah­, or fruit that grows during first three years after planting), and Jewish law is also stricter than Islamic law regarding insects found in fruits and vegetables, but these laws are not relevant to this discussion. Additionally, there are specific halakhic commandments for preparing Passover breads and prohibiting other foods that would also not concern Muslims.

      For Muslims, the most common product that is allowed in Jewish law but prohibited in Islamic law are alcoholic beverages. Jewish law permits the consumption of ‘kosher’ beer and wine.
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