Food: Halal Products

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that halal products meet food safety requirements.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to prevent retailers from falsely claiming to stock halal products.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): Halal food products are subject to the same requirements and official controls as non-Halal foodstuffs and, as such, would be inspected by authorised officers at all stages of the food chain to ensure compliance with food safety and food labelling requirements.

There is no requirement in United Kingdom law to provide the method of slaughter on food labelling. Therefore, Halal labelling is voluntary. However, there are general legal provisions outlawing false or misleading labelling and if a Halal claim is made then manufacturers must make sure they do not use it misleadingly. Authorised officers are asked to consider action, where appropriate, against food business operators who sell and misdescribe Halal foods, in the same way as they would for any contravention of food law in food premises generally.

The Government take incidents of food fraud seriously and have put resources in place to help authorised officers effectively target and address illegal activity, including any incidents of this type.

Updated: 10/03/2010 — 4:36 PM