Halal is the permitted food for Muslims. The term ‘Halal’ is supposed to mean “permitted”. For religious reasons, Muslims are supposed to eat the meat of an animal that has been religiously killed. In other words, the animal, for an example of a cow, goat, camel, a chicken, should be killed humanely (Ahmad, Abaidah, & Yahya, 2013). Blood needs to be thoroughly drained out, and a blessing needs to be said so that the animal is blessed. Muslims do not eat animals such as pigs and carnivals. Like other religions, the Muslims have food that is permitted to them by their religion. Since they have to eat only this food, it becomes very difficult to those who live in areas dominate by other religions. What they can only feed on are vegetables and fruits since that has got no specific way that they should be prepared. Because they need meat specifically slaughtered in a specific way, the market for halal food is very vast and this has brought about a lot of fraudsters taking advantage of the customers who have no idea they are being sold foods that is not halal (van Waarden, 2013). This paper will be looking at what is halal and fraud associated with the food.
In the year 1970, there were only 10 groceries in the United States that was selling Halal food. In a country as vast as the U.S, it is evident that such a number is small, and a lot of Muslims were being underserved. The inconvenience that the situation presented them is unimaginable. Having ten groceries store in a state is small a number, leave alone having 10 in a whole country. In other words, there were many states that did not have any store to serve their children. By the year 2012, there were over 2,300 stores dealing with halal food (Sacirbey, 2013). The number of restaurants was more than 6,300 by this time. Such number clearly was good news for the Muslims as they no longer had to travel vast distances so as they can buy meat. Also, it meant that it was now possible to eat out in hotels sure that the food you are feeding is halal. For the hotels, they need you ensure that they only sell halal and nothing else to their customers. In this case. A hotel that was selling halal products should not sell any other food but halal. They should therefore not sell pork, bacon, or any other pork products. Still, there are that number of restaurants which means that the halal industry is quite huge. According to the nutrition council, the U.S. consumers reportedly spent over $11 billion on halal products (Sacirbey, 2013). There has been some controversy surrounding halal food in regard to how the animal should be slaughtered. Some Muslims argue that animals can be machine-killed as long as a prayer is said before the slaughter. Other Muslims, however, believe that only hand-killed animals are halal.
Fraud has been one of the major issues plaguing halal. Today, there are so many store selling food and most of them advertising it as halal. Unfortunately, some of these stores and restaurants sell food that is not halal but passing it off as halal for the whole community including the Muslims. Some time ago, McDonalds, the largest fast-food chain on the planet, announced the discontinuation of its sale of chicken sandwiches and chicken nuggets at two restaurants. This inevitably affected the Muslim people due to the realization that they might as well been eating food that that they think is halal but is not. It also occurred to the Muslims that companies may have been engaging in fraudulent advertising, a situation that clearly spelled doom to the community as they would want to know who the legitimate dealers of halal food. With the McDonald’s announcement that it would discontinue selling halal food, it followed that McDonalds paid $700,000 to settle the suit, although the company maintained that it had not engaged in unscrupulous behaviour (Sacirbey, 2013). Other companies dealt with the same hand were Super King Market that paid $527,000 for alleged false advertising of generic and mixed food passing it off as halal for the Muslim to buy.
Since it is possible that there are more stores that do not sell halal food, it is important that the Muslims who want to eat halal become vigilante of the stores that ensure that the food they sell is halal. There is a website known as zabihah.com (a name that is borrowed from the Muslim ritual of animal slaughter) offers many details on stores that sell halal food (Sacirbey, 2013). For customers who are unsure of what they are buying, they can always check the reviews and posts customers leave on the website. Unfortunately, most people do not pay attention and very few know of the existence of the site meaning that they may continue buying food that is not halal. Islamic Services of America is essential in keeping an eye on slaughter houses that provide halal food to make sure that they practice proper slaughter practices and that they animal meet that leaves the places is halal. Unfortunately, they may never be able to track all stores in America. This means that the people should always be on the lookout for fraudulent dealers who claim they are selling halal food but are not.
- Ahmad, N. A., Abaidah, T. N., & Yahya, M. H. A. (2013). A study on halal food awareness among Muslim customers in Klang Valley. In The 4th International Conference on Business and Economic Research (4th icber 2013) Proceeding (pp. 1073-1087).
- Sacirbey, O. (2013, June 28). Halal Food Fraud Worries Muslim-American Community. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- van Waarden, F., & van Dalen, R. (2013). Halal and the Moral Construction of Quality: How Religious Norms Turn a Mass Product into a Singularity. Constructing Quality: The Classification of Goods in Markets, 197.