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Friday, September 17, 2021

Qatar stores withdraw US deli meats over halal certification queries

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With reporting from Riham Sheble

Several pre-packaged meat products have been withdrawn from supermarket aisles in Qatar because they lack paperwork relating to their halal credentials.

Sara Lee Cracked Pepper Turkey Breast, Ball Park Beef Franks and Hillshire Farm Turkey Lit’l Smokies were cleared out of stores this week.

The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (Baladiya), which monitors food products and outlets in Qatar, announced the ban yesterday, saying:

In a statement, the MMUP said that a shipment of the food was “withdrawn to ensure they are safe for consumption and to protect the health of customers.” It also stated that the items violated halal slaughter regulations.

The products are usually sold in Carrefour, Lulu and Megamart, but appear to have been removed from the chiller cabinets of all three supermarket chains.

A spokesman for Megamart told Doha News that the company was waiting for its latest shipment, which is currently being held at customs because of the ban.

However, he said they were in talks with the MMUP and hoped to resolve the issue soon, and to restock with the products next month.

What is halal?

Ball Park Franks hot dogs are made by Chicago-based Hillshire Brands, which also produces Hillshire Farm Turkey Smokies and operates the Sara Lee brand.

On the companies’ websites, there is no mention of whether their products are halal.

The Arabic word “halal” means permissible, and in this case is used to mean food that Muslims are allowed to eat. Pork and carrion are not halal, for example.

The term is also often used to signify that the meat was slaughtered in a way that meets Islamic standards.

The process of Islamic slaughter involves cutting through a healthy animal’s jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe. All blood is drained from the carcass, and a dedication is read by a Muslim during the process.

In 2011, the GCC announced it was introducing new regulations on meat imports to the region, which would require certification that the animals were slaughtered in compliance with Islamic law.

However, the latest ban has caused some Qatar residents to question whether all the meat products they buy in Qatar are in fact halal.

US export rules

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, all meat products being exported from the US to Qatar require a certificate of Islamic (halal) slaughter.

These certificates can be issued from a member of an Islamic center or Muslim organization that is officially recognized by the Qatari authorities for providing this service.

Requirements include:

  • A statement that the animals were slaughtered according to Muslim religious requirements;
  • Labels on the products that state they are “halal;” and
  • Certification of the statement by the Qatar consulate in the exporting country. This certificate must accompany all shipments.

The USDA also states that “processed products (such as deli meats) with halal label claims and raw materials used in processed products with halal label claims must be accompanied by an appropriate halal certificate.”

Thoughts?

21 COMMENTS

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Susan
Susan
6 years ago

Honest to God (insert eye roll)…first it was the good turkey bacon from the States (rumor was they stopped bringing THAT in because the packaging said it “tasted like pork”), then there was no bologna to be found, and now they’re targeting all the lunch meats and hot dogs. Why don’t they just turn the clocks back to 1995 and stop buying US products if they’re that uptight about halal slaughtering and overt labeling of products? There’s a lot of people here — and I’d venture to say that it’s the majority of the people who buy these products — who don’t give a rat’s a** about that stuff. Please let us enjoy our food in peace!

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

People shouldn’t be eating that crap anyway, processed meat is the fastest way to get cancer along with other bs bring imported from the US. Go veggie woman. That’s the way to live.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Wow… those of us who’ve lived here for a while remember this EXACT same argument arising 6 years ago, and people are STILL unsure whether Sara Lee meat is Halal?

http://www.qatarliving.com/forum/socialising/posts/non-halal-meat-local-restrnts-carrefour

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

this article makes me laugh, can’t help!

Nutrition-wise: all of these products that you can find in supermarkets here are basically items with food adulteration that contain GMOs, antibiotics etc and than in most of Europe are not allowed in, not because they are halal or not. Thanks to the European Union (EU) that has the most stringent GMO regulations in the world.
Here people are concerned about halal instead of getting poisoned!
Instead of thinking of the pork taste, authorities should concern about the quality of these cold cuts, mostly containing chemicals or elements that are not ideal for nutrition purposes or even hazardous for health.

But the problem here is the sentence “taste like pork” …..If pork is such a problem why not put on the Qatari market other meats like horse or buffalo meat instead of hormone-injected chickens all the time??? And what about turkeys?

