Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
For the benefit of visitors to our site we have compiled a list of commonly asked questions with their respective answers. If you feel that there are other questions that we should add to this page, then please let us know via our contact us page.
Q 1. Does Halal Food Authority have Muslim Slaughterman/men performing slaughter?
A. Licensed Muslim Slaughterman/men are present at the slaughtering stations, doing the rendition of Shahadah, Tasmiya, Bismillah-e-Allahu-Akbar – even in mechanised plants.
Q 2. Does Halal Food Authority approve slaughterhouses that have a fixed-blade for slaughtering or the one that is blessed once in the morning or at the start of production?
A. With Muslim Slaughterman/men present at the slaughtering station, HFA would not approve of any such act of blessing the blade.
Muslim Slaughterman/men at the slaughtering station would be, as a rule, reciting Shahadah all the time when each and every individual bird/animal is under the blade. Blades are not blessed and pre-recorded tapes are not played - Slaughterman/men continuously do the rendition and recitation of Shahadah for the total duration of slaughtering operation.
Q 3. Does Halal Food Authority allow stunning of birds and animals?
A. Yes, however, one has to be reminded that HFA has always maintained “no stunning to kill”.
- Captive Bolt Stunning – proscribed – prohibited
- Percussion Stunning – proscribed – prohibited (although above procedures for cattle are allowed by some Ulema’s in Africa & Germany)
- Gas Stunning – proscribed – prohibited (although Turkish Ulema’s have approved this method for pre-slaughtering of chicken)
- Halal Food Authority allows controlled electric stun-with-minuscule amperage, with official Veterinary Surgeon validating that the animal or the birds do not die prior to slaughtering.
There are two types of electric stunning that Halal Food Authority approves:
- Water-bath Stun – for Poultry
- Electric-Tong Stun – for Ovine meat
Q 4. Does HFA approve/allow slaughtering whilst Shahada is played on tape recorder in the back ground?
A. The answer is emphatically ‘no’. This is why even in completely automated plants HFA has licensed Muslim Slaughterman/men to do rendition of Shahada in person.
Q 5. Does HFA allow any one of other faiths to do halal slaughtering in Halal Food Authority approved slaughterhouse/s?
A. Answer is No – although the Book of Fiqh and Fatawas permits non-Muslims to do halal slaughtering. HFA believes that their Ni’yat – Intention for rendition of Shahada would not be the same as of a Muslim. Halal Food Authority in fact insists that Muslim Slaughterman/men in slaughter houses should be trained and licensed by the MHS. HFA approved slaughterhouses always have, even in automated plants, Muslim Slaughterman/men.
Q 6. How does Halal Food Authority approve Muslim Slaughterman/men? Does HFA licence them? Does HFA employ Slaughterman/men?
A. HFA approves and validates on declaration by
- The applicant of them being performing Muslims. Believers in Eiman, Salat, Saum, Zakat and Hajj. Additionally that they believe Mohammed (SAW) to be the last prophet.
- Successful candidates are licensed by the Meat Hygiene Services, York, through the official Veterinary Surgeon or his/her representatives.
- HFA does not employ Slaughterman/men, However, they are responsible to HFA and are deployed to be HFA eyes and ears – the resident inspectors for HFA.
Q 7. Does HFA rules require slaughtering facing Qibla?
A. Yes, notwithstanding that slaughterhouses in the UK had been constructed on orientation of light etc. HFA would surely insist for future constructions to be Islamically inclined to observe this edict.
Q 8. Does animal/bird hear the Shahada or Tasmiya recited by the Slaughterman/men at slaughtering station?
A. Books of Fatawas, does not make it mandatory. One should be mindful that the decibels in modern plant are so high that at times even the Slaughterman has to wear the earplugs. Ni’at or intention of slaughterer to slaughter in the name of Allah is compulsory and necessary – after all we are borrowing one from His flocks for our sustaining, consumption & nourishment.
Allah says in Qur’an:
فَكُلُوا مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِنْ كُنتُمْ بِآيَاتِهِ مُؤْمِنِينَ
Eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, if ye are believers in His revelations. (Al-Anam 6-118)
وَمَا لَكُمۡ أَلَّا تَأۡڪُلُواْ مِمَّا ذُكِرَ ٱسۡمُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡهِ
How should ye not eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned (Al-Anam 6- 1st Part of 119)
وَلَا تَأۡڪُلُواْ مِمَّا لَمۡ يُذۡكَرِ ٱسۡمُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡهِ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَفِسۡقٌ۬ۗ
And eat not of that whereon Allah’s name hath not been mentioned, for lo! it is abomination. (Al-Anam 6_ 1st part of 121)
May Allah give us hidayat to seek, procure and consume halal always – Insha Allah.
Q 9. How do we know HFA’s symbol on packaging is depicting validity of halal and why?
