What is Halal Meat?

Not too long ago, we introduced to you Halal. Today, let’s go into greater detail about halal meat. While pork is strictly off-limits, did you know the method of slaughtering the animal can make your beef, chicken or even lamb haram (forbidden)?

That’s right! In Islam, meat is only considered halal if it is slaughtered in a specific manner. According to Islamic law, the animal in question mustĀ  be treated ethically, and in healthy condition before killing it for food. For your store-bought meat to carry a halal sticker, an appropriate slaughter ritual must be performed by a Muslim before the cleaning, cutting and packing of the meat can proceed.

The “Halal Cut” involves cutting the windpipe (throat) of an animal with a sharp blade, facing Mecca while reciting a prayer. Once the animal is slaughtered, the blood must be drained, then the animal is taken to a factory for standard meat processing and packaging.

The history behind the halal cut is rather simple and surprisingly logical. Hundreds of years ago, when modern, clean factories did not exist for animal processing, there was no way of ensuring proper hygiene and meat handling. People often fell sick from eating contaminated meat – some even died! Because bacteria is largely present in the bloodstream, Muslims allowed for the blood to drain from the animals they killed, thus minimizing the risk of infection from consumption. Ingenious, isn’t it?

While modern meat processing practices now follow strict healthcare guidelines, theĀ  “Halal Cut” remains an important tradition in the Islamic world. In recent years,the Halal brand has earned a status of recognition even amongst the non-Muslim population as people turn towards more hygienic and ethical sources of animal slaughtering for their meat.

Stay tuned to Zhaboom – In the final instalment of our three part series, we talk about halal in the rest of the food industry.