What is the Criteria of Halal?
Criteria and Definition of Halal – Report Submitted by the LCM Halal Sub-Group (April 2007)
- Introduction:In June 2006, the LCM Halal Sub-Group was established to inter alia to consult Community Leaders, scholars and industry experts and set out the criteria and definition of Halal. Over the past nine months, the Sub-Group has consulted with community leaders, scholars and experts and investigated this issue. The Sub-Group has also consulted various Halal accreditation organisations both nationally and internationally to understand the various definitions that exist, their methodology and any practical or legal challenges.
In reaching its conclusion, the Sub-Group has considered the diverse interpretations and chose a definition that accords with the majority view of Muslims in Lancashire and is a universal criterion in so far as the consumption of Halal is concerned. The LCM as an umbrella body advocates unity and the Sub-Group has therefore adopted a criterion which is acceptable to the diverse communities of Lancashire and beyond.
Furthermore, within the UK context, the Sub-Group has added a procedural criterion which does not form part of the substantive criteria but is equally important in a market where the Halal label is not protected. The Sub-Group has also considered the controversial issue of animal feed but has not incorporated this into the essential criterion of Halal.
- Criteria of Halal Slaughter: The term Halal is an Arabic term which means permissible or lawful. In reference to food, it is the Islamic dietary standard. The criterion below is the criteria for Halal Slaughter which is essential for an Animal to be lawful. This only applies to those animals which are suitable for Muslim consumption. For our purposes, this includes poultry, cattle, sheep and excludes swine.
- The slaughterman must be a Muslim
- The slaughterman must personally invoke the name of Allah prior to every slaughter
- The slaughterman must conduct the slaughter manually and swiftly with a sharp knife
- The slaughterman must severe at least three of the four arteries
- The slaughter process must avoid all forms of stunning and the animal must be alive prior to slaughter
- Procedural Criteria: The Halal Market is largely unregulated in the UK and there are no legal mechanisms for consumers to ensure they are in receipt of genuine Halal. As a consequence, consumers find it difficult to ascertain whether the Halal products originate from an abattoir that fulfils the criterion as set out above. It is therefore equally important to ensure there is a full audit trail from the consumer to the slaughter process. The procedural criterion is as follows:
- The slaughter process must be certified by an independent organisation
- The independent certifying organisation must be a not for profit body, preferably registered with the Charity Commission or its equivalent if located in jurisdictions beyond England & Wales
- The independent certifying organisation must have physical presence of monitors in the abattoirs throughout the entire slaughter process to ensure the slaughter criteria is adhered to
- The independent certifying body must have a robust mechanism of certification and audit throughout the supply chain
- The independent certifying body must have a stringent policy and mechanism on separation to avoid any form of cross-contamination
- LCM Endorsement: LCM will only endorse certifying bodies that meet the aforementioned substantive and procedural criterion. LCM reserves the right to make further enquiries with players in the supply chain and could refuse endorsement where adequate information is not provided.
- Other Legal Requirements: The criterion set out does not refer to the legal requirements of the slaughterman, or the health and safety requirements. The criterion should be regarded by abattoirs to compliment other obligations they may have to fulfil as this document aims to set out the definition of Halal, which does not contravene the law as it stands on April 2007.