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UK: Trading Standards advice as Ramadan begins

18 June 2015 http://www.itv.com

Ramadan begins
Trading Standards officers are offering advice to Muslims who begin observing Ramadan today
Birmingham Trading Standards is offering Muslims advice about the risks they may face as they begin observing Ramadan this morning.

Officers from the organisation have been prosecuting businesses – including fast-food takeaways, butchers and wholesalers – who have misled people into thinking the meat products they sell are certified as halal.

Meat that hasn’t been rendered halal by Islamic slaughter, or is contaminated and unfit for human consumption, cannot be considered halal.

If customers are unsure whether meat products have been certified, they should look for a registered logo or contact one of the following monitoring organisations for more information:

  • Customers should ensure meat that is labelled halal has been certified
  • Customers should ensure meat that is labelled halal has been certified Credit:
    Halal Food Authority
    Halal Authority Board
    Halal Monitoring Committee
    The Muslim Food Board

Thousands of Muslims will make a pilgrimage to Mecca this month, for Hajj

During the holy month of Ramadan, many people will undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj – the biggest gathering of Muslim people in the world.

All able-bodied Muslims are expected to make the journey at least once in their lifetime, but the trip does not come cheap. Hajj packages have to be booked via specialist travel operators and they can cost up to £5,000 per person.

To protect themselves from scams, those planning to book a trip to Mecca should take the following precautions:

  • Find out who is providing your Hajj or Umrah package and ask for written confirmation, including the company’s name and address.
  • Not all UK travel operators are Ministry Hajj Authorised, so find out who will be taking your passport to obtain the required visa from the Saudi Ministry.
  • Operators should display the Air Travel Operators Licence logo and a four-digit number: to check if this is valid visit the Civil Aviation Authority website, click on ‘Check an ATOL’.
  • Ask for full documents and invoices: When you make the booking you should receive an ATOL certificate with the ATOL number.
  • If dealing with an operator’s agent, ask for written confirmation and check with the company, who is actually the ATOL holder, that they are supplying the package and handling your passport.
  • Trading Standards officers urge great caution if the operator is only willing to take cash payments.

If booking online, make sure you are dealing with a UK-based business.
If the travel operator cannot provide any of this information, would-be travellers should not hand over any money, but should contact Trading Standards instead on 0345 404 05 06 or e-mail hajjhelp@birmingham.gov.uk

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