Food Standards Agency launches consultation with Muslims over Eid Qurbani meat supply

Halal meat

The Food Standards Agency has launched a 12 week consultation period with the Muslim community on whether to relax chilling requirements for Qurbani meat and offal supplied from slaughterhouses direct to customers in England and Wales during Eid al-Adha.

Some Muslims prefer to collect their Qurbani meat and offal as soon as possible after slaughter, but this does not comply with the FSA’s regulatory framework which requires meat to attain a specific core temperature (7oC for carcase meat and 3°C for offal), arrived at by a continuous decrease in temperature following the slaughter and dressing process.

But due to the religious significance of Eid (which falls between July 9-13 this year), and following representations by halal industry representatives, the FSA is looking into potentially reviewing the existing legislative framework.

It particularly wants the following people to respond to its consultation: Qurbani meat consumers, slaughterhouse operators, butchers receiving/supplying Qurbani meat and offal, food law enforcement officers, and meat industry trade bodies.

The FSA is looking at the following options:

OPTION A – Full enforcement of the current legislation i.e., phasing out the current flexible approach to enforcement with full adherence to the chilling requirements for all meat and offal prior to leaving the slaughterhouse.

OPTION B – Introducing a legislative change to allow a derogation from the chilling requirements for Qurbani meat and offal from slaughterhouses in England and Wales.

Rebecca Sudworth, Food Standards Agency Director of Policy, said: “It is important to acknowledge that Qurbani is an act of religious significance for the Muslim community and must be respected. Qurbani meat should be made available to consumers that wish to prepare and consume it. This consultation and our dialogue with authorities in the Muslim community broadens the discussion to ensure that this practice can continue, whilst providing for highest food safety and hygiene standards possible to protect consumers.”

The consultation started yesterday and lasts until September 11. Please state in your response whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation/company (including details of any stakeholders your organisation represents).

Please respond to the consultation via the  online survey. If this is not possible, you can email a response to meathygiene@food.gov.uk.

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