‘Consensus’ is not a word you expect to hear in the context of a debate about religious slaughter. But as halal meat once again made headlines this week, it was striking how many parties appeared to agree on one key point: consumers ought to get clearer information about slaughter methods.

“Consumers will expect to be levelled with on the halal issue”

Julia Glotz, Buying & Supplying Editor

How to achieve this in practice is less clear, however. Typically, those calling for better labelling simply want it spelt out if an animal was not stunned prior to slaughter, but others want requirements to ensure no halal or kosher meat is ‘secretly’ sold to an unsuspecting public.

Figuring out which of these demands to respond to and doing so without contributing to a public discourse that vilifies religious groups is going to be a challenge for retailers and suppliers. Plus, a desire by some for clearer labelling must be balanced with the need to keep supply chains efficient and prices affordable for all.

Dodging the issue is not an option: with accurate food labelling high on the public agenda post-Horsegate, consumers will expect the industry to level with them.