MuslimView‘s Neil Payne looks into three British Muslim Farms and the increasing demand for halal and tayyib food and produce as consumers become much more aware of how their food is produced.
Sowing the Seeds of Love: British Muslim Farmers and the demand for good food
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MuslimView: Reimagining British Muslims
When Muslims are faced with an issue, we go into reaction mode and switch our brains off and we send hundreds of emails and texts to spread the word. Whilst in principle this is a good thing, in practice we often become a link in a chain of misinformation. The whole Walkers Crisps and the use of alcohol issue is a case in point, we are all too ready to spread misinformation thinking it to be fact, we accept things that other Muslms tell us uncritically just because another Muslim has told us. We have too many non-specialists giving pronouncements on issues that should first be dealt with by scholars who are aware of all the facts.
Anyway I was pleased to see a post by Adnan on the Knowledge Seeker blog, a response from Walkers Themselves on this matter:
Many thanks for your email. We do not add alcohol to our products. However, ethyl alcohol may be present in trace amounts in a very sm all number of our flavours. It is used as a carrying agent for flavourings, and is found in many common food and drink products. Foods like bread can also contain the same or higher trace amounts due to fermentation. We are aware of the concerns from some Muslim consumers about the appropriateness of specific ingredients. We take the concerns of our consumers extremely seriously. In previous assessments by Muslim scholars, foods and drinks that contain trace amounts of ethyl alcohol have been confirmed as permissible for Muslim consumption because of both the fact that the ingredient does not bear its original qualities and does not change the taste, colour or smell of the product, and its very low level. If consumers have any further questions please contact the Walkers Consumer Care team on 0800 274 777.
We can forward a list of those products which are suitable for your diet in the post. Any which are not listed are not suitable for your particular diet. If you would kindly let us have your full postal address. I will see that a list is sent to you.
We do hope that we have been of help and you continue to enjoy our products. However, if you do have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us again on our Freephone number.
Yours sincerely benn
Consumer Care Advisor
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).