Ham instead, especially when it is of high quality like “de bellota” is high quality meat, with no hormones. Most South European countries like Spain, France, Italy and Greece know it of course and instead don’t go for those adulterated items we don’t even buy them.
Honestly I am very happy pork items are in QDC, at least is real pork and we have enough for us to enjoy!!!

disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
6 years ago

This would be a good moment for the government to be more transparent about how products are imported, including how products are certified halal. Otherwise the silly season will never stop.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

and how they storage i.e. plastic bottled water

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago

Typically they are imported by planes, although I have heard from some that they have landcruisers that have been converted to powerful speed boats and sometime used for urgent deliveries.

disqus_ZM5UFScbWq
disqus_ZM5UFScbWq
6 years ago

If they’d only put Baladiya on the roads to police them with the same enthusiasm! 🙂

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

“According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, all meat products being exported from the US to Qatar require a certificate of Islamic (halal) slaughter.” If that’s the case, then 1) Baladiya will have this certificate on file from first application? 2) will have approved the product ranges and content prior to first shipment? and 3) Have a checking process to verify on an annual basis that the product still meets Qatari Food Hygiene legal requirements? Where, therefore is the problem…… Interesting to see how this one finishes.

Expat
Expat
6 years ago

Forget about Halal or not for a second. How people have the ability to pick up such products and put them in their cart is beyond me. They look like fake and processed food and I bet they taste the same. Nothing beats high quality beef or mutton from your local butcher!

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat

r u dirty east asian ?

Ms. Hala
6 years ago

As one whom deals with Qatar Customs regularly, just because a company has an approval doesn’t necessarily apply for all. It’s not a one application fits all, specifically with foods that can change ingredients or tag it with “tastes like pork” without prior approval. I was personally under the impression that any product with the white sticker label, mainly products imported from the US, were not certified halal as many of those contain pork by products. Just read some of the ingredients on a stickered bag of chips or go to websites like that of Fruito Lays to see what products are considered kosher or halal.
For the record, halal is not just in how one slaughters an anmal for meat but how the animal is raised. Feeding it foods to fatten it like chocolate or chicken as I’ve seen/heard be done is not acceptable. Crowding, caging and beating animals is also unacceptable. The closest to the teachings of Islam are free range type farms, which is also available in the US but they do not export on a large scale like Australia.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Ms. Hala

A little off topic but do you have any idea if there is custom duty on personal items purchased from website such as shirts, shoes etc.
Secondly if the website sends these items via standard mail, will it reach destination? I heard Qatar mail doesn’t send items to individual homes and you have to have a PO Box or get some courier to deliver it?

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Anything shipped that’s packaged for personal use like clothes and accessories are usually not charged. I know large electronics and cars are charged customs or at least border charges if it’s coming from another Gulf country.

Yes, they do arrive. I had important documents mailed to me by my family in the US and when the address wasn’t feasible, they called me to pick it up. Make sure senders put your number with the address. If you’re doing a lot of online shopping, get yourself a PO Box or use Aramex’s Shop n Ship service.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

There is a simple solution rather than throwing away food. Just label it non halal so the Muslims, can choose not to buy it. It’s fine for the rest of us.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago

Why is camel meat not easily accessible? On the occasions that I’ve had the privilege of tasting it at private homes I thoroughly enjoyed the taste and texture, however, I don’t have neither the means nor the knowledge of cooking an entire baby camel. I would love to have ready access to different choice cuts like a roast, tenderloin or flank.

It’s a great alternative to lamb or beef! Also, please bring venison, I miss it dearly.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

It’s available in Carrefour city center most times I have been there. If not, just ask them. Venison also there. The butchers there know their stuff and cuts and you can usually get what you need.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Much appreciated!

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

So, well this new rule apply to wine and such?! Seriously though, why now? There are brands of clearly marked halal turkey, chicken, etc. from the U.A.E, Kuwait and Saudia. So who’s harmed by brands that may, just may, not be halal?!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

I have two comments on this. First, guys, how come you eat these things? Pink Slime, processed food, GMO and other BS sold by many Western companies (especially American) should not be considered food and should be labelled UFO (Unidentified Food Object). If I was a decision maker in the US I would push for a law to punish parents feeding this to their kids and to remove their kids from their custody.

Second, let’s be honest, the majority of so-called Halal food coming from non-Muslim countries is simply not Halal.
There are even Muslim countries where the “Halalness” of the meat is questionable because of lax rules and lack of monitoring. You have to be very naive to think that those same companies and businessmen who sold to their people horse meat as beef meat and created pink slime are trustworthy to properly produce Halal meat

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago

So, sell it at the QDC with the other non-halal stuff and be done with it. It may not be what I choose to eat, and in fact I don’t eat it, but if someone wants to ingest mutant animal slurry I say let them.

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