To the uninitiated, dietary guidelines can seem odd. Paleo? Atkins? Gluten-free veganized entomophagy? Add in dietary restrictions based on religious principles and confusion can easily abound. The practices surrounding halal food preparation, then, tend to be relatively unknown, even amongst the Muslim population. This post will cover some of the broad strokes of halal, including what it means, its practices, and how it’s monitored.
What Does Halal Mean?
Translated literally from Arabic, halal means “permissible”, and refers to permissible food for Muslim consumption. Contrast halal against haram, which literally translates as “forbidden” (i.e. any non-halal food is haram). Halal most often refers to the slaughter and preparation of meat.
The halal preparation process centres around a ritual known as Zibah or Zabihah. To carry out Zibah, the animal must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter. The slaughterer must use a surgically sharp knife at least 4 times the length of the animal’s neck and must slice through the jugular vein in a single motion. The animal must not be killed by a violent blow or headlong fall. The Koran outlines these rules so that the animal experiences as little pain as possible.
During the slaughter, a Muslim will recite an incantation known as tasmiya, which includes, for example, reciting God’s name at the moment of slaughter. A Muslim must incant tasmiya in order to dedicate the animal.
Some other halal rules include: requiring a Muslim to carry out the slaughter, letting all the blood from the carcass after slaughter, and, of course, never consuming pork or preparing halal meat in the vicinity of pork products.
Halal Oversight Bodies
In Canada, the proper designation of halal food is overseen by the Halal Monitoring Authority (HMA). The HMA monitors food in three steps: at the slaughterhouse, at the processing plant, and at certified outlets (e.g. grocers or supermarkets). This multi-tiered oversight affords Muslim consumers confidence in the authenticity of their halal foods.
D&D Poultry offers a wide selection of halal meats to satisfy all your dietary needs—without sacrificing taste and variety. More questions about halal? Check out our post on common halal misconceptions.
Whether its cooked or breaded, lamb, beef, or wholesale chicken, D&D has the halal product for you.