Category Archives: Food

Halal Sausages

Sausages – a dirty word when I was growing up because they have always been haram and made from pork and everyone knows that if you say the word “P. I. G.” your tongue will be defiled (in Urdu: “paleet” meaning ritually unclean or soiled) until you ate a banana or fish (I kid you not!). So the thought of eating sausages or even casting one’s glance on them was an abhorrent thought! Such is the conditioning that we are put through as Muslim children that until recently I was suffering cognitive dissonance with regards to halal sausages! They are sausages but they are halal, they are sausages but they are halal, they are sausages but they are halal . . . does not compute. Anyway, having got over it and having sampled some of the halal sausages on offer, I don’t have an issue any more and so “halal sausages” now computes with me!

I must say that a lot of the sausages on offer are nothing to write home about, some of the Turkish ones are passable if a bit bland and the KQF ones are OK. I have been dying to try traditional British sausages but have not been able to locate them anywhere, that is until now. The good people at Abraham Natural Produce to a selection of halal sausages that sound rather tasty, I have placed my order with them and now eagerly awaiting confirmation and delivery. There are a few varieties to choose from as well:

Garlic & Herb – Subtle background flavour of garlic.

Basil & Tomato – chopped Italian sun-dried tomatoes with sweet basil leaves.

Goan Vindaloo – a Goan speciality of Portuguese origin. Made with garam masala, chillies, garlic and ginger. Hot hot hot!

Korma Curry – adapted from the Indian dish. Contains coconut, lemon grass and Eastern spices.

Traditional British – a good old British banger.

Chiang Mai – originating from northern Thailand with coconut, lemon grass and Thai spices.

Cost: ?6.99 p/kilo & P+P

Abraham Natural Produce supply a whole host of halal meat products, organic an usual so it is worth checking out their online shop (not an ecommerce site).

Freeman’s of Newent and the Nando’s scare!

UPDATE:

The Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence UK have certified Freeman’s as Halaal after much painstaking research and an unannounced visit to the plant. They are satisfied with the level of their standards to provide Halaal. The Scholars have made sure that there is a strict demarcation between the Haraam and Halaal meats in Freeman’ so that contamination is not possible. They do stun but at a low voltage (which means that the chicken is not killed in the process) hence Halaal. A scholar on the board told me that after the stunning, they picked up some chickens and they were far from dead just slightly groggy.

Read the rest of the article at the Gloucester Muslim Welfare Association’s Food Guide website.
as-salamu ‘alaykum,

Every few months an email circulates about Freeman’s halal chicken and it is usually a scare story which mentions Nando’s as not being halal because of the stunning that Freeman’s of Newent do (no mention of the hundreds of other Muslim owned outlets that serve Freeman’s halal chicken!). I had forwarded the latest Nando’s halal-scare email to Freeman’s to get to the bottom of the story.

I have just spoken directly (by ‘phone) to Ali Bham the head slaughterman of Freeman’s of Newent.

Ali Bham is a Gujerati Indian Muslim who has been slaughtering for Freeman’s for the last 23 years. He tells me that Freeman’s uses low voltage, high frequency stunning prior to slaughter, each bird receives a 4.2 volt shock and then hand slaughtered. This system, he says, was specifically designed and developed for the halal market. The equipment is regularly tested to ensure that it does not induce death prior to slaughter. He told me that when they apply this stun to a chicken, after a few minutes it gets up and walks away and he has never known a chicken to have died using this method.

The demand for halal chicken is about 50,000 birds a day and so in order to fulfil this demand they (and like many other poultry production units as well) have to utilise stunning. Now, my understanding of stunning is that in and of itself it doesn’t necessarily make the animal haram, it is if the animal has died prior to the slaughter that determines its status as halal or haram. Ali tells me that he can give a personal guarantee, as a Muslim that not a single bird dies before being slaughtered. He went onto say that should anyone wish to visit their facilities at any time they are free to do so. Ali also mentions that Mufti Yusuf Sacha of the Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence from Batley (in Yorkshire) visits their facilities and is 100% satisfied with their production output as being halal (my cousin Najam Sheikh also spoke with Mufti Yusuf directly to confirm). You can read a statement on The Gloucester Muslim Welfare Association website to that effect which I have reproduced below:

Answered: 31/08/2003
Last Updated: 03/02/2007 February 2007
Confirmed with Mufti Yusuf that the information herein is still correct.

April 2006 – We have confirmed with Mufti Yusuf that the information herein is still correct.

Assalamooalaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Respected Sister/Brother, We would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us all to serve His cause and render our work for His Sake. Hereunder is the response to your query subject to disclaimer:

At the outset we would like to point out that the Foodguide cannot advise you as to what method Freeman’s use for dhabah (Islaamic Slaughter) nor do we have the resources and manpower to follow through such queries (at present).

However, we are reliably informed that the Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence, Batley have concluded that the chicken slaughtering regime at Freeman’s is Halaal. We would also advise that there is a similar organisation based in Leicester which refuse to certify any slaughterhouses that stun and to this end have refused to certify Freeman’s. Notwithstanding, the Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence is headed by two reliable and reputable scholars viz: Mufti Yusuf Sacha and Mufti Faheem Mayaat.

The choice as they say, is yours.

Allah reward you for using the Foodguide Service. Allah give us tawfique to eat Halaal all the time. Please tell your friends and please pray for us too…. and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Was-Salaamu alaikum
Foodguide Administrator

As with all things, if in doubt leave and as the Foodguide administrator says “the choice is yours”.

wa’as-salam

Mas’ud
www.masud.co.uk

Blog Reloaded: Halal Meat in the UK

BUMP! – This is a post from April 2005 about the issue of halal meat in the UK. The comments section has some good discussion points and I thought that I would bump this for further discussion

Halal Meat in the UK

Last week I was discussing the the whole issue of halal meat with a few friends. We came to the conclusion that “real” halal meat is increasingly hard to come by, having said that we did recognise that we all should have husn al-zann with the meat that we are supplied with, since if a Muslim tells you something is halal you accept it unless you know for a fact that it isn’t. There were many factors that we discussed that lead us to this conclusion. Firstly our insatiatiable demamd for meat; there is no way that this demand can be met without cutting a few corners at the slaughterhouse. I know that chicken slaughter is very hi-speed and there is a very high throughput of live chickens and those conducting the slaughter just don’t have the time to say “bismillah Allahu akbar” on every chicken when the automatic knives make the cut. With regards to slaughter of larger animals, there is a widespread use of stunning and electric shock as is well discussed and documented and so I am not going to go into the ins and outs of that.

The other factor that we discussed is how many people actually know how to do “dhabiha”, Any Tom, Dick or Harry can get a Slaughterman’s license and anyone can say “Bismillah Allahu Akbar” and run a knife across the throat of an animal, but how many know exactly where to make the cut or the other ahkam that need to be fulfilled? I think as the years go by there will be less and less people with this skill and certainly this is a concern. There is absolutely no training available for the people doing “dhabiha” and even if there were it would have to be on live animals and this is not possible; anyone for Deen Intensive on the Fiqh of Islamic Slaughter?

My father runs a halal meat and grocery shop and has done so for nearly 40 years. When I was younger, our business was one the very few businesses of this kind that used to supply meat and chickens slaughtered by ourselves. From an early age I used to accompany my father to the slaughterhouse and observe the slaughter of sheep and lambs. From what I remember, my father observed all the ahkam of slaughter and never cut corners. This was reflected in the quality of the meat that we used to supply to our customers and people used to come from far and wide to buy meat from our shop and the reputation grew, even our non-Muslim customers preferred the meat that we supplied to the local butcher even though it was cheaper. Unfortunately for the last 7 or 8 years we have been supplying meat from a wholesaler of halal meat as all the local slaughterhouses shutdown one by one due to Government regulations and EU regulations it became uneconomical for small slaughterhouses to operate. For a time we did use a local farmer who was a friend of the family to supply us with sheep and the use of his farm slaughterhouse but due to the BSE and other health scares it became too risky for him.

My father once told me that there was a man who used to supply “halal” meat quite cheaply in Luton and this man used to use the same slaughterhouse that my father used to use. This man used to slaughter 6 or 7 animals for his own use and then let non-Muslim slaughtermen to finish off the rest of his order! My father was outraged and offered to slaughter his animals for free but he never took up the offer. This was going back 15 or 20 years, I don’t think this guy is supplying “halal” meat anymore. There are some unscrupulous halal meat suppliers who don’t realise that this is an amanah – a sacred trust – that has to be safeguarded.

I think if Muslims reverted back to the Sunnah practice of eating very little meat this would certainly go some way in helping as well as improving the health of the community by lessening the illnesses relating to eating too much red meat. I also think that consumer pressure should be applied in that we should demand the highest standards even if that means paying more for it. There is too much apathy on our part, whilst husn al-zann is praiseworthy it shouldn’t make us complacent in demanding the halal and tayyib.

wa’as-salam

Mas’ud
www.masud.co.uk