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Daily Mail adds fuel to halal meat row

Daily Mail adds fuel to halal meat row

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday September 09 2014

Chichester Observer and the Midhurst and Petworth Observer draw attention to a halal meat controversy at a college in West Sussex prompted by a story published on MailOnline claiming Chicester College was serving “Halal meat without telling students – just because it is cheaper”.

The article on the MailOnline reported that a diner had been ‘outraged’ upon discovering this telling the reporter “Personally, I’m against halal slaughter because it’s not only cruel but it spoils the quality of the meat.

“During the animal’s struggle toxins are released, spoiling the meat.

“I feel that it’s a personal choice of an individual whether or not they choose to eat halal.

“It’s disturbing that food establishments are not informing their customers of the meat they are serving.”

The local papers note a statement by a College spokesperson, Helen Ward, who said that no individual had contacted the College to make their concerns about the sale of halal meat products known to them. She also said that the catering firm that there were other eating establishments on the college grounds which did not serve halal meat and the one that did sourced its meat from an abattoir that used stunning prior to the cut.

The Daily Mail article however, claims that halal slaughter is “controversial because animals are killed by having their throats cut then having their blood drained.”

There is no mention of how shechita or kosher slaughter uses the same method and would therefore be just as ‘controversial’ if not more so given the use of prior stunning in the preparation of much halal meat unlike kosher meat.

The Daily Mail yet again overlooks the fact that figures published by the Food Standards Authority in 2012 showed that the number of animals not stunned prior to slaughter for both kosher and halal meat accounted for 3% of cattle, 10% of sheep and goats and 4% of poultry. This seems to suggest the ‘controversy’ has been entirely overblown by the newspaper.

Helen Ward in explaining the reason for sourcing halal meat at the College noted the arrival of international students from Muslim majority countries who indicated a preference for halal meat on site. She said:

“The main refectory is operated by Aramark, an external contract caterer, with whom the College has worked for many years. During the summer we had a number of international summer school students in College, many of whom were Muslim and required halal meat. At this point Halal lamb and chicken was served to satisfy the demand, halal beef has never been served.”

The Daily Mail further reports that supermarkets and restaurant chains have allowed “millions of customers” to be “left in the dark about what they are eating.”

While it observes that supermarkets, restaurant chains and academic institutions have been providing halal meat because it is “cost-effective”, it seems that the Daily Mail is reluctant to recognise that businesses in the food sector are increasingly valuing the potential of halal meat in the economic market as well as responding to consumer needs, as any viable business should.

It appears that the national paper has attempted to re-ignite its precarious campaign against halal meat once again in which it has repeatedly claimed halal meat is being ‘secretly’ supplied and served at various establishments including the military.


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