Are you the type of muslim who thinks everything they get from their local Halal grocery shop is actually Halal? Islamically slaughtered, fresh, and free from germs, etc. If you are that type then perhaps you may be in for a big surprise. This is because some of the meat sold in smaller Muslim groceries may actually be bought from the non-Muslim wholesale market with little connection to halal standards. According to some sources, “Most of the people who market Halal products to the mainstream supermarket do not sell Halal products.”
Although, it might not be the case with all Halal grocery store owners, it does show need for greater scrutiny on the part of Muslim consumers to ensure they are getting Halal, quality meat and food products. As a consequence, muslims are advised to ask questions as it is deemed their right to know what they are buying from their halal stores. Below are five simple question you can ask your grocer to be assured of what you are buying;
1. Ask at your retail store (Halal grocery store) whether or not a given product or products are Halal.
2. When it comes to meat, if it is Halal, who is the certifying agency? The certification should be by a third-party, not the manufacturer and not the retailer.
3. How do you contact the certifying agency? This information ought to be public. Muslim grocers, store owners and meat manufacturers have to be accountable to the public because the certifying agencies are supposed to be protecting the consumers’ rights.
4. When you contact the certifying agency, ask who is slaughtering the meat and what are the procedures. This must be verified because the Muslim consumer should not shy away from his or her responsibility, claiming the retailer or the certifying agency already said it is Halal, and therefore they are not responsible.
5. This enquiry should be ongoing because every so often a certifying agency may be good today, but then lose its priority for one reason or another. The Muslim consumer should keep inquiring frequently say after every six month.
To maintain a respected halal system lies not only on the shoulders of the authority but also a persistent and vigilant consumer and once the system is successfully in place then the procedure can be refined. But until then consumers most maintain the attitude of persistent enquiry can go a long way.