Up to three-quarters of poultry sold as halal in the UK is falsely labelled, an industry group has warned. The majority of halal-labelled poultry and a small amount of beef and lamb were slaughtered by machine rather than an individual, Naved Syed, of the English Beef and Lamb Executive Halal Steering Group, told The Grocer magazine.
The meat was being passed off as halal because the slaughter method was not usually printed on labels.
Mr Syed said: “If you told Muslims it was done by a machine they wouldn’t buy it. Practically all imams in this country have said that machine killing is not halal. Otherwise there’s no difference between halal and non-halal.”
The UK does not have a single standard for halal slaughter. Many Muslim countries have outlawed the practice after the internationally-recognised Malaysian Halal Standard MS 1500 removed machine slaughtering as an acceptable practice last year.
The Birmingham Council of Mosques said last week that it did not accept machine slaughter.
Mr Syed said his organisation was carrying out consumer research into attitudes towards halal production.
The study will cover the growth of the Muslim population in England, the demand for halal products, the supply chain and changing consumption trends.
Zahid Hussain, chairman of poultry processor Cappoquin Poultry, told The Grocer: “Machine slaughter is definitely not a lawful condition of halal. You have to have a manual slaughter and also each bird needs to be blessed.”