Pizza Express is serving halal chicken to its unwitting customers on the quiet, with staff only telling customers about the meat if asked. Only meat from birds that have had their throats slit while still alive, in accordance with Islamic traditions, is used in dishes. The menu makes no mention of the issue and customers can find out only by checking the small print on the Pizza Express website – or by asking staff explicitly.
All chicken used in chain’s food is prepared according to Islamic traditions
No mention of issue on menu and only appears in small print on website
Critics have accused the 434-restaurant chain of ‘duping’ its customers
Or is move because ‘non-Islamic customers are less likely to complain’?
UK Daily Mail (h/t bains) The firm, which has 434 restaurants across the UK, states on its website: ‘All our chicken is halal approved but it is important to note that all birds are stunned before being slaughtered. (They are lying. If it is stunned first, it is no longer halal) A spokesman said: ‘Our chicken is halal approved. We serve halal chicken in all of our UK restaurants. Pizza Express is committed to animal welfare standards.
The revelation has angered campaigners. Stephen Evans, of the National Secular Society, told The Sun: ‘Unsuspecting members of the public are routinely being duped into buying meat from religious slaughter methods. ‘Meat should be properly labelled, enabling consumers to make an informed choice about the food they’re buying.’
The halal meat market in the UK is worth around £2.6billion a year – and it is expected to soar. Meat inspector Richard North said chains such as Pizza Express served halal chicken to save money. He added: ‘Keeping halal and non-halal meat is expensive and creates the risk of non-halal being fed to Muslims, which shops and restaurants know will cause uproar. Maybe they think non-Muslims are less likely to complain.’
Last week it was revealed that Subway has removed ham and bacon from almost 200 fast food outlets and switched to halal meat alternatives in an attempt to please its Muslim customers. Turkey ‘ham’ and turkey rashers will be used instead in 185 of its stores, where all the meat will now be prepared according to halal rules.
The chain, which has around 1,500 outlets across the UK, explained its decision by saying it had to balance animal welfare concerns with ‘the views of religious communities’.
Traditional halal slaughter has animals having their throats slit before bleeding to death. In Arabic the word halal means ‘permitted’ or ‘lawful’ and defines anything that is allowed or lawful according to the Koran It is often used to indicate food – particularly meat – that has been prepared in accordance with Muslim principles and techniques.
In Britain, killing an animal without prior stunning is illegal, but the law gives special exemption to Muslim meat producers on the grounds of religion. In the UK there are thought to be around 12 abattoirs dedicated to unstunned slaughter, while hundreds practise stunned halal slaughter.
Muslims are forbidden from eating any non-halal food and meat from pigs and Subway said customers can identify those stores selling halal food by the special ‘All meats are Halal’ sign, which must be displayed in participating branches.
A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Peta fights to help all animals who are slaughtered for their flesh, and we do not particularly differentiate between killing methods in our vegan campaigns.
‘However, as long as animals are still killed for food, banning the most inhumane slaughter methods – in which cows and other animals have their throats cut while they’re still conscious – is a step in the right direction.’
Halal refers to any object or action which is ‘permissible’ according to Islamic law. The term covers not only food and drink but also matters of daily life. Halal foods are those that Muslims are allowed to eat or drink under Islamic Shari’ah. The criteria dictates both food which are allowed and how the food must be prepared. The foods most commonly addressed are types of meat and animal tissue.
The most common example of non-halal, or forbidden food is pork. It is the only meat that must not be eaten by Muslims at all, due to historical, cultural and religiously perceived hygienic concerns.