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Open Letter: Halal Meat Petition

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Open Letter: Halal Meat Petition

Country/Region: United Kingdom

Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP

Defra
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

03 December 2010

ATTN: Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dear Mrs Spelman,

Open Letter: Halal Meat Petition

I am writing to express our concern over recent reports revealing the sale of halal meat at some of Britain's most popular supermarkets, sporting venues, restaurants, schools and hospitals, without the public's knowledge.

The use of halal meat in the UK is increasing so quickly that already most of the imported lamb on our shelves is halal. You will be aware that halal has even been served to MPs at Westminster without their knowledge, sparking calls for tougher laws on food labelling.

We believe that halal food should not be imposed on everybody, but  that Christians and other non-Muslims should have the freedom to make an informed choice about whether or not to eat meat that has been religiously slaughtered according to sharia (Islamic law). We recommend therefore that halal food should always be labelled as such, and that non-halal alternatives should always be available to consumers.

We would like to bring to your attention a recently launched petition that is intended to express our main concerns. The completed petition will be presented to Government, the heads of Britain's leading supermarkets and the Food Standards Agency, to challenge current practices.

Members of the public who sign the halal petition:

  • support the freedom of religious groups to access food and other products that meet the requirements of their faith
  • are concerned about the massive growth of sharia-compliant products for everyone whatever their faith, often without consumers, parents of school children and others being informed or consulted
  • do not want to pay for halal products when a proportion of the money will go to an Islamic agency for halal certification
  • are concerned about non-labelling of halal foods and products and call upon government agencies and the food industry to label halal products clearly (this practice should be welcomed by both Muslims and non-Muslims)
  • are concerned about the lack of informed choice for consumers in supermarkets, restaurants etc and call upon the food industry to ensure that halal does not become the general default option in non-Muslim countries

We would be very grateful if you could please raise our concerns with all relevant parties. We would be delighted to discuss these matters further or provide additional information relating to the issues we raise. Perhaps it would be possible for representatives of various concerned groups to meet with you at a convenient time.

Thank you for your time and we look forward to a positive outcome.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo

International Director, Barnabas Fund

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