A Product is “Halal” if it meets all of the applicable Islamic dietary requirements as defined in these Rules and Regulations.
HFSAA has adopted such standards for Halal slaughter which are universal and acceptable by all the major schools of thought in Islam. The Muslim Ummah is diverse and cosmopolitan in nature. By catering to the highest common denominator with regards to the Halal slaughter, the animal can be regarded as Halal according to everyone.
Essential Requirements for Slaughter
1. These requirements must be fulfilled for HFSAA to verify the Halal status of the slaughtered animal. If any of these requirements are not fulfilled, then the Halal status of the animal will be compromised and HFSAA cannot endorse its Halal status.
2. The animal to be slaughtered should be an animal which is lawful to consume in Islamic law. This includes all domestic birds such as chicken, ostriches, turkeys, quails, etc. along with all cattle, sheep, goats, camels, all types of buck, and rabbits.
3. The slaughterer must be a sane adult who is a practicing Muslim. He must believe in all the essential matters of faith as described by Imam Tahawi in The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi.
4. The animals must be slaughtered by a human being. Machine slaughter is not acceptable because it does not meet all the Halal requirements according to many traditional scholars.
5. Slaughterer should have the intention to slaughter the animal.
6. Slaughterer should verbally utter the Arabic benediction of “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar,” or minimally “Bismillah,” if necessary while performing the cut on each animal slaughtered.
7. The slaughterer must immediately slaughter the animal after the recital without any significant delay or doing anything else in between.
8. The animal must be slaughtered by a horizontal cut below its Adam’s apple. Vertical cut slaughter methods are not acceptable as they do not guarantee cutting of the required vessels.
For camels, the slaughterer is to take a long knife and pierce the throat at its base by thrusting the knife in, causing the major blood vessels to be severed.
9. The slaughterer should ensure that he severs the required vessels of the throat in one cut only.
10. The slaughterer should not raise the knife while cutting the throat. He should sever all four vessels of the throat using a sharp knife starting from the front of the throat, and in the process, completely sever the trachea, esophagus, the jugular vein and the carotid artery.
11. The slaughterer should not to cut into the vertebrae of the animal or cut off the neck of the animal. If by accident or forgetfulness one should cut so much that they cut into the vertebrae or even sever the head, the animal will be Halal, although if either is done on purpose, the animal is categorically not Halal.
12. A full-time Halal Inspector must be on premises during the Halal slaughter to verify the Halal integrity of the meat from beginning of the slaughter process until packaging of the final product. The duty of this inspector is to ensure that all the HFSAA Halal standards are implemented
The act of stunning is highly abominable and discouraged in Islamic law. It should be avoided as much as possible. Non-stunned methods such as the kosher pen should be used.
The ruling regarding an animal which has been stunned is that the animal is lawful to consume provided that the animal was alive at the time of slaughter.
The following requirements must also be fulfilled for HFSAA to permit the use of stunning:
1. The operation and control of the stunning apparatus shall be performed by a trained individual
2. Only reversible methods of stunning and non-lethal methods are accepted such as the electrical stunning, percussive stunning (mushroom stunning), and the water bath with a electric current
3. The stunning apparatus must not penetrate the skull of the animal
4. The animal should be alive at the time of slaughter and must be able to regain consciousness
5. The Halal inspector should (and HFSAA may) regularly conduct recovery tests to ensure that the animals are alive after the stunning procedure
6. The Halal inspector and slaughterers must monitor the animals after stunning to verify that the animals are alive before the point of slaughter. They should look for the following signs to determine if an animal is dead before slaughter:
a. fully dilated pupils
b. absence of papillary and corneal reflexes
c. flaccid tongue, and
d. absence of blood flowing freely from the animal
7. Slaughterers must be authorized to remove dead animals and animals which were not properly cut from the line. These carcasses must be processed separately and labeled as non-Halal.
Other Slaughter Requirements
1. The Halal slaughtered carcasses should be stamped and labeled as ‘Halal.’
2. Contamination/cross contamination with any non-Halal carcasses, material(s), or products must be completely avoided throughout the slaughter process, storage, and packaging.
