US firm vows to clear name in fake Gulf halal food case

TextA US-based food company accused of supplying beef to several Gulf countries that it falsely claimed was halal has urged its customers to “reserve judgment” until it is able to defend itself against the allegations.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Midamar Corporation, based in Iowa, in Midwestern USA, had been accused of supplying nearly $5 million worth of beef to Muslim customers in Malaysia, Kuwait and the UAE.

Directors of the company, named as brothers Jalel and Yahya ‘Bill’ Aossey, have been charged by US federal prosecutors with nearly 100 counts of conspiring to make and use false statements and documents, sell misbranded meat and commit mail and wire fraud.

But in a statement posted on its website, Midamar said: “It has come to our attention that some news agencies are publishing half-truths and misleading information concerning Midamar.  We at Midamar appreciate the loyalty and support of all of our customers, suppliers and stakeholders.

“”Midamar is a Halal food company in its essence and practice. Midamar does not accept these allegations and is now seeking to understand what the government is basing these allegations on.”

Its sister company, Islamic Services of America, which is approved to distribute to Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE, has also been implicated in the action.

Prosecutors claimed the beef came from a supplier that used bolt stunning to kill cattle and the labels were removed by employees to cover up the real source of the meat.

Midamar’s statement added: “Since 2010 Midamar has been fully compliant with USDA export regulations. This administrative labeling infraction is being misconstrued and sensationalized by the media as a deliberate attempt by the company to commit Halal fraud.

“Midamar beef slaughter takes place in Muslim and Jewish religious ritual slaughter facilities… Midamar is faced with dealing with a government that does not fully understand the complexities and global sensitivities of the Halal market.

“Most importantly, the company is getting inquiries and comments from Halal consumers that are understandably concerned that Midamar may be selling them meat that is not Halal.  We ask that our customers reserve judgment until the company is able to develop a defense to these allegations.”

The company said it is “working tirelessly” to investigate and understand the allegations, adding it would be “counterproductive and immoral on our part to knowingly sell Halal meat that is not Halal”.