Confusion arises on halal pork products in France

News Agencies – February 13, 2011
Last month, the website Débat Halal claimed it had evidence that a popular brand of halal-certified poultry sausages marketed in France by a giant international food producer actually contain pork, rendering them haram to Muslims. The accusation led many French Muslims to question how they can be sure that any of the halal food they buy meets certification standards — only to discover that no single set of standards exists for determining which products are halal and which aren’t. Now, some observers are hoping that the haram hubbub may finally push France’s Muslim leaders to agree upon a united code for the halal food sector — one of the biggest-booming niche markets in the nation.
The flap over Herta’s poultry sausages is only the latest controversy involving halal-certified food in France. In recent months, revelations of mechanized slaughtering by some industrial poultry Producers — rather than the manual culling and bleeding halal requires — have led some experts to estimate that up to 90% of poultry products labeled as halal in France don’t meet even the most basic, generally recognized standards. While trying to find out exactly what the national norms are for halal certification, French Muslims have found there is no unified set of criteria or inspection procedures to verify a product as being halal. Reaching a consensus on halal standards will be difficult among France’s diverse, disparate Muslim population. Lacking an international structure like the Catholic Church to replicate at the national level, French Muslims remained largely unorganized until 2003, when government authorities helped found the French Council of the Muslim Faith as the representative of France’s “official Islam.” However, the organization has continually been undercut by rival factions and clashing loyalties that have made uniting French Muslims under a single structure challenging.

French store, Casino, pulls halal sausages from shelves

News Agencies – February 11, 2011

The French food store Casino has announced it will pull Herta sausages (of the Nestle brand) off its shelves as the product is suspected not to be halal. The supermarket chain announced it would conduct independent testing to guarantee that pork products were not within the halal-certified food. The Mosque of Paris is in charge of the certification of halal products by Nestle.

Muslim businesswoman launches halal certified make-up in the UK

Halal meat has become a common part of life in the UK, but now a company has launched a range of halal make-up, which is free from alcohol and animal products. But there has been a warning from some Muslim leaders who claim some other businesses are cashing in on halal products.

Samina Akhter set up Samina Pure Make-up from her home in Birmingham after questioning what she was putting on her skin.  She said: “I was shocked to find that some products contained alcohol and even pig placenta. Many Muslim women like me have been frustrated by wanting to look good and follow their faith.”

The cosmetics are shipped in from Australia and certified by the independent Halal Certification Authority Australia.