Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem (in the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)

HFA vs HMC

HFA vs HMC

If there’s one thing that Muslims will get behind, it’s food and whether it is halaal or haraam. Muslims are very sensitive when it comes to food and the majority want to know and feel secure that the food they are eating is halaal. With all the meat scandal that’s been erupting in the UK and food being cross-contaminated with horse meat or pork, the focus has also spread to halaal foods.

How are halaal foods processed? How clean are the factories and tools used? Is chicken stunned or not? Is there any contamination with haraam meats like pork? Who is regulating the halaal food chain? Which regulator should be trusted? These are all big questions to which we deserve answers.

Below I’ve given some information about the two most prominent halaal food regulatory bodies in the UK – HMC and HFA. Of the two, HMC is the safest for Muslim.

Halaal Monitoring Committee (HMC)

The HMC takes the traditional, and therefore the most Islamic, position of slaughtering animals. That is that it should be done by a Muslim, that the Name of Allah should be pronounced at the time of slaughter and that the slaughter should be done in accordance with Qur’an and Sunnah. HMC do not approve of stunned chickens as the stunning does cause some chickens (not all) to die before slaughter takes place. I would recommend that Muslims are ‘safe’ when eating HMC Approved meat. The following is taken from HMC’s website:

The following describes some of the key criteria for Halal adopted by HMC:

  • Animal is alive and healthy prior to slaughter (also correct species of animal)
  • Mandatory recitation of Tasmiyah by a Muslim slaughter man (blessing) on each animal
  • Swift and humane incision rendering the the animal insensible to pain (hand slaughter)
  • Compliance check ensuring 3 of the 4 main vessels are cut 

In addition, all meat is labeled and sealed (where appropriate) and checks for cross contamination are made. HMC will not operate at plants where pork is handled.

There are many causes which have contributed to Halal products being falsely labelled. Some of these include:

  • Slaughter men at abattoirs not reciting the Tasmiyah (a mandatory condition for Halal) or using of taped recitation of the Tasmiyah
  • Controversial use of mechanical slaughter and rotating blades (often severing necks and missing frontal cuts)
  • Stunning of animals that bring into question whether the animal was alive at the point of slaughter
  • Mixing of meats including use of pork in Halal products or cross contamination with non-Halal meats
  • Incorrect incisions and insufficient vessels being cut.to meet Halal criteria.

Halal Food Authority (HFA)

The HFA seems to be the regulator of choice when it comes to non-Muslim food companies looking for approval and allows the stunning of animals and the use of machines to slaughter (even though the HFA accepts that stunning is frowned upon in shariah in its HFA Brief Guidlines for slaughtering). The HFA seems to pander towards these large organisations (eg. KFC, Freemans, Nandos) and so I can only assume that the HFA takes a more lenient approach and there’s most likely a lot of money involved. Islamic rules and laws are not to be twisted to suit the person/organisation and this seems to be HFA’s attitude towards the issue of halaal food. Take for example, the following cases, which have emerged into the media:

The HFA approves of KFC ‘halaal’ meat. KFC uses machines to slaughter animals and also stuns its chickens – the only resemblance to the Islamic method of slaughtering is that a Muslim is present to pronounce the name of Allah. The HFA says this is ok.

HFA-approved supplier is found to contain traces of pork in halal meat. Yet another exposure to the poor standards by the HFA.

Pork traces found in halaal food for prisoners. Yet another one of the HFA’s food producers, McColgans Quality Foods Ltd (of Ireland), is found to have traces of pork in halal meat – the HFA has since de-listed this producer from its certification.

The HFA also approves of many non-Muslim food companies – as a Muslim, are you happy to have your ‘halaal’ food coming from a non-Muslim source? I’m not. These HFA approved companies include the following slaughterhouses – none of which are Muslim!:

There is always doubt by Muslims when it comes to KFC and Nandos (which is not certified by either HMC or HFA) – the ummah is split and there is uncertainty. This in itself is not good and points to ‘doubtful’ methods that are being used. It is also interesting that the doubt always seems to arise with HFA approved companies. This link to Exposing the HFA is also interesting background to the people who run HFA.

The HFA’s starting point has been verifying whether or not the methods used by the large companies are acceptable and this approach makes the HFA open to making allowances for these companies – not a great approach. The HFA should have its starting point as being what is the ruling according to Islamic law and for all food companies to fall within this standard and not to make allowances to companies (unless there are allowances explicitly stated in shariah).

