Meat Obtained from Stunned Animals Questionable, says Food Safety Expert

World Secure Food-Chain Asia 2009’

DUBAI:  Al Islami Foods at the World Secure Food Chain conference
expressed that meat obtained from non-stunned animals is healthier and has a longer
shelf life. And non-halal and stunned meat is highly questionable, quoting a
research conducted by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research on the same
subject. The conference was recently held in Hong Kong.

The final condition
imposed by the Ifta committee of the Scientific Research Institute for the use
of stunning is that: “During bleeding, stunning should not reduce the amount of
blood”. Researches conducted on the effect of stunning on bleeding process
reported that stunning of animals or birds reduces the amount of blood, which
means the most of the blood has not been drained out from the carcasses. This
puts the meat obtained from stunned animals or birds under a food safety issue,
a sign of which, it will be unsafe and could lead to a shorter shelf life.

These deliberations were put
forward by Mr. Joachim Yebouet, a food safety and quality expert and the chief
operations officer (COO) at Al Islami Foods, UAE, who spoke about ‘Halal Food
Safety and Quality’ at the conference.

“Consumers buying the
meat of animals/birds that have been put under stunning conditions will have to
pay a higher price, as they will also be paying for the extra blood in the meat
(considering that meats are purchased based on weight). This is considered as a
malpractice and as an added economical value for the meat industry.” Joachim quoted
as saying.

The halal way for producing
authentic halal is: animals are raised on natural, healthy and halal feed,
animals are physically fit, hand-slaughtered by a Muslim and no stunning of any
kind, reciting Tasmiyyah (Bismillah Allahu Akbar, meaning, Allah is great)
while slaughtering.

Saleh Abdullah Lootah,
the managing director of Al Islami Foods, commented: “On annual bases, Al
Islami spends AED 3 million to ensure real halal and quality meat procedures, investing
into quality management and real halal supplies, no stunning, halal ingredient,
no antibiotics or growth hormones, raw meats are always at its best conditions,
without fat, skins, giblets or trimmings, standardised health & safety procedures”.

Among the major participants
from different government, non-government and private sector organisations include:
The UN  Food and Agriculture Organisation
(UN FAO), the WHO Department of Food Safety, Asian Development Bank, US Food
and  Drug Administration, Institute
for Health and Consumer Protection, Italy, Singapore Institute of Food Science
and Technology, Nestle, McDonalds , Cadbury, Coca Cola, Jollibee, Unilever, Al
Islami Foods, Bureau of Food and Drugs, Philippines, National Agency of Drug
and Food Control, Indonesia, Counselor for Health and Consumer Protection, Delegation
of European Commission, Food Research and Consultancy Unit, University of
Wales, Asia Cold Chain Centre, Singapore, among others.

Major Topics discussed at
the conference were: Secure Food Chain Strategies and Methodologies, Halal
Foods Safety and Quality, Latest Techniques and Technologies to Safeguard Food
Safety and Quality, Quality Assurance through Stringent Audit, Testing and
Compliance Strategies,  Risk and
Crisis Management, Effective Cold Chain & Logistics Management for
Perishable and Temperature-Sensitive Food Products, Supplier Management, Secure
Sourcing and Procurement Strategies, Regulatory Development and Market