What is Halal meat?
There have been calls for clearer labelling of halal products in shops, restaurants and takeaways. But what is halal food and halal meat?
What is halal meat?
Halal is Arabic for permissible. Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the Koran.
The Islamic form of slaughtering animals or poultry, dhabiha, involves killing through a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe.
Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood is drained from the carcass. During the process, a Muslim will recite a dedication, know as tasmiya or shahada.
There is debate about elements of halal, such as whether stunning is allowed.
Stunning cannot be used to kill an animal, according to the Halal Food Authority (HFA), a non-profit organisation that monitors adherence to halal principles. But it can be used if the animal survives and is then killed by halal methods, the HFA adds.
Is it different from kosher meat?
Kosher food complies with Jewish dietary law (kashrut), again governing what can and cannot be eaten by those practising the faith.
There are similarities in the method of slaughter in that both require use of a surgically sharp knife and specially-trained slaughtermen.
Jewish law strictly forbids the use of stunning and meats are not blessed in the same way.
Unlike for halal, kashrut does not require God’s name to be said before every slaughter after an initial blessing.
Kashrut forbids the consumption of certain parts of the carcass, including the sciatic nerve and particular fats.
Halal also forbids consumption of some carcass parts including the testicles and bladder.
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