A. HFA, Alhamdulillah has devised a system of monitoring, endorsing and authenticating meat, poultry and foodstuffs that would always be contractually procured with Islamic axioms and full regards to EU relevant regulations of meat hygiene, food hygiene, food safety and environmental health.
Endorsees are to enter into an agreement that is directing them to abide by HFA rules and it facilitates Halal Food Authority to constantly do audit/s and inspection/s to ensure smooth running of the operation of halal. Endorsees, the members of Halal Food Authority’s endorsement network are also made to sign a Bond of Confidentiality. Enforcement of both these documents is testimony of the fact that there would hardly be any breach of rules; and there should not be a reason why the procurers would do any thing to tarnish their own image or dignity and market value of their halal approved products. Slaughterhouses have to ensure that they follow and adhere to EU regulations of hygiene and animal welfare together with Welfare of Animal Slaughtering and Killing Rules 1999-400 (WASK 99-400). Without compliance of this rule meat and poultry would not be defined as halal. To the best of ability HFA ensures that total production of a plant is halal validated regardless of the fact that some halal production does reach the non-halal traders.
For foodstuffs, in the light of the contract mentioned above procurer, manufacturer has to produce ingredients, constituents of products that are to be validated halal together with traceability and supplier details. Once these are checked for halal feasibility, plants are audited to ensure that there is enough capacity to produce halal without contamination with non-halal. On successful completion of these procedures, manufacturer is offered HFA membership and licence is issued with facilitation of named products. HFA logo is only depicted on the accredited halal products, to complete the cycle of endorsement.
There are series of audits commissioned during the course of the year of membership. In this technologically advanced era, HFA audit personnel would also make certain by perusing the computerised data that the operation of the procurer adheres to the covenants of the agreement.
HFA is proud of its transparency, openness, traceability, conformance of Islamic & relevant EU rules and orthodoxy of criteria and axioms of performance in relation to accreditation and endorsement. It would be too conceited to ascribe that HFA logo now is manifest symbol of authenticity nationally and internationally.
Q10. Does Halal Food Authority (HFA) London certify the halal KFC outlets?
A. Yes, Alhamdulillah Halal Food Authority works with KFC to ensure that all its halal outlets are supplied with only halal approved poultry including all other food items. It is a pleasure for HFA to cherish and rejoice with the Muslim community that for the first time in European history corporate restaurants such as KFC are serving halal only recipes and these approved stores are completely ‘PORK FREE’. All products and ingredients served in the halal approved KFC outlets have been rigorously checked and authenticated for halal status in compliance for halal axioms and ethos.
Q 11. Does Halal Food Authority, (HFA) London certify Nando’s?
A. No. Halal Food Authority does not work with Nando’s.
Q12. Does Halal Food Authority (HFA) London certify Romford Halal Meats Ltd?
A. Yes, Alhamdulillah Halal Food Authority works with Romford Halal Meats Ltd to certify their slaughterhouse for halal lamb, sheep and mutton only. Halal Food Authority does not certify beef at present.
Brief Guidelines for Halal Meat & Poultry Slaughter
Definition of Halal
The word ‘halal’ literally means permissible – and in translation it is usually used as lawful.
The Halal Food Authority rules for slaughtering birds or other permissible animals for halal purposes are based on Islamic Shari’ah laws, EU hygiene and Food Safety and Food Hygiene Regulations.
Origins of Halal
Muslims are commanded by Allah (SWT) in the Qur’an to eat only pure, wholesome and permissible food that is fit for human consumption. The Qur’an says:
i. “O, ye men! Eat of what is in the earth lawful and wholesome and follow not the footsteps of Satan; for verily he is an open enemy to you.” Al-Baqara 2:168
ii. “O, ye who believe! Eat of good things. We have provided with and render thanks to Allah. If Him it is ye worship.” Al-Baqara 2:172
iii.”And eat of what Allah hath given you (for food) that which is lawful and wholesome, and fear Allah in whom ye believe.” Al-Maida 5:88
iv. “So eat of that (meat) upon which Allah’s name has been mentioned, if you are believers in His verses” Al-Anam 6:118
v. “And do not eat that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for indeed it is a grave disobedience”. Al-Anam 6:121
vi. “O Messengers, eat from the pure foods and work righteousness” Al-Mu’minūn 23:51
Even the food which could come to hand from captives of war, according to Qur`an has to be:
i.”Eat then of what ye acquired in war, of things (which be) lawful and good and fear Allah, verily Allah is Oft-Forgiving, the Most merciful.” Al-Anfal 8:69
The Ahadith of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) also give us a lot of information on this regard:
i. Abu Baker RA narrated that Allah’s Messenger PBUH said “That body will not enter Paradise which has been nourished with Haram” (Baihaqi)
ii. Ka`b Ibn Ujrah relates that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said, “A body nourished with Haram will not enter Jannah”. (Tirmidhi)
iii. Jabir RA reported, Allah’s Messenger PBUH said, “That flesh will not enter Paradise which has grown from Haram, and all that flesh which has grown from Haram, the fire (of hell) is more worthy of it.” (Ahmed, Darimi, Baihaqi)
iv. Abu Hurayrah (RA) reports that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said, “a time will come upon the people wherein a man will not bother what he intakes; whether from Halal source or Haram.” (Bukhari)
Law in support of Halal
The Welfare of Animals Slaughtering and Killing Regulations 1999-400 (WASK 99-400) is the law in UK that has to be followed for everyday halal slaughter and, for Udhia/Qurbani slaughtering that takes place once a year at the time of Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, when Muslims have to sacrifice an animal as part of the annual ritual. The law in the United Kingdom directs that for halal slaughtering:
- An MHS (Meat Hygiene Services) licensed Muslim slaughterer would slaughter (in a)
- EU approved and licensed slaughterhouse and
- in the presence or supervision of an Official Veterinary Surgeon
For slaughterhouses within the EU and outside EU the requirements are that:
- A licensed and trained Muslim slaughterman must be present at the slaughtering station performing halal slaughter with the rendition of Tasmiyah (Bismillah-i-Allahu-Akbar) on each individual bird/animal.
