Minister for Food and Farming Jim Fitzpatrick MP met with the Efra Select Committee member David Taylor MP and Halal meat campaigner and Janan Meat MD Naved Syed to discuss gaining ministerial support for a Halal assurance scheme.
Syed said: “Having a clean safe and fully traceable supply chain for Halal meat is the minimum Muslim consumers deserve, as this will see a parity of standards with non-Halal meats.
“With an increasing number of multiple retailers now wishing to sell Halal meat the issue of assurance is becoming key.
“Equally the issue of assured meat is of growing importance within the public sector, as many caterers are seeing large rises in Muslim consumers while being encouraged to purchase Halal meat from local sources, where information as to how the animals were treated through to the conditions in which the meat has been produced is scarce.
“For this reason the Minister has now been encouraged by us to support a reclassification of Halal meat, within guidance from the Office for Government Commerce given to public sector caterers, from a Group 4 food (a food without a recognised assurance scheme) to a Group 1 food (a food with a recognised assurance scheme such as the Red Tractor standard).”
Speaking after the meeting, Syed thanked the Minister for his time and David Taylor for his ongoing support, but raised the importance of British Muslim community to be treated equally and ensured that they, too, have an assured minimum standard for Halal meat similar to the British Retail Consortium and the Red Tractor scheme in mainstream retailing.
Syed also advised Fitzpatrick that assured Halal meat was a win/win situation, which would remove extremist political parties’ pressure while at the same time generating over £1.25bn for the UK economy, helping the nation’s farmers.
Commenting on reports of the meeting, Tony Goodger from the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, who has produced a DVD on the production methods for Halal meat in England on behalf of Eblex, said: “I am greatly encouraged by the progress Naved has made. In the next few weeks, we will see a new fully independent assurance standard for Halal meat launched in the UK and would encourage all public sector caterers to specify this when buying writing contracts.”