By Emma McKinney
CONSUMER watchdogs in Birmingham have seized hundreds of chickens during an investigation into firms selling meat wrongly-labelled as halal to Muslims.
Birmingham City Council’s trading standards and environmental health officers joined West Midlands police officers to swoop on six premises, including butchers and meat wholesalers, across the city in a series of raids.
It came following claims some businesses were selling consumers halal meat, when in fact it had not been slaughtered in the sacred way required by those with Islamic beliefs.
A council spokesman said: “We continually monitor the food that is sold within the city to ensure that food hygiene and safety requirements are complied with and to make sure that the food we eat is safe.
“We have been closely watching recent meat transactions within the city and as a result of this conducted a number of visits to wholesale halal meat traders in the last month to ensure that all meat is traceable and that consumers are not misled in any way about the products they are buying.
“The action by the council is part of a wider exercise to ensure all communities within Birmingham are supplied with food which is properly labelled and marketed, in order that it meets their requirements.
“Meat should be described appropriately to allow consumers to make an informed choice of purchase.
“Where meat is labelled as halal, then that is what it should be. Equally where meat is labelled as non-halal, then that is what should be provided.”
Officers seized computer equipment and documents from the properties they raided and are continuing to investigate the businesses, which can not be named for legal reasons.
No arrests have yet been made. Muslims believe, according to the holy book the Quran, that all animals should be treated with respect and well cared for.
One way to do this is by slaughtering the animal in a way that limits its suffering or pain.
They believe this is done by slashing the animal’s jugular vein in a way that cuts off oxygen to the brain and pain receptors.
Blood is completely drained from the carcass as much as is practical.
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