Halal Meat May Be Processed Differently, But Is it Safer?
From the Huffington Post
Food processed in concordance with Muslim dietary laws is called Halal. Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible.” Although traditionally, meat slaughtered under Jewish kosher practices were consumable by Muslims, most authorities today only accept meat slaughtered by a method called “zabiha.”
Today, halal meat is largely produced in commercial slaughterhouses staffed by specially trained Muslim workers who conduct the actual slaughter and supervise the subsequent processing. The animal must be healthy so the workers are trained to identify diseases that would render the animal unclean. Most facilities also have government inspectors on the line so the product still meets government standards.
But the focus of halal is on ensuring spiritual purity rather than science-based cleanliness, so buying halal food does not guarantee your food will be safe. Last year a Halal food processor in British Columbia was charged with several counts of knowingly selling food unfit for human consumption and a similar case was reported in Texas. Fortunately, such cases are rare and problems also occur with non-halal products.
In a federally regulated Halal facility, there would have been ritual slaughterers in addition to the government inspectors. With extra pairs of eyes watching the line, it may be harder to commit fraud or skirt legislation. However, Halal certification does not mean that the food is free from harmful microbes, extraneous materials, or chemical contamination.
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