Red Tractor Logo.
When walking into any British supermarket they all pride themselves on selling British products where possible , this can be seen in any meat section at Asda,Tesco and Waitrose to name a few.
But do we know what we are eating? To help us we see logo’s like Red Tractor which guarantees:
- High standards of food safety and hygiene
- High Standards of animal welfare
- High Standards of Environmental protection
You would think looking at the logo that meat sold with this assured food standard is 100% British, but on contacting all major supermarkets, I was shocked to learn that in fact the standard means nothing and we are in fact eating Halal meat blessed with Islamic prayers and the animal having its throat cut until the blood drains out. In some cases it takes as long as six minutes for the animal to die even when stunned.
This practice says Tescos quote: We sell Halal meat in our stores to meet customer demand and to demonstrate that everyone is welcome at Tesco.
But what Tescos are forgetting that British people do not want to eat this Islamically blessed meat as most of us are Christian and many of us see this form of slaughter wrong with great suffering for the animal.
Tescos claim that the animal is stunned to feel no pain! , but is still alive, watching while its throat is cut until it dies, sometimes six minutes. ‘This is cruel,’ animal rights charities claim and not a quick clean kill. But most British shoppers might wonder why meat is dry when cooked from supermarkets, it might be because that Islamic law requires all blood drained from the meat.
Tescos go on to say like all other major UK supermarkets. We source from suppliers who serve Muslim as well as non-Muslim customers. Some of these suppliers process all their meat to Halal standards. For example, all New Zealand lamb meet’s Halal standards. In these cases, all of our processes still meet the same stringent animal welfare requirements and all animals are stunned prior to slaughter whether the meat is sold as Halal or non-Halal.
Asda on the other hand goes one step above the rest saying, where there is sufficient local demand, we may choose to enter into a Halal/Kosher concession agreement with a suitable third party business. We rent butcher's space within our stores to such concessions and sell their own branded Halal products. All of our concessions must adhere to Asda's Counters Concession policy, which is designed to ensure they have a safe and legal operation and product range. In other words all meat at these stores is Halal.
Waitrose says the following UK law currently permits halal slaughter both with stunning and without however, to maintain Red Tractor assurance scheme standards, signified by a logo on the label, Waitrose goes to say.
However, we will continue to allow the halal blessing for other lamb (with the exception of Duchy Originals from Waitrose and the English, West Country & Dorset lamb sold on our service counters) so that abattoirs can sell the parts of the carcass that we don't use to other markets.
This minimizes food waste, keeps prices down for our customers and helps our farmers to be competitive. And as far as labeling is concerned, there is currently no UK labeling scheme for halal and we believe this is a matter where Government should lead.
This is because, in order to give consumers clarity, there would need to be a consistent approach to cover not only supermarkets but butchers and other retailers, restaurants, cafes and the food production and catering industry as a whole.
For example, currently UK regulation allows the term halal to be used to meat that has been pre-stunned before slaughter and to that which has not. Labeling requirements would need to take this into consideration.