With all the scandal over horsemeat contamination and pork traces being found in halaal meat, can you seriously afford to allow yourself to eat food supplied by non-Muslims, whose standards are clearly not meeting ours?

NOTE: Nandos is supplied by Freemans of Newent, non-Muslim producer. Freemans of Newent uses stunned chicken which is then supplied to Nandos. This article in the Guardian explains Freemans method and also shows that to do slaughter according to the traditional Islamic way would be a financial cost that suppliers like Freemans aren’t willing to bear. Also, HMC inspected Freemans of Newent and declared their meat to be haraam, as disclosed in this article.

Stand Up 4 Islam!

[If you like this article, please share it with your friends

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Abdullah says:

    As Salaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.

    I have worked in the halal meat industry in the UK for over five years.

    There is no doubt that HMC is by far better than HFA. However, the ‘piece of mind’ that HMC gives is illusionary. Ultimately halal meat, even HMC certified meat, comes down to trust. Do you trust your butcher or restaurant proprietor?

    Unfortunately, halal often conflicts with the capitalistic desires of business owners.

    • maverick says:

      Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

      Good to hear from you brother, as always. I agree, halaal meat is totally based on trust – whether its about trusting your butcher, your takeaway, your regulator. There’s only so much we can do to look into things and the rest has to be based on trust. The problem is that people abuse this trust in so many ways. There are those who claim their meat is halaal, knowing that it isn’t; there are those who twist the meanings of the halaal criteria as laid down in Islam; there are those who put up halaal signs wrongly and those who use HMC and halaal logos when their meat is anything but.

      It is all down to trust and in my research so far, I cannot say that I can trust HFA nor recommend HFA to other Muslims. I do hope that HMC doesn’t let us down.

  2. Dreamlife says:

    As Salaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.

    I feel sorry for you guys in the UK – but know that halaal certification is a huge issue here too.Here in South Africa, we have a strong and large Muslim community, and about 3 or 4 Halaal bodies. Yet we have so much infighting and issues over halaal certification. Then there are stories about how lax some of the inspectors actually are…and just issues upon issues.

    It really is safer to just be a farmer, or go directly to the farms for your meat (e.g. Qurbani farms) – unless you have a reputable Muslim butcher you can trust.

    Buying mean from chainstores is suspect – with all this cross-contamination stuff in the news these days.

    May Allah protect us all from consuming that which is unlawful – whether we know it or not.

  3. abdul says:

    Assalam Alaikum. Brother. JazakAllah gor this.
    Would you enlighten that what is hukam for halal meat in arab developef countries as like Oman etc. I have been told by one musim worker who was woring in Salalah. Oman. In chicken form . All chicken were slaughtered by machine. And having said tasmiyah and takbeer by tape recorder.
    They said many hundreds of thousands chicken are slaughterd every day. And it would be very difficult.
    I need your please with quoting some references from Quran and hadith. Please.
    JazakAllah

    • maverick says:

      Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. I’m afraid it’s difficult to know what happens in another country and there would need to be a proper investigation and study into what is being done there. If you visit the HMC website, you will find some evidences that stunning animals for slaughter is makruh. Even HFA admits that it is makruh. Also it sounds as though tasmiyah and takbeer by tape recorder is not allowed. A good site to ask questions, especially of those in the Middle East is: http://www.islam-qa.com/en

  4. 'Ata says:

    * Swift and humane incision rendering the the animal insensible to pain (hand slaughter)

    Re the above statement, is this proven to be the case that the animal will not feel any pain? Pls clarify.

    • maverick says:

      Asalaam alaikum. The slaughtering of animals by cutting the jugular vein is what has been prescribed in Islam by Allah and His Messenger (pbuh). What Allah Commands, we should obey.

  5. 'Ata says:

    Assalaamu’alaikum, unfortunately we Muslims / human beings have been fighting and differing since Habil & Qabil and has continued. Unless we reach unity and consensus in all the major issues, we will continue to be in a mess in all aspects of life. Differing of opinions are said to be a blessing for the Ummah (I dont know if this authentic or not) causes disunity and fighting as we can see nowadays in most Muslim countries and are in chaos. Pls correct me if I have said anything wrong.

