UK: Birmingham Muslim Community Outraged

Members of the Birmingham Muslim community raised concerned to the Birmingham EHO with regards to halal poultry falsely labeled by major high street chain KFC.

After months of telephone and email communication with M/s Karen Boyal, District Environmental Health Officer, Birmingham City Council she advised the complainant to contact the company direct “I would advise you to contact the Home Authority (Woking Borough Council,) for KFC directly; as I am yet to hear from them and the meat and chicken that they use is likely to affect all their outlets not just those in Birmingham.”

Whilst the local officer was laid back with the response, senior officers were approached, Only last month Food standard Agency, under the instruction of M/s Sarah Appleby Head of Enforcement and Local Authority Delivery Division at FSA issued the Guidance for halal food at a cost of 1.2 million to the Tax payers.

M/s Jacqui Kennedy, Director of Regulatory Services Regulatory Services Birmingham, was asked to intervene to find out why the Halal guide lines from FSA were not been implemented by Birmingham local authoritie, which cost in the region of over 1.2 Million Pound to compile, staff at the local authority Birmingham EHO have said even though they do not have any other guidance for halal they have no intention of following the guidance that have been issued by the Director of Regulation Service at FSA.

Furthermore the local director of Regulation Service has decided to commission their own report for halal food. The BBC’s You And Yours program says that halal meat now “accounts for around a quarter of the UK s meat trade”. The halal trade here in the UK is totally unregulated and the possibility of the next food disaster similar to BSE, these guidances was to address this problem, with the credit crunch the community at large are asking Who is going to pay for this report, will the Birmingham Tax payer be burden with this cost, bearing in mind a similar report has already cost Food standard Agency in the region of 1.2 million.

The danger of having halal meat unregulated will create the next BSE type of food problem in the UK. One Muslim Birmingham Leader said ” this is not fair under the guide lines all food has to be labeled correctly so that we can all make an informed choice and I am sure that other citizen of Birmingham who practice other faiths can not be sure that what they are eating does not go against their believes, more importantly we must all be supplied correctly labeled food.”

Birmingham community is once again divided and misguided by the local authority over misleading labeling over halal food. Muslim are convinced that they are being treated as second class citizens and outraged to find out that in the UK: Up to 75% of halal poultry falsely labeled this news was carried by all national mainstream news papers Up to three-quarters of poultry sold as halal in the UK is falsely labeled,

A spokes person for Birmingham Jamie Masjid said what I cant understand is why? Only last month Food standard Agency, under the instruction of M/s Sarah Appleby Head of Enforcement and Local Authority Delivery Division at FSA issued the Guidance for halal food at a cost of 1.2 million pounds. Birminghams been approached to carry out this instruction to regulate halal food. It appears that emails are being deliberately filtered so that the officers have an excuse not to reply.

Conservative Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) tabled a question last week to find out whether halal meat had been sold in the Commons outlets. He added there was cross-party support for halal meat to be clearly labelled. Mr Knight said: “This underlines the need to have proper labelling in place so people actually know what they are eating. It seems to me that there has been this drive in the food industry to do everything halal so it doesnt offend people. But as a consumer I would like to know what I am eating and how it was killed. The issue needs to be addressed and I hope it is something the Coalition does shortly.”

Fellow Tory Philip Hollobone (Kettering) said he was “not shocked or surprised” by Sir Stuart admission. He added: “I am angry because I do not think it is that difficult a problem to solve. It just needs the political will to do it. We are waiting for Europe to do something rather than taking the initiative ourselves or maybe the Government is frightened about upsetting ethnic minorities.”

Meanwhile, Conservative Andrew Rosindell (Romford), secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, said consumers had a right to know what they were eating. Question are also Being raised to what understanding Birmingham Regulatory Services have about halal , and how many Muslims EHO are employed to look at the halal issue bearing in mind that Birmingham is the second largest Muslim population in the UK.

One officer who refused to be named said this is just Tick Box exercise and a token gesture on behalf of the local authority here and across the UK. This highlights once again that EHO have no intentions catering for the Muslim community, forgetting the Muslim community correct labeling benefits the wider community more than the Muslim community. A recent coverage by the mail on Sunday shocked the nation and knocked the English meat industry for Six. With the story “Britain goes halal… but no-one tells the public: How famous institutions serve halal meat with no warning” in fact the BBC the One program showed that because of the labeling issue no one knew where or what meat was used in the burgers at Wembley. .