- Halal slaughtering must be done in the presence of qualified meat inspector/s and/or approved veterinarian/s.
- Slagutherhouse/s must be approved/accredited for quality control systems e.g. ISO/GMP/HACCP/BRC e.t.c.
Ethics and ethos of animal welfare are always being complied with and more importantly, a discipline and decorum is being established for meat hygiene and environmental health laws.
To make meat halal or permissible, meat & poultry has to be slaughtered in a ritual way known as Zibah.
The Qur’an gives the following injunctions in chapter al-Maida 5:3 that
- An animal/bird should not be dead prior to slaughtering. Zibah requires animal(s)/bird(s) to be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter, and not be suffering with any ailments or any lacerations
- Forbidden is an animal that has been killed by strangling or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall
- A Muslim should perform the slaughtering and recite Tasmiyah or Shahadah, which fulfils the requirement of dedication. Even in every day life a Muslim is commanded to commence all his deeds in the name of Allah
- Carrion is forbidden and, jugular veins, carotid arteries and windpipes have to be severed by a razor sharp knife, at least four times the size of the neck by a single swipe, to incur as less a pain as possible
- All the flowing blood (Al- An`am 6:145) must be drained out of the carcass, as blood is forbidden for Muslim consumption
- Choice of modern scientific technological methods in vogue have to be considered with caution and these should be mirroring the Islamic ethos for them to be acceptable
- Since pork is forbidden, halal slaughtering must not be done where pigs are slaughtered or in the vicinity of pigs slaughtering area. Pork should be considered as an allergen for Muslims.
- As far as possible the slaughterer and the bird should face Qibla or Mecca.
Halal Food Authority mandates that no stunning is allowed to kill the animal prior to slaughter. However, since Islam is a religion of science, for the numbers and volume which the viable commercial enterprise requires, some kind of immobilisation of birds on the slaughtering line is permitted, to avoid injury to all concerned and bruising of the carcass. Bruised and bloodshot parts are neither to be sold, nor are they allowed in any way in achieving increased financial yields.
There are two known methods of rendering partially or completely immobilising the animals:
1. Gas system for asphyxiation
Gas smothers the bird and there is no known revival method, so this is not permitted
2. Electric-water bath stunning
With this method, because of the lowest amperage, the birds are calmed down and do not succumb to death prior to slaughtering. Upon slaughtering by a licensed Muslim slaughterman all the flowing blood is drained out in compliance of halal standards.
Slaughtering of Poultry
When slaughtering birds/poultry for halal purposes it should be mandatory that the birds are slaughtered from the throat and not the neck and only severing the jugular veins, carotid arteries and windpipes by a razor sharp knife, at least four times the size of the neck by a single swipe, to incur as less a pain as possible. It is imperative to note that:
- ‘DORSAL’ cut is not permitted
- All flowing blood should be drained out of the carcass and
- At the time of slaughtering A Muslim should do the rendition of Shahadah on every individual bird/animal
- Blessed blades or recorded Tasmiyah/Shahadah is not permitted
- Shahadah cannot be only recited at the beginning of the slaughtering; it has to be recited every time an animal/bird is slaughtered/under the blade.
HACCP & Hygiene
Established HACCP systems must be in place at the premises. No carcass should come from the abattoir without having been passed by an OVS – as being deemed to be fit for human consumption. It has to be ensured that the carcasses are not mixed with non-Halal carcasses, whilst on site or in transit to customers. Strict traceability measures are necessary.