Halal boss calls for Food Standards Agency boycott

A member of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Muslim Organisations Working Group is calling on other representatives to boycott its next meeting.

Group member Naved Syed has urged others not attend a Working Group meeting on 14 July because he says the FSA is not sticking to its official halal guidelines.

Syed claimed: "In 2004 an agreement was made by the Muslim Organisations Working Group, which laid out clear guidelines aimed at food law enforcement officers in Local Authorities for the production and processes for halal food.

"It asked them to consider taking action, where appropriate, against food business operators who sell and mis-describe halal foods, in the same way as they would for any contravention of food law in food premises generally. This has not been implemented.

"The guidance to the law enforcement officers clearly states that machine slaughter is unlawful for halal slaughtering, (the) FSA is refusing to implement this, there is one set of guideline for the non-Muslim (community) and a different one for the Muslim community."

The guidelines also state that: "Officers are asked to consider action, where appropriate, against food business operators who sell and mis-describe halal foods, in the same way as they would for any contravention of food law in food premises generally."

A FSA spokesperson in response said: "This is a challenging area and we are aware of the need to achieve greater clarity around certain issues.

"The FSA’s priorities are to ensure all consumers have clear information about the food they purchase and that hygiene and slaughter regulations are implemented effectively. Next week’s meeting of the Muslim Organisation Working Group will discuss a range of issues around halal food."

>>MEPs vote for compulsory halal and kosher labels

>>Halal meat hub hopes for the UK

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