Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Pampering to a different world

Leave a Comment

An email doing the rounds at the moment depicts a cake of Cadbury’s rum and raisin chocolate with a halal motif on the packaging. The caption suggested that as Muslims are not allowed to consume alcohol surely the halal approval is superfluous. It was not a serious dig, and anyway I suspect rum and raisin chocolate is flavoured with rum essence rather than the distilled spirit.

I remember there was concern expressed some years ago about the halal approval symbol appearing on a variety of products, but I looked through our pantry and couldn’t actually find any commodities so labelled. Perhaps in view of Islamic terrorism marketers have decided it is not a good look on their merchandise.

Incidentally in Arabic, halal simply means “permissible” or “allowed.”

Halal came into prominence in this country back in 1979 when the New Zealand Meat Board agreed to supply Iran with 200,000 tonnes of lamb over a four year period. One of the conditions attached to this trade deal was that all stock be killed according to Sharia law. To support the contract a number of processing plants were licensed for halal slaughtering and their chains had to be reconfigured to face Mecca. If a freezing works also slaughtered pigs within its premises then it could not be licensed for halal.

Subsequently the Waingawa freezing works ceased killing pigs

Halal slaughtering involves four elements. The slaughterman must be a practising Muslim and he must face Mecca. The words “Allah Akbar” (Allah is great) need to be prayed as the animal is slaughtered and it must be killed with a sharp knife.

In the early 1980s nearly one fifth of New Zealand lamb went to Iran, however the market became untenable when Iran had difficulty paying for the meat and for a period there was a barter system of oil for lamb.

The Iranians, who tended to stew the lamb, wanted them to be totally devoid of any fat and when the trade was halted the freezer storage units throughout the country were full of skinny lambs that were not suitable to other overseas clients. Although there was a call for the meat companies to donate the lambs to poorer sections of the NZ community eventually they were ground up for fertiliser (blood and bone) and distributed back on to the land from whence they came.

Of course spiritual slaughter systems are not confined to Islam; Jewish people like their meat to be kosher. The Christian community however is too timid to ask for special favours for their food processing and anyway the New Testament is surprisingly devoid of any instructions in this regard.

Meanwhile Easter has come and gone with a variety of differing styles of rabbits and eggs with the only salute to the founder of the religion being hot cross buns and even some of these have had the crosses removed so not to offend folk of other religious persuasions or the ungodly themselves.

Mind you, it’s the Jews I have the most sympathy for. After all Moses went back to God and said, “Remind me again; the Arabs get the oil and we got the end cut off our what?”

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine.” - Dwight L. Moody


Post a Comment