With Islam growing in the US at an alarming rate of 500,000 per year, American businesses are adopting halal butchering as an option for Muslim consumers. Since there is no legal requirement to provide labeling on halal products, you may be unknowingly be eating halal foods.
Because I believe every American should have the right to know exactly what they’re consuming, I’ve put together a list of major businesses that have begun to sell halal products to Americans, some without warning.
First, every unsuspecting consumer should know what “halal” means. Wikipedia defines halal as “any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law.” Under Islamic law, the killing of food animals is typically done by slitting the animal’s throat, leaving them to bleed out. Occasionally, slaughter is done by tying the animal up and beating it before delivering a fatal cut.
Halal meat can be slaughtered with or without giving the animal a “stunning” blow. Some more humane butchers will “stun” the animal to cause it less pain before butchering it alive.
(Warning: Video contains graphic content.)
When avoiding a halal product, look for one of these common labels, but remember, not all foods will be properly labeled since the FDA does not mandate halal-certified products be marked as such:
The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America certifies thousands of products every year, including food, drink, pharmaceutical, and beauty. These two symbols are the markings of said products:
US businesses that are commonly known to provide halal products are as follows:
Joohi Tahir, vice president of marketing and sales for Crescent Foods, the halal chicken producers based in Chicago, said Wal-Mart executives approached Crescent Foods two years ago looking for a halal chicken supplier, then invited Crescent executives to Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas to advise them on reaching Muslim consumers.
That same year, Wal-Mart opened a supercenter in Dearborn, Mich., an area with one of the largest Muslim and Arab populations in the country. The store is geared for Mideast consumers, with a range of halal products, including specialty foods.