Apparently they do, as retailers are facing a backlash after saying they don’t find it necessary to label halal meat as ‘halal.’ And ‘dhimmi’ David Cameron agrees with the retailers.
UK Daily Mail (h/t Terry D) Supermarkets were facing a backlash last night after claiming it was ‘unnecessary’ to spell out on labels whether meat comes from animals killed by religious slaughter. Religious groups from all faiths, vets and animal welfare groups joined calls for new labels to identify halal or kosher meat.
FYI: Kosher is NOT the same as Halal because Kosher butchers cut the spinal cord so the animals feel no pain, but halal slaughter does not cut it, leaving the animals bleeding to death for several minutes in excruciating pain.
But retailers claimed that shoppers do not care – and even argued that there is not enough room on packs for new labels.
Tory MPs have tabled an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, which is to be debated next week, that would require a move to clearer labels. However, the idea is opposed by most retailers and David Cameron believes there is no need to change the law.
Demands for improved labels follow widespread outrage over the disclosure in yesterday’s Daily Mail that millions of people are being sold halal and kosher meat without being told. All the major supermarkets are selling New Zealand lamb killed according to halal ritual without providing labels.
Separately, many restaurants such as Pizza Express, KFC and Subway are selling halal meat – mainly chicken – without printing the information on menus.
The Conservative MP Philip Davies, who is leading calls for a new labelling law, said: ‘There is overwhelming public support for this change. People should be able to make an informed choice about what they are buying.’
Mr Davies has the support of a large number of Tory MPs, while the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, said consumers should be given more information.
However, Mr ‘dhimmi’ Cameron last night ruled out the need for a new national labelling system, insisting that it was up to the food industry to act if consumers demanded more transparency.
‘I would hope it will be dealt with by restaurants and businesses,’ he told ITV West Country. ‘We should start from the approach that the greater the transparency the better and I think we can achieve this without necessarily having a full-on national labelling scheme.’
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which speaks for most supermarkets, responded to the criticism by saying a change to labels as unnecessary.
Andrew Opie, food director at the BRC, said: ‘We have not seen evidence that this is what people want to see. Labels are very tight in terms of the space and what we can put on them. This has to be driven by evidence to show that people want to see it alongside the things that are already on it like durability, country of origin and price.’
By contrast, Morrisons, Waitrose and the Co-op broke ranks to say it is time for the Government to take a lead to develop clear and consistent guidance for the food industry.
The desire for improved labels is supported by groups from all religious faiths.
A joint statement by the Muslim Council of Britain and Shechita UK, which oversees kosher slaughter, said: ‘Comprehensive labelling should be supported by faith communities and animal welfare groups alike.’