Here's Why The "Pizza Express Halal Secret" Isn't A Secret At All
If the restaurant chain's been trying to keep this quiet, it hasn't been trying very hard. (HT The Media Blog).
Horror! (And GRAPHIC CONTENT).
ANGER AMONG CAMPAIGNERS!
Pizza Express uses halal approved chicken, as do about one-fifth of Nando's 270-odd restaurants in Britain.
Restaurant chains that are changing their menus include Pizza Express, which uses only halal chicken.
And what's this?
And this, from TWO years ago?
All our restaurants serve pork, beef and chicken. All our chicken is Halal approved but it is important to note that all birds are stunned before being slaughtered. Our chicken supplier is accredited by the British Retail Consortium. This means it meets the global standard for food safety and legality. Do you want to know more? No problem. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's also worth pointing out that the vast majority of birds in the UK are stunned before slaughter. According to a 2012 Food Standards Agency study:
"4,766,237 (30%) [poultry] were slaughtered by the Halal (Muslim) method at 29 establishments. 88% of these were stunned before slaughter."
That was a little more accurate than the claim Pizza Express is keeping halal "secret", but it downplayed one important element.
You'd have had to read half way down to discover the company's statement on halal food, which pointed out that its policy on this hasn't changed since 2007:
"Due to the growing popularity of the SUBWAY® chain, with the diverse multicultural population across the UK and Ireland, we put a programme in place in 2007 to ensure that the population demographic is taken into account when new store openings are considered in order that we meet consumer demand in each location.
All our suppliers comply with EU animal welfare legislation as a minimum and we require suppliers of Halal products to adopt the stunning of animals prior to their slaughter. All Halal meats are certified by the appropriate Halal authorities.
All Halal SUBWAY® stores have numerous signs stating that they serve Halal food. These are situated on the menu panels, nutritional information and in the front window of the store."
While the company hasn't commented on which stores have removed ham and bacon from their menus (and there do appear to be a couple), there's been no sudden change in policy from the food chain.
These are the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' guidelines on religious slaughter of animals.
It's a complicated issue and the debate around it has been rumbling on for many years.
Earlier this year, Denmark outlawed kosher and halal slaughter.
In the UK, the British Veterinary Association has opposed the slaughter of animals that are not stunned. However, Shimon Cohen, campaign director at Shechita UK – which campaigns for the right to carry out Jewish religious slaughter – has told the Guardian: "The fact is that religious slaughter is at least as humane as the industrialised methods used in conventional mechanical slaughter, which include electrocution, gassing, shooting, trapping, drowning and clubbing."
Compassion In World Farming has estimated 1.4 million sheep and goats, 32 million chickens and 70,000 cattle are slaughtered without being stunned each year and has called for it to be banned. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been guarded in its statements on the issue, simply claiming: "There are strict laws in place to ensure welfare standards are met during slaughter."