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  • Updated: 8:18pm
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FOOD

McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut say no to request to offer halal meat

McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut say no to imam's request to offer Islamic-certified meat, despite his claim it would be shrewd business

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 7:33am
 

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24 Sep 2013
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Hong Kong's three biggest fast-food chains have rejected a call by Hong Kong's chief imam to offer halal meat in their restaurants.

Mufti Muhammad Arshad contacted McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Pizza Hut to request that they use halal meat in some of their outlets. He said it would not only be good for Hong Kong's Muslims, but also a shrewd business move.

Halal is an Arabic word that means "permissible". Halal meat comes from an animal slaughtered according to Islamic law. That means Allah's (God's) name must be pronounced during slaughter, the instrument used must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter (the animal must be slit at the throat), the animal must not be unconscious, and it must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry.

Eating blood is not halal. Pork is not halal, nor are certain cuts of meat, such as from an animal's hindquarters.

Arshad said he sent letters to the fast-food chains, but McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut all said that they had no plans to introduce halal meat in their outlets. But Arshad said it would be only a matter of time before they signed up, as McDonald's and KFC served halal food in other Asian markets, such as Singapore.

Halal certification of restaurants began in Singapore in the mid-1990s. Singaporean food blogger Daniel Ang says that the likes of Le Steak, a new halal steakhouse in the Jalan Kayu district, has been "packing the crowds in" at the weekends. In Hong Kong there are already halal outlets at Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park.

"It's disappointing that we could not convince the companies," Arshad said. "It doesn't have to be Hong Kong-wide. In the main areas, like Central, Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui, the New Territories and at the airport, it would be a great service. The companies have to realise there is a need for this and that it is good business for them."

Tourism sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said he would welcome anything that would increase the diversity of Hong Kong and cater for people from different religious backgrounds. He said it would also be good for local businesses.

"The government has been trying to promote Islamic investment here, so the move would be beneficial to tourism in Hong Kong and our financial market," Tse said. "It's also a chance to attract tourists from Muslim countries to Hong Kong. We're showing that we are catering for them."

There are about 250,000 Muslims in Hong Kong, more than half of whom are Chinese. The rest are either locally born non-Chinese or are from Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Middle Eastern and African countries. In recent years, the biggest segment of Muslims in the territory have been Indonesians. Mostly female domestic workers, they account for almost half of Hong Kong's Muslim population - 120,000 people.

Arshad said that more than 50 restaurants served halal meat in Hong Kong. The meat is checked as being halal-certified in the country from which it is imported by Arshad and his staff.

"We double-check that a certified Muslim organisation has imported the meat and that the animal has been slaughtered according to Islamic rites," he said. "If we are satisfied that everything is in order, then we will issue a local halal certificate to let restaurants know that everything is fine."

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37

This article is now closed to comments

andreaswagner
I can't see why we should let our food tastes and habits being dictated by ANY people who let their life be guided by some bronze age tribal creