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Some Exports of Welsh Lamb Prepared According to Islamic Religious Rules

08 May, 2014 22:15
Some Exports of Welsh Lamb Prepared According to Islamic Religious Rules

Certain exports of Welsh lamb are being prepared according to Islamic religious rules, it has emerged.

Industry body Meat Promotion Wales confirmed yesterday that some sheep are being slaughtered at Welsh abattoirs according to halal principles.

The news follows revelations in The Sun that restaurant chain Pizza Express used meat from chickens slaughtered in accordance with halal procedures, sparking a call for better food labelling.

Halal is the term used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law. To be defined as halal, the food must meet criteria set in the Koran, including the way the animal is slaughtered and thoroughly bled before it is eaten. A blessing is also performed.

A Meat Promotion Wales spokesman told WalesOnline yesterday all Welsh cattle and sheep, which have been granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the European Commission, are pre-stunned and slaughtered in approved abattoirs.

The spokesman said: “Our priority is to ensure that animal welfare is maintained at the highest level throughout the supply chain, including at the point of slaughter. Customers can be assured that all PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef has been stunned before slaughter. Following stunning, some sheep destined for certain markets are subject to a halal blessing.

“The UK Government has contributed to an EU study into the compulsory labelling of halal and kosher meat, and plan to review options once the study is finalised in the summer.”

Pizza Express has since hit back at the claims that customers were not being allowed to make an informed choice about halal meat.

The restaurant said that it was “no secret” that all the chicken used in its dishes was halal slaughtered, adding that all birds are stunned before being killed.

Abbatoir operators in Wales were tight-lipped about their slaughter methods yesterday but Abdul-Azim Ahmed, a student of religion and theology at Cardiff University, said the sale of halal meat in Wales was widespread.

“A lot of restaurants are halal,” said Abdul-Azim, 26. “I have never come across a kebab shop that is not halal. Most kebab shops in this country are halal, it’s very much ubiquitous.

“In that regard it’s strange because halal has been out there for a very long time but this has only kicked off recently.”

He added: “If restaurants didn’t let their customers know that they’re selling halal meat they wouldn’t get the benefit of people wanting to go there.”

David Cameron’s official spokesman said Prime Minister does not believe the Government needs to intervene in the current row over labelling of halal and kosher products.

Representatives of Jewish and Muslim groups have called for consumers to be given detailed information about slaughter methods when buying meat, following a string of press stories revealing that halal meat is routinely sold in the UK without buyers being told.

A majority of New Zealand lamb sold in UK supermarkets comes from halal abattoirs, while dozens of restaurant chains use meat from chickens slaughtered in accordance with halal procedures.

A significant proportion of meat produced by exporting countries such as New Zealand is slaughtered to halal standards, in order to ensure it can be sold to both Muslim and non-Muslim nations.

Asked whether Mr Cameron thought the Government should act to ensure the meats are clearly labelled, the PM’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister’s view is that it is an issue of consumer choice and consumer information.

“So it is a matter for retailers and restaurants to work with customers and consumer groups and representatives of faith organisations.

“He is a strong supporter of religious freedoms, including religious slaughter practices.”


Source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk

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Some Exports of Welsh Lamb Prepared According to Islamic Religious Rules
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