May 13, 2014

Should all Meat in the UK be Labeled? Kosher Sources Think Yes

LONDON — The on again-off again onslaught against kosher and hallal meat is off for now but kosher and hallal sources have joined forces on the issue of whether meat should be labeled. It appears that most of the meat sold in supermarket chains and fast food stores is indeed unlabelled hallal meat. Some are advocating labeling the meat as “not having been stunned.”  But the unsuspecting average consumer would really like to know if they are eating Hallal meat. On the other hand, those who really require Hallal would really like to know that what they are eating is indeed Hallal. 

The British Retail Consortium, representing the supermarket chains and Prime Minister David Cameron have objected to the labeling, though for different reasons. The BRC says that it does not believe that its customers care about the origin of their meat. The Prime Minister thinks that labeling is “for retailers and restaurants to work with customers and consumer groups and representatives of faith organizations,” rather than for legislators. Shechita UK called for a “far more comprehensive labeling of meat, which does not stigmatize faith communities of religious slaughter.” In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, Shechita UK chairman Henry Grunwald and the Muslim Council of Britain’s Dr Shuja Shafi asserted that all meat products should be labeled according to the method of slaughter employed, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. 

One kosher source told KosherToday: “I am not sure if this affects us at all but it is good to keep our coalition to protect schechita intact.”

Illustration by Laura Lee Dobson