3. Procedures should be in place to make sure that the integrity of the Halal meat is maintained all the way from production facility through the purchase of the end-user (consumer).
4. The cleaning and sanitary agents and procedures, before, during, and after the production of the carcasses must be Halal approved.
5. The cleaning of impure substances will be done under the direct supervision of a accredited Halal Organization and in such a way that smell, residue, and color of the impurity are gone.
Guidelines for poultry slaughterhouses
1. Slaughterers should be given a chance to rotate and not slaughter continuously for long periods of time.
2. The temperature of the hot water in the scalding pot which precedes the de-feathering process should not be so extreme that it causes impurity from the inside of the animal to penetrate into the meat. The animal will become unlawful in such a situation
3. This temperature should be regularly monitored by our Halal inspector and HFSAA.
4. The animal should be completely dead before it enters the scalding pot to ensure that its death is not caused by the hot water.
Best Halal Practices
These practices are strongly encouraged during the slaughter. However, if they are neglected or omitted, the animal will still be lawful to consume.
1. In general, the animal must be treated with mercy and kindness throughout the slaughter process. All actions should be avoided which cause extra pain or trauma to the animal.
2. It is not a requirement to face the Qiblah (direction of prayer for Muslims) while slaughtering the animal. However, it is recommended to do so.
3. It is not a requirement that the feed of the animal be completely free from any animal bi-products or filth. The animal will be lawful to consume as long as the majority of the feed is not from animal product and filth. From a health point of view, it is strongly recommended to avoid any type of animal products or unnatural substances in the feed.
4. A sharp knife should be used and it should be a single blade, free from serration, pits, notches, or damage.
5. The knife should be sterilized and thoroughly washed after every slaughter
6. The knife should be long and at least four times the width of the neck of the animal.
7. Good Hygiene Principles should be implemented to maintain the highest level of cleanliness and hygiene of facility.
8. The animal should not be transported long distances before slaughter
9. One animal should not see the other animal being slaughtered
10. The death of the animal should occur by thorough bleeding.
11. The animal must be completely dead before any further processing of the animal including skinning, cutting off the head, etc.
12.The slaughter facility should only have Halal production at the plant and there should be no non-Halal production to completely avoid cross contamination between Halal and non-Halal meat.**
**Due to a dearth of exclusively halal facilities domestically, we may grant, at our discretion, an exemption for plants that produce both Halal and non-Halal products in the same facility as long as there is no possibility of contact between the Halal products and non-Halal products on the equipment used in slaughtering, processing, packaging, or storage. In case of such an exemption, there shall be a strong protocol in place which precludes the possibility of product mixing or ritual contamination including an on-site inspector who evaluates the pre-production state of the plant, as well as production itself. Such an exemption shall be granted temporarily until HFSAA deems that such a facility is reasonably able to switch to an Halal-only facility, or the market can supply products processed at Halal-only facilities on a national level.
Requirements for meat processing plants
1. Only Halal meat products will be processed at the facility and non-Halal meat products will not be processed at the plant.
2. Meat/Animal Products: Meat or animal derived products, such as gelatin, fat, collagen, etc. can only be used if they originate from an animal which has been slaughtered according to the HFSAA Halal standards.
Requirements for Halal Meat Stores
1. All the meat sold at the store must be slaughtered according to the HFSAA Halal standards.
Requirements for Halal Restaurants and Caterers
1. All the meat used at the restaurant must be slaughtered according to the HFSAA Halal standards mentioned above.
2. All the raw ingredients, flavors, breads, deserts and other food products used in the restaurant must be Halal, as solely determined by HFSAA.
3. No non-Halal products will be allowed on premises because of the possibility of cross-contamination.
4. Absolutely no pork products are allowed on premises.
5. Alcohol is not allowed to be served at the restaurant. The messenger of Allah, salallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, “He who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment should not eat on a table where alcohol is served.” (Sunan Nasa’i)
6. Seafood may be served at the restaurant.
7. Soy sauce should not be naturally brewed and should not contain alcohol.