Concerns over labelling of halal meat

The lack of a single label for halal food in Switzerland can pose problems for the 400 000 Swiss Muslims. Halal food has become an important market for companies such as Swiss food giant Nestlé, which made $5 billion in the sector in 2008, and large-scale supermarket chains such as Coop and Manor have begun selling halal products over the last few years.

However, the lack of standardization has meant that the halal label does not always mean the same thing: for example, Coop states that in order to comply with Swiss law, animals are stunned before being slaughtered, and the “halal” element derives essentially from the presence of a Muslim person during this procedure. This lack of consistency has led some mosques to draw up their own lists of approved butchers, such as in Lausanne, while in Ticino Muslims often purchase their meat from nearby Italy, where ritual slaughter is allowed.