What is the point of certifying meat products?
For Muslims who don’t live in a predominantly Muslim country, it is hard to avoid prohibited meat.
The consumer often lacks information about the components of the meat or meat products. There might be components of pork in a poultry sausage for example.
Because of these issues, a growing number of Muslims all over the world expressed their wish for bigger transparency in that area. The first certification bodies emerged out of that desire.
There's demand from Muslims all over the world to have meat products from animals slaughtered in a ritually correct manner. The traditional slaughtering without stunning happens in most Muslim countries. Due to Muslim's perception that most of the animals die during the act of stunning, slaughtering that requires stunning is Haram.
Muslim Scholars concluded that stunning could be compatible with the Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence). But only by taking certain basic measures into account.
HAQ Criteria for acceptable Slaughtering
To have Halal certification, the slaughtering process has to adhere to the following aspects:
- Only animals permitted according to the Islamic Fiqh can be halal slaughtered.
- The Muslim slaughterman must treat the animal with dignity and respect.
Breeding and Transport:
- The breeding of the animal must take place as naturally as possible.
- The animal should be well-rested after the transport to the slaughterhouse and shall receive food and water.
- The Halal animal cannot share transport with Haram Animals.
- It must have adequate transport; this means no closed trucks or breaks in between the route.
- Islamic regulations with regard to the slaughtering are to end the life of the animal in a very benevolent, quick and painless way.
- During the slaughtering, the animal shall not able to see any other slaughtered animals. Moreover, the animal should not see blood and the sharpening of the knife must not take place in front of it.
- The Muslim slaughterman must be a practising Muslim with good knowledge of Islamic rules and trained in the process.
- The Muslim slaughterman has to sharpen the knife beforehand to avoid unnecessary injuries of the animal.
- The blood is not consumed in any way, it’s disposed of since religious slaughtering is an act of purification. During slaughtering the aim is to get most of the blood out of the carcass.
- The Muslim slaughterman asks Tasmiyyah (Permission from God to slaughter his creature) on every animal.
- During the slaughtering, the Muslim slaughterman must cut through 4 blood vessels. Cervical arteries, the cervical veins and the trachea of the animal. The spine shall not receive any damage.
- How much time before the processing starts?
The body of the now-slaughtered animal must become ‘cold’ in order to proceed to skin it and cut it. These means to wait out until all reflexes, twitching, and any movement that can denote signs of life ceases completely and the body lies still.
- Health checks?
A post-slaughter health check happens to reassure the fact that the animal was healthy before and during the slaughter. With the animal slaughtered, it happens quickly and will help find out any ill sign of health overlooked when alive.
- Checks for injuries – classified as non-halal?
The incisions on each of the arteries must happen cleanly, with a single, uninterrupted cut severing it entirely. Any other additional cut required or accidental in nature goes through review to see if it injured the animal in a way that left it non-halal.
For example, if during the severing of the carotid the animal were to turn its head violently. Thus, causing the Muslim slaughterman to make a longer than necessary cut, it would go under review. If the cut reached and damaged the spine, the sacrifice classifies as non-halal.