Halal Requirements

Halal Production Requirements

HALAL PRODUCTIONREQUIREMENTSFOR MEAT AND POULTRY
Halal Production Requirements

Among all the dietary restrictions or prohibitions placed on Muslims by God, the
majority fall in the domain of animal kingdom, especially land animals (see Chapter
2). In addition, Muhammad emphasized certain conditions for the handling of
animals. He said, “Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you
kill, kill well; and if you perform dhabiha, perform it well. Let each one of you
sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slays” (Khan, 1991).
In this chapter on halal production requirements, guidelines and procedures have
been formulated keeping dietary permissions and prohibitions in mind.
For commercially processed poultry, birds are generally acquired from poultry
farms that raise chickens specifically for that purpose, or hens and roosters may
be acquired from poultry farms that raise chickens for eggs when their egg production
decreases below a certain level. Chickens of any size, age, and gender may
be used for halal production depending on the end use. Hens and roosters are used
for high-temperature cooking, such as canning, retorting, or even dehydrating for
incorporation into soups and other dry blends. In the Middle East, smaller and
younger birds (ca. 3 lb) are preferred because they are used for roasting on
rotisseries. The preferred feed for halal poultry should be devoid of any animal byproducts
or other scrap materials, which is a common practice in the West. Some
halal slaughterhouses use an integrated approach, for example, where they raise
their own chickens on clean feed, but most halal processors do not exert any
influence over the feed. Muslim retailers then prefer free-range farmed chickens,
such as those produced by Amish people, who do not feed animal by-products to
the birds. However, these birds are quite large and may be best used for whole cutup
chicken or for individual parts. The use of hormones in chickens for egg or
© 2004 by CRC Press LLC
meat production is discouraged; some scholars call it haram whereas others ignore
it.

Halal Production Requirements
METHODS OF SLAUGHTERING FOR MEAT AND POULTRY
The traditional method of slaughtering in Islam is to slit the throat, cutting the
carotid arteries, jugular veins, trachea, and the esophagus, without severing the head.
It must be done by a Muslim of sound mind and health while pronouncing the
name of God on each animal or bird. To carry out the slaughtering process properly
by hand, a team of Muslim slaughter persons is required at each line. The number
of slaughter persons depends on line speed, size of the animals, and number of
hours the operation will be performed. Slaughtering by hand is still preferred by
all Muslims and quite widely followed in Muslim countries and other countries
where Muslims control slaughterhouses.
Mechanical or machine slaughter of birds, which was initiated in Western
countries, is gaining acceptance among Muslims. Almost all countries that import
chicken accept machine-killed birds. The method of slaughter by machine approved
by the Malaysian government is different in the following aspects from what is
usually practiced in the industry in the West:
 A Muslim while pronouncing the name of God switches on the machine.
 One Muslim slaughter person is positioned after the machine to make a
cut on the neck if the machine misses a bird or if the cut is not adequate
for proper bleeding. In commercial poultry processing, generally the
machine does not properly cut 5 to 10% of the birds. A Muslim then cuts
the missed birds. The Muslim back-up slaughter person also continuously
invokes the name of God on the birds while slaughtering and witnessing
the machine kill. The height of the blade is adjusted to make a cut on the
neck, right below the head, and not across the head. A rotary knife should
be able to cut at least three of the passages in the neck. Any birds that are
not properly cut may be tagged by the Muslim slaughter person/inspector,
and used as non-halal. Two slaughter persons might be required to accomplish
these requirements, depending on the line speed and efficiency of the
operation.

Halal Production Requirements
 The machine must be stopped during breaks and restarted by the previous
procedure.

Halal Production Requirements
Whether slaughtered by hand or machine, birds must be completely lifeless
before they enter the defeathering area. The conditions for defeathering, such as
water temperature and chlorine level, are the same for halal processing as for regular
poultry processing. However, in poultry processing plants where both halal and
non-halal birds are processed, halal birds must be completely segregated during
defeathering, chilling, eviscerating, processing, and storing. It is a common practice
© 2004 by CRC Press LLC
to chill the birds in cold water, where they might pick up water in varying percentages.
Air chilling rather than chilling with water used by some companies is preferred
over water chilling. Containers with halal products should be stamped halal with
proper codes and markings by the authorized halal inspector. A halal certificate
issued by the halal inspector in charge of the facility must accompany halalprocessed
items when they are shipped to another facility for further processing.

Halal Production Requirements
Further processing, such as marinating, breading, and application of batters or rubs,
should also be done under the supervision of a qualified halal inspector by using
thoroughly cleaned equipment. Nonmeat ingredients such as spices, seasonings,
and breadings must also be halal approved (Regenstein and Chaudry, 2001).

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