Fact Sheet – HFA Certification of Traditional Halal Slaughter (without stunning)

HFA has always accepted traditional halal slaughter and has decided to formalise its strategy on the certification of meat and meat based products derived from such animals and birds. As a result of interest received from halal industry stakeholders, including current and potential customers and consumers, and to provide greater transparency to consumers, HFA will be launching a separate certification scheme and logo for the traditional halal sector of the meat industry and will be pro-actively publicising and marketing this certification scheme across the country.

1. Why HFA has taken the decision of certification of traditional halal slaughtering?

European Council Regulation EC 1099/2009 and National Rules (WATOK 2015) both have provided derogation to religious slaughter (slaughter without stunning) which Muslims and Jews can exercise.   Due to concern of failure to follow the key slaughtering guidelines for halal slaughter by some and on-going welfare breaches at some traditional halal abattoirs, HFA will now be playing an active role to bring positive and constructive changes to the way this sector operates.  HFA will provide its expertise on how the process can be improved, managed and controlled by imposing stricter controls and requirements in this sector with a view to enhanced compliance and continual improvement of this legal form of slaughter with animal welfare paramount.

2. How will it impact the UK meat industry?

As a leading and pioneering organisation in halal certification arena, HFA is keen to bring expertise, skills and training in the traditional halal meat sector, with an aim to eradicate welfare compromises. Traditional halal slaughter is continually increasing in the UK giving rise to welfare concerns and potential breaches of rules and procedures of humane slaughter. HFA is confident that this initiative will enhance the standard of animal welfare in traditional halal slaughtering. Professional training, more rigorous inspection and regular audits by experts and qualified individuals are the exclusive and salient features that this certification scheme has to offer.  Stricter controls or requirements will also be implemented to enhance animal welfare.

3. Doesn’t HFA only accept and approve recoverable (or simple) Stunning?

HFA has been accepting traditional halal slaughter since its inception in 1994 but has also been actively supporting and certifying recoverable/reversible stunning. Due to unfortunate events of a series of mal-practices observed and reported for some slaughterhouses that undertake traditional halal slaughtering for Muslims, which has a wider negative effect on the wider halal marketplace, HFA now intends to pro-actively raise standards in this segment of the industry as well.

4. Does HFA prefer traditional halal slaughter over recoverable/reversible stun slaughter

No. HFA believes that both methods are Shariah compliant (subject to rules and criteria stipulated in halal standards), and are permissible not only in the UK and Europe but across the globe.

5. Is HFA abolishing reversible stun slaughtering?

HFA can categorically say NO to that. HFA will continue to support and approverecoverable/reversible stunning for halal purposes, subject to regular audits and inspections, to ensure that all of our existing clients and consumers needs are met.

6. How will we (Clients and Consumers) be able to differentiate the Traditional Halal from reversible Stun?

As indicated during the HFA conference workshop held on 26th May, HFA believes in transparency and freedom of choice. To ensure that is the norm, HFA management conducted a consultation with their peers and associates and have reached a conclusion that a New Logo will be created for the Traditional Halal meat sector. The new Logo will carry the Organisation’s Name (Halal Food Authority or HFA) and will also have appropriate symbol or phrase to identify Traditional Halal slaughtered meat. This new logo shall be our registered trademark and its usage shall be pre-authorised and monitored. HFA will also create a new separate Manual for this scheme. Appropriate measures would be put in place to ensure effective labelling and communication of halal meat and products derived from traditionally slaughtered animals/birds.

7. What is the expected time frame for this traditional halal certification scheme to be launched?

At present, HFA is in a process of finalising the procedures and documentation for this project and considering the PR policy for effective and strategic communication of the details of the scheme. Upon completion of these, HFA will hold series of introductory and educational events across the UK to advise and educate new and existing clients of this scheme. The scheme is expected to roll out in early October 2016.

8. Will HFA require regular onsite supervision?

Yes. All abattoirs and portioning facilities under this scheme shall be subject to constant (100%) onsite HFA supervision. Supervisors shall be appropriately trained by the HFA and their job description shall be discussed and contractually agreed with the abattoirs and producers that are subject to HFA certification.

9. How does HFA oversee financial impact of supervision on the industry?

HFA strongly believes that this scheme will add value for the wider halal market and the traditional halal sector. It shall be financially sustainable, technically sound and highly competitive compared to other prevalent schemes in this particular meat sector.

10. What will be the major benefits of this scheme?

  • Enhanced compliance of rules and procedures in traditional halal abattoirs as well as cultivating a spirit of continual improvement in the sector
  • Trained supervisors on site
  • Halal audits by qualified and experienced auditors possessing appropriate skills and competence
  • Better welfare
  • More transparency in labelling