Myth #2: Halal Food Isn’t Clean
The second notion to tackle in our series, Myths About Halal Food, is one that questions the cleanliness of halal foods (including the process of making it).
my stewed zucchini and tomato recipe
I am completely saddened to hear people say or think that halal food isn’t clean and that their experiences with ‘halal’ meat markets or restaurants were horrific. That has never been my overall experience in the nearly 15 years that I’ve been patronizing halal markets or places where halal food is served. In fact, most of the best food and dishes I’ve ever had have come from Muslim-owned restaurants and stores.
Regardless, if people have just one bad experience, it’s enough for me to hope to resurrect their perception of halal, in the event they would ever associate the term with something negative.
A couple of explanations, which have nothing to do with the essence of halal food or the tenets of Islam, might have to do with the differences in food presentation and/or handling among store personnel.
Business owners might not be accustomed to the food handling operations, regulations, and standards set forth by the USDA as they were held to in another country; others simply practice poor business ethics of their own accord, and perhaps are quite ignorant or negligent of their obligations to consumers as well as to their religion (i.e. serving food that is truly halal and tayyib, or clean and pure).
Regardless, there are no excuses for this to happen. Islam is full of guidelines on cleanliness in both the private and public realm and it is for us as Muslims to show by example what it means to implement that in everyday life.
I’m confident that most stores are improving in quality and adherence to regulations that keep everyone safe. As long as demand for quality halal products increases, we’ll keep everyone on their toes to deliver the best products and services possible, insha’allah.
Do you think there should be stricter regulations coming from within the halal industry to provide checks and balances over halal meat markets and restaurants?
Myth #1: Halal Means ‘Hocus Pocus’
Myths About Halal Food (an Introduction)
Some of my favorite halal markets:
Very good and true article. I had poor experiences with Halal meat markets in NY which I could not understand as it is so close to Canada where the majority of them get their meat from (I imagine due to poor shipping practices, not having store freezers up to code may have been some of the major issues) Thank goodness I had savvy Muslim friends at the time who let me know what real Halal practices are about such as meat was to be washed 3 times and the fact that our meat purchases were so bloody was not the norm. I did not convert to Islam until I moved to Texas and it was very helpful to help my family accept my changes when I showed them how well run our store here was in town. My mother purchases the majority of her meat there even though it is a bit more than what she can get at the chain stores because of the quality. We eat a little less but we get so much more in terms of health and good deeds.They are expanding yet again because they get a lot of non-Muslim traffic as well from the community. Subhan-allah, we all reap the benefits when we make the right choice to try to live the way Allah (SWT) instructed us to live.
@Roxana- thanks for sharing your experience. It certainly does help to take the family along and show them yourself. It’s good to hear the store is getting a lot of traffice even from outside of the community, that’s great.
Yes. I think we need to encourage our scholars to include some degree of grass-fed/free-range criteria in declaring meat halal. Its more important how the animal lived, not just how it died.
[copied from my FB reply, per request]