29/1/11 By Nick Thompson
MEAT sold at Waitrose has come under fire from Christian members of the community because it is slaughtered in accordance with Muslim laws.
Jim Ford is unhappy that he is being forced to have Halal meat
Concerns have been raised because food packaging does not display the fact that most ranges of Lamb sold at the Saffron Walden superstore conform to Halal.
Little Walden Road resident and loyal customer Jim Ford, pictured, explained that he feels like he is being forced to eat meat which “violates” his consciousness.
“While I have respect for the rights of Muslims to worship in freedom,” he said. “As a Christian I do object to being in effect forced to eat meat blessed in this way.
“I am sure Muslims would feel equally concerned if the issue was the other way around.”
Mr Ford is one of a number of people who have questioned the superstore, and other shops, on the issue both locally and nationally.
Waitrose have responded by putting on sale some brands which are not slaughtered in the same way. However these are more expensive.
Mr Ford said: “I would like to see a complete change in policy, and at the very least warnings on packaging. Waitrose have told me that they intend to continue with this practice but people can buy Duchy Original lamb which is more expensive.
“This is surely discriminatory against Christians and indeed other faiths. Very few people that I have spoken to are aware of this. Surely it cannot be right.”
Halal means that the meat is blessed and can be eaten by people following the Islamic faith.
Animals are slaughtered with a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife across the neck, cutting through the windpipe, the food pipe, nerves, and the jugular but leaving the spinal cord intact.
However a Waitrose statement highlighted that they now also stock Organic, West Country, and English & Dorset Breed lamb available from the service meat counters. All do not receive a Halal blessing at the point of slaughter.
A spokesman added: “All Waitrose pre-packed New Zealand Lamb continues to receive a Halal blessing at slaughter.
“We continue to allow the blessing so that abattoirs can sell the parts of the carcass that we don’t use.
“In New Zealand, a significant amount of this meat is destined for markets in Asia – this minimises food waste, keeps prices down for our customers and helps our farmers to be competitive.
“Animal welfare is our highest priority and it is important to note that all of our lamb, whether Halal blessed or not, is stunned at slaughter rendering the animal insensitive to pain.
“We do not allow the slaughter of any livestock without proper humane stunning and in this regard we are monitored by the Humane Slaughter Association.”