Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC)

Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC)

HMC was established to help ensure that all Muslims could be confident that the meat and products they consume are ‘genuinely Halal’. The HMC organisation is an independent, not for profit, registered charity which monitors, inspects and certifies Halal products for the benefit of the Muslim community.

The Halal Monitoring Committee has found many instances where: the verbal recital of the Tasmiyah had been omitted; the stunning had killed the animal before slaughter; the minimum required amount of vessels had not been severed; living animals had found their way into the de-feathering tank to be killed in the scalding hot water, which can also cause the innards to explode even in the killed animals. All of these situations render the animal Haram.

HMC aims to eradicate all such circumstances which can result in what was supposed to be Halal meat turning into dead, Haram meat by having HMC approved, trained inspectors who are educated in the relevant fields of Islamic Jurisprudence present at the time of the slaughtering. HMC wishes to implement a rigid set of protocols and regulations to ascertain a total doubt-free environment.

This is done via rigorous inspections, labelling, and assurance rules for food which are regularly monitored by trained HMC inspectors. By choosing Meat & Poultry which has been through a clear system and verified at each point of the supply chain, all Muslims can be sure that the food passing their mouths is truly Halal. HMC employs people in the capacity of inspectors and monitors, who work to operate the unique HMC monitoring system in a number of UK towns and cities on a daily basis.

HMC also works with a number of abattoirs and processing plants in the UK/Ireland and further afield. These suppliers work under HMC criteria and inspection and are constantly monitored. In addition, HMC monitors many UK retail outlets (butchers, restaurants/takeaways) on a regular daily basis.

HMC for the past several years has been conducting random laboratory checks with products that it certifies to ensure they are compliant with the HMC standard as well as global standards that that HMC is accredited to. Having worked closely with our ISO17025 accredited laboratory partners, HMC now has the capabilities to conduct tests that can establish the origin of the product i.e. whether your chicken came from the UK or from another country, e.g. Holland/Poland etc. HMC will be implementing this feature as an additional check to ensure that our members are adhering to the HMC monitoring standard.

Their Official Website: Halal Monitoring Committee

Process

The HMC provide this official statement on their views on slaughtering:

In defining an approach and standard for Halal, HMC has adopted a universal set of criteria that is accepted by all.

HMC will only operate in EU approved licensed Abattoirs when supervised by a qualified vet from Meat Hygiene Services (MHS). Under UK Law the MHS has legal responsibility for animal welfare, health and hygiene issues. Their stamp is legal requirement required to declare meat “fit for human” consumption. HMC will not work with any plants that are not EU approved.

In addition, HMC will supervise compliance with Halal Standards – something that the MHS does not undertake. HMC supervises all Halal production to ensure compliance with HMC’s Halal criteria and including checking that all slaughtermen are practising Muslims holding a valid slaughter license. HMC have a unique labelling system in place which is implemented from the point of slaughter onwards to ensure maximum transparency, allowing HMC products to be accepted globally without contention.

Stunning

In terms of Stunning, HMC say,

The most common practice found in a majority of the larger abattoirs is machine slaughter or mechanical slaughter. This is when the slaughter is carried out by a mechanical rotating blades with no Muslim slaughter man present either to perform the slaughter, or to recite the ‘Tasmiyah’ on each individual slaughter. Thousands of chickens are slaughtered in this manner daily. Again, the practice of blessing the blades, playing pre-recorded bismillah or even appointing a Muslim to recite bismillah as he switches the machinery on, is common instead of reciting bismillah on each and every animal slaughtered manually. This practice is directly against the teaching of Islam and will not serve to conduct a Halal slaughter.

Issue of Stunning

The issue of stunning is very delicate (whether done by captive bolt stun, electric head stun or electrified water bath), in the sense that there are many conditions and criteria that must be considered. Firstly for reason of the animals’ welfare, the act of stunning is extremely disliked and according to some even reaches the stage of being Haram, as it causes the animal unnecessary suffering. Thereafter even more importantly is how it affects the Islamic ruling on the animal as to whether or not it is fit for Muslim consumption.

The Islamic criteria that must be met while slaughtering the animals are clear-cut; any deviation from them will render the animal unfit for Muslim consumption. Amongst the guidelines established for a Halal slaughter is the unwavering fundamental that the animal must be alive at the time of slaughter and the blood must be drained out.

It has been witnessed that on many occasions animals subjected to stunning arrive at the slaughterer dead. This is due to either the unbearably high voltage or a delay in the time it takes to get to the slaughterer if the stunning is irreversible. Sometimes it can also be because animals are drowned in the stunning tank. It has been noted that the problem of dead animals reaching the slaughterer is invariably present in all the slaughterhouses that use the stunning method. The research also states that animals, especially chickens die prior to slaughter due to stunning. It is also proven that a large amount of blood remains in the animal which renders it Haram. The animal is also deprived of the effects of tasmiyyah as it would be unconscious at the time of slaughter.

Also what needs to be understood is that there is no pressure from the side of the government of the United Kingdom forcing Muslims to adopt such inhumane methods of slaughter. Therefore because of all the negative aspects of stunning, the Halal Monitoring Committee has set a blanket ruling disallowing stunning in any form.

“Stunning the animal before slaughter leaves a huge doubt into the halalness of the animal as many could be killed by the stunning especially in the case of poultry. Furthermore, it prevents the drainage of entire blood resulting in it being retained in the animal and retained blood causes germs and bacteria, it deprives animals from the benefits of tasmiyah due to it being unconscious, it is inhumane to animals and causes unnecessary pain and suffering, it is in reality done not for animal rights purposes, but in order for the industry to kill more animals quicker so as to increase profits. According to the majority of the Ulama stunning is not accepted in Islam and stunning could render the meat Haram in many cases.” (Abu Ibrahim)

HMC clarify that:

  • The animal is alive and healthy prior to slaughter (also correct species of animal is used)
  • Mandatory recitation of Tasmiyah by a Muslim slaughter man on each animal
  • Swift and humane incision rendering the animal insensible to pain using hand slaughter
  • Compliance check ensuring 3 of the 4 main vessels are cut
  • All meat is labelled and sealed (where appropriate) and checks for cross contamination are made.
  • HMC do not operate at plants where pork is handled.
  • An outlet is only considered to be “Certified” when they agree to purchase and supply products which have been vetted by HMC’s robust system and allow for active monitoring of their premises.

You can ready their certification procedure here: Join HMC – Halal Monitoring Committee (halalhmc.org)

Other logos by HMC you may recognise:

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