The lack of any industry-wide production standard had led to reduced animal welfare standards across the UK halal industry, said Naved Syed. “If halal doesn’t have a standard and doesn’t have a guideline, you can sell whatever you like,” he said.
The Red Tractor mark would reassure consumers that the traceability and integrity of Janan’s supply chain met the standards upheld in the rest of the British meat industry. “I decided to make sure we do halal the way I think is right,” said Syed.
Britain had great potential to establish itself as an international exporter of halal meat, putting it on a par with major exporters such as Australia and New Zealand, he added. “Why are we not capturing these markets for the UK, which is struggling with meat?”
The move comes as halal producers look to capitalise on growing interest from supermarkets in halal meat.
Another halal supplier, National Halal, is in advanced negotiations with supermarkets about setting up in-store halal meat counters.
There was huge potential to tap into the next generation of Muslims who believed in one-stop shopping, National Halal MD Muhammed Yaqoob said. The export potential, particularly for halal British lamb, was also significant, he agreed. “We probably have the best lamb in the world,” he said.
The halal slaughter method of slitting the throat remains highly controversial with animal welfare groups.
Eblex has embarked on a low-profile project to distribute 200 DVDs to educate public procurement officials on the different methods of halal slaughter. They will also be distributing leaflets.
Britain’s Muslims make up 3.3% of the total population and Eblex estimates that Muslims eat close to five times more sheep meat than non-Muslims.