Sunday, February 10, 2013

Halal and Kosher

"In Israel, by contrast, the state is closely involved, promoting the Chief Rabbinate’s kosher label as the only acceptable one. But those standards are the lowest common denominator, says Mr Lytton, and many religious Jews find them too lax. They insist on stricter checks from private companies which costs extra.
Still, Jews are more united than Muslims about the exact nature of their religion’s dietary rules. Jewish law leaves no doubt that stunning animals before slaughter is prohibited. Muslims disagree about that. Hundreds of halal-certification bodies operate, with varying standards and logos. They differ in their methods of slaughter. Some countries allow products containing a small percentage of non-halal ingredients to be classed as halal. Others do not. “Halal” pies and pasties recently served to Muslim prisoners in British jails turned out to contain traces of pork—but came from a supplier approved by the Halal Food Authority, one of two main British guarantors (it has now delisted the firm).
Tayyabs, a popular Punjabi curry house in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, Britain’s most Muslim area, does not even bother with certificates. The manager says that he knows and trusts his suppliers and his customers know and trust him.
That may work for a small, local restaurant but multinational firms cannot be so nonchalant. Last month McDonald’s and one of its franchises in Dearborn in south-east Michigan, which has the country’s highest concentration of Arab-Americans, paid $700,000 to settle allegations (which it denies) that it had falsely advertised its food as meeting Islamic dietary laws."