Naved Syed Board member of EBLEX Halal steering Group said that In his opinion the main problem with halal meat and poultry here in the UK is that so many companies are doing covert halal.
The recent problem with Hamza Food, even though they are a Muslim company, has highlighted this problem. According to Hamza Food, their burgers and sausages were being manufactured by Penny Lane in Somerset who are not a dedicated halal plant. By using these plants this problem will continue; with more and more school and colleges finding pork and Haram contamination in their halal products, and this is just the tip of the iceberg .
Most covert halal companies in the UK do not take the manufacturing and processing of halal products seriously, and use their claim of using halal slaughtered meat and poultry to be their guarantee that this is true.
Also, by not declaring that they are manufacturing halal to non Muslims, they are prepared to deceive some communities who do not want halal, causing ethical and moral issues. Even with companies who have BRC certification we have seen horse and Pork DNA get in to their products. This also includes halal certification (HFA) where last month we had pies and pasties in the prison services (HMPS) with trace of Pork in their products, so certification is no guarantee.
There are over 3.3 million Muslim in the UK of which there over 1.2 million Muslim of them are in London there spending power is over£22.5 Billion in the UK the overall value of the UK halal market today is estimated to be worth over £900 million to the UK economy.
The estimated Muslim population in the UK is set to rise from 4.8% in 2011 to 8.5% by 2030, the halal market in the UK is one of the few segments showing real growth yet it’s the only market that is not regulated.
With over 2500 Muslim butchers shops in the UK being the only segment of the meat industry that has not be contaminated by Pork or Horse meat, it has been identified as the most trusted by all communities, as all their sourcing of meat and poultry is local. As Muslims never purchase frozen meat, this has the opportunity of driving the local economy development and rural regeneration for the British farming community .
Recent economic crises in the farming community have revealed and often widened inequalities within countries. With the weakening of traditional sources and patterns of work, and the expansion of the informal economy, bottom-up interventions responding to local needs emerge as key strategies for Halal meat to create jobs where they are most needed.
The promotion of Local Economic Development (LED) signals the drive for rooting employment creation by building on the comparative advantages and the unique characteristics of localities.
The remedy for the UK halal meat and poultry here in the UK is an ethical and moral issue which has to be addressed firstly by ceasing covert halal, and secondly regulating the industry. This can be achieved by adopting the Guidance notes issues on halal food as issued by Food standard Agency (FSA).
More meat and poultry is produced as covert halal than ever which is dividing communities, as more and more in the community are been forced to consume halal without been told. All communities have a right to know where their meat is coming from and how it was processed. Any processer doing covert halal has no respect for its fellow community and cannot be trusted.