    Wassalaam

    • RJ says:

      Salaam,

      An interesting and welcome article but doesn’t address one important point regarding consumption. A major contributing factor to the general meat crisis is societies massive increase in meat consumption over the past couple of decades. Muslims are no exception to this and one must question whether we ever consumed meat in such quantities in history?

      The simple truth is that these problems are partly of our own making. Huge demand has lead to all sorts of sharp practices in declaring meat Halal. Even if we can satisfy ourselves at a technical level the method of slaughter is legitimate, have we in the process lost the essence of Halal? How many of us have witnessed let alone participated in the slaughtering of an animal? Is the treatment of animals before being slaughtered taken into consideration, as we know it should be?

      That it is a sacrifice and blessing from Allah that we permitted to eat other animals is lost on most. Until we reflect on this and regulate our consumption of meat in general we won’t truly understand or appreciate the true meaning of Halal.

      And Allah knows best.

      Wasalaam

      • maverick says:

        Wa alaikum salaam.

        Although I understand your point, Consumption doesn’t change halaal and haraam. The rules set down by Allah cover us throughout time and Allah Knows Best what is in our future and the generations to come. His Commandments covers all times and situations.

        Many problems are, as you say, of our own making. However, witnessing slaughter is not a requirement to eat halaal food not to understand the essence of halaal (in terms of food). Those who are responsible for the treatment of animals, are accountable for their actions, however that is not the purpose of this blog.

        JazakAllah khayrun.

  6. pursuitofenlightenment says:

    Asalaamualaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh
    could you please let e know whether there are any other authorities like HMC in the UK? Such as Tariq Halal Meats?
    JazakAllahukhairun

    • maverick says:

      Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi. There does seem to be other halaal food authorities but I don’t know much about those and you may need to look into those and enqurie about them directly.

  7. ali says:

    Assalaamu’alaikum I pray that my brothers and sisters r in the best of health and imaan.

    Could anyone please tell me who does the Halal cirtification for freemans newent? Please could you also provide proof or a link to your answer,

    jazakallah

    • maverick says:

      Wa alaikum salaam. I’m afraid I don’t know who does the Halaal certification for Freemans. What I can say though is that Freemans is not a Muslim organisation and I personally would prefer to have halaal food supplied by Muslims. There is some controversy over Freemans, who provide the meat for companies like Nandos. I, personally, prefer to stay away from this controversy.

  8. Mr m.ahmed says:

    How can mobeef burgers be halal if thay are thay should have Masalah in them just like k.q.f.and there are lnported from America witch is hard to know. Mc’donald use the same burgers

  9. Hassan zaman says:

    I work for large retailer and had a bullet in come down regarding meat we sell which is hmc approved. In this bullet in it says the chicken is stunned than slaughtered islamically.

    • maverick says:

      I suggest that you question the people who made the bulletin as to the evidence to back their claims. If you’re still not sure after that, then you may want to contact HMC about this and let them address the issue.

  10. Nazreen says:

    Supermarkets like Asda and Morrisons around my area sell halal market meat which I have bought in the past, just noticed it says on the halal market website that they buy their chicken from Highbury Poultry and Freemans of Newent 😦

    It’s sad that we Muslims are being duped into eating haram meat,if something says halal you assume it is halal. It’s not like kosher food where rabbis actually go to these factories/places regulary and they have to be in contact with the local religious court to make sure the food is kosher. There is no grey area when it comes to halal, at least there shouldn’t be.

    • hamza says:

      Buy Haji Baba meat and chicken from Asda. It is HMC approved. Like i have checked the suppliers of Haji Baba meat and chicken and they are HMC Certified and muslim.

    • An Anonymous Muslim says:

      That is the same with me, Asda and Morrisons are both close to my area, and they sell halal meat. On the other hand, I went inside Asda and it had a certificate saying “HMC approved”. Then another day I went to KFC and went to the door (my brother’s friends said it was halal so we checked) and it said “HFA approved” which is a bit weird…

  11. M. Din says:

    Assalaam o Alaikum
    If HMC seal is the ultimate guarantee that the meat is Halaal then why it does not clearly mention on its Halaal Certificate. Certificates issued by HMC says that “abc shop sells fresh meat” why it cannot certify that abc shop sells fresh halaal meat. I asked one of HMC inspector and he replied because shops also sells frozen meat which may not be halaal. This was entirely an un-satisfacyory answer. You just certify fresh meat. That’s it. This is a big question which HMC needs to answer.

