The Halal Food Authority (HFA) is set to certify non-stun meat in a move that could cause major ramifications for the halal food industry.
Up until now the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) had been at the forefront of promoting non-stun certification.
The difference in opinion comes from the notion of whether an animal which had been stunned before slaughter could be deemed ‘halal,’ or whether the animal was alive before the ritual slaughter.
The HMC would not certify meat that had been stunned before the ritual slaughter.
Now, the HFA will launch a separate certification label and logo allowing businesses to choose. The HFA still remains the more widely used certification body across many parts of the UK.
The HFA said the decision came ‘as a result of interest received from halal industry stakeholders, including current and potential customers and consumers, and to provide greater transparency to consumers.’
The new initiative will include, ‘More rigorous inspection and regular audits by experts and qualified individuals.’ The HFA said, “It had accepted traditional halal slaughter since its inception in 1994 but has also been actively supporting and certifying recoverable/reversible stunning.
“Due to unfortunate events of a series of malpractices observed and reported for some slaughterhouses that undertake traditional halal slaughtering for Muslims, which has a wider negative effect on the wider halal marketplace, HFA now intends to pro-actively raise standards in this segment of the industry as well.”
However, this separate certification did not mean the organisation would not certify non-stun meat.
The statement adds, “HFA believes that both methods are Shariah compliant (subject to rules and criteria stipulated in halal standards), and are permissible not only in the UK and Europe but across the globe.
“HFA will continue to support and approve recoverable/reversible stunning for halal purposes, subject to regular audits and inspections, to ensure that all of our existing clients and consumers needs are met.”
The statement continued, “A new logo will carry the Organisation’s Name (Halal Food Authority or HFA) and will also have appropriate symbol or phrase to identify Traditional Halal slaughtered meat. “This new logo shall be our registered trademark and its usage shall be pre-authorised and monitored. HFA will also create a new separate Manual for this scheme.
“Appropriate measures would be put in place to ensure effective labelling and communication of halal meat and products derived from traditionally slaughtered animals/birds.”
It also adds, “All abattoirs and portioning facilities under this scheme shall be subject to constant (100%) onsite HFA supervision.
“Supervisors shall be appropriately trained by the HFA and their job description shall be discussed and contractually agreed with the abattoirs and producers that are subject to HFA certification.”