Concerns mount over French halal meat procedures

News Agencies – August 16, 2010

The lack of a central body in France to oversee the authenticity of halal meat has made some experts doubt that animals have been slaughtered following the correct Islamic procedures.
Estimates of the amount of meat labeled halal that does not meet the strict religious standards range from 40 to as high as 80 percent. France has Western Europe’s biggest Muslim population and producers are battling for a piece of the 5.5 billion euro ($7.05 billion) halal meat market.

Ala’a Gafouri of the Halal Institute of Food Management Industry (HIFMI) in Paris estimated that up to 80 percent of meat and other products labelled as halal may not meet these criteria.
“They’re self-certified,” Gafouri, who trains halal butchers and inspectors, said.
Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Grand Mosque of Lyon, estimates about 40-50 percent of halal products sold in France have not been rigourously verified. France’s official Muslim council (CFCM) wants the country’s mosques and Islamic groups to come together to agree on a national charter that lays out clear guidelines for halal meat to help French Muslims when they are making purchases.