    • maverick says:

      Wa alaikum salaam. This is an issue you’ll have to raise with HMC – there are too many details missing from your description to even work out a satisfactory answer for you.

  12. Musa Jabbar says:

    HFA abandoned accepting machine slaughter for poultry http://halalfoodauthority.com/images/pdfs/HFAAbandonsMechanicalSlaughtering.pdf

  13. Musa Jabbar says:

    HMC also certifies non muslim owned and non muslim run businsesses such as Ouchi Cuisine and Cave of Plunder – both shop are near me in London

  14. Tiddle says:

    Can you explain why you have deleted my comment regards HMC and their corrupt money motivated business?

    • maverick says:

      Inappropriate and bad language. Lots of accusations without any evidence. This site is not aimed at promoting HMC nor HFA – its for the benefit of Muslims. Your comment is really for HMC and so you need to take up your issues with that organisation.

  15. zsajid004 says:

    Since I only eat HMC halal meat, this website has made me trust the organisation even more!! May Allah guide us through life and tell us what is right and wrong……..

  16. yusufelbeshri says:

    Is KFC halal?

    • maverick says:

      No – any reason why you think it would be?

    • An Anonymous Muslim says:

      Some are haram, some are halal… for example, in London some are HFA approved. I went on holiday to Dubai a few years ago, and in the airport there was KFC but I can’t remember if it was HFA or HMC… but I definitely know that it was ‘halal’. And Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) knows best.

  17. Soraya says:

    Is nandos halal?

  18. Ahaddour Meki says:

    Salam,

    MaschALLAH, we need this also here in Europe, Belgium

    Beslama
    Meki Ahaddour
    Belgium

  19. Iram Ansari says:

    Assalam alaykum. I called up the HFA once on the phone to ask about the issue of pre-stunning. They told me that most of the meat supplied in the UAE and much of the middle east is also pre-stunned but this is never questioned in Muslim countries and is deemed perfectly acceptable. A lot of halal meat in the UAE comes from new Zealand and is pre-stunned. The argument is that the animal remains alive after stunning and prior to slaughter. Also HFA said this debate is a minor issue for them and they are working on much bigger things like getting halal marks on everyday items like cereals, bread, etc.

    • maverick says:

      Wa alaikum salaam.

      Your reply to HFA should be that the UAE and Middle East do not choose what is halaal and what is haraam. Allah Has Guided us to what is halaal and what is haraam. This is not a minor issue. If they don’t consider halaal and haraam important then stay away from HFA food. They have born witness against themselves.

  20. Ali says:

    This organization hfc. Is there to make money .phone few times to get some answers which i got nothing.i think hmc is doing a good job

  21. Nurul Islam says:

    You guys need to stop insinuating things like “a lot of money involved” as this could be slander. Also you need to go check what the deobandi school fatwa from india which actually allows mechanical slaughter. Please to refrain from uneducated guesses.

  22. Asim says:

    My question is very simple. What makes a chicken haram while slaughtering. Is it reciting any one else name or god other than Allah. Or even not reading any thing makes it haram ir makrooh. Pls explain from quran and only sahih hadees. JazakAllah

  23. Ayub says:

    As-Salam-alaikum,
    Very informative article, and puts it into context where exactly the Muslim ummah is at in terms of what it means to be honest and trustworthy. I would say hand on my heart that Kosher is 99.99% guranteed and their is an utmost professionalism in the manner that it is maintained and inspected. Makes you think doesn’t it.

  24. Zulfiqar Ali says:

    Asalaamu’Alaykum, Can anyone please tell me if Halal Group Halal Meat Co (Birmingham) Ltd is trusted Slaughterer? They issue Halal Certificate through Storteboom Kornhorn B.V. Netherlands. May Allah Bless Honest & Trusted Brothers and Sisters in this Business.

  25. Hasnat says:

    Just wondering why it took traces of pork to be found before HFA went and de-listed McColgans Quality Foods Ltd, when surely the whole point of having a regulatory authority is to ensure they are there to make sure this doesn’t happen in the first place. If it takes for meat to be tested and deemed haram before HFA de-list an organisation they have certified than what is the point of having them, we can just test the meat and determine which company is halal and which is haram for ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s