Shock weekend of halal inquiries at Shropshire butcher

People in Shropshire are concerned they are being misled about what they are eating for the second time in as many years, according to a county butcher.
Bosses at G. N. Badley & Sons have reported a busy weekend of inquiries from customers worried they are selling halal meat without it being labelled as such.

They said they had up to 20 phone calls and emails in the 48 hours to Saturday evening - more than three times the usual number of inquiries.
The butchers, in Gibbons Road, Trench, does not sell and is not considering selling halal meat.

Kay Badley, a director at the butchers set up by her husband almost 40 years ago, said: “The inquiries came from both regular customers and new ones too.
“They have been asking is our produce halal.
“It seems to simply be a case of people wanting to know what they are eating and in many cases customers are concerned about how animals have been treated before they end up on our counter.
“It is in no way anyone being concerned about a particular religion or faith group.
“What this weekend has been is a stark reminder of the horsemeat scandal last year when customers felt they could have been cheated and misled.
“We were proud to say then that all our produce was labelled correctly and in light of what could be the next big meat scandal, our produce is once again exactly as labelled.
“If it was halal it would be labelled as such but it is not something we ever envisage stocking.”

The host of enquiries to the family-run butchers came after Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and the Co-op said their New Zealand lamb was halal, while Pizza Express has already revealed its chicken is killed according to Islamic tradition.

On Saturday (10) the government said it will review the labelling of halal meat if the food industry does not take action.
The prime minister's spokeswoman confirmed the government wants more "transparency" on the issue.

In most cases involving the major supermarkets the animals are stunned before being killed and the only difference from standard meat is that they are blessed as they are killed.

According to the Halal Food Authority, stunning cannot be used to kill an animal, but it can be used if the animal survives and is then killed by halal methods.
Mrs Badley added: “It has been a big surprise to us just how many people have taken the time and effort to come and ask us about the origins of our meat.
“In many ways it has been exactly the same reaction as to when the horsemeat scandal broke in 2013.
“People just want to know what they are eating and to be able to trust someone to tell them what they are eating.
“Once again it is big supermarkets that have said that their produce could be classed as halal but it is not labelled as such.
“The story, which broke last week, has driven a lot of people back to their family butcher because they know they can trust them.
“It is déjà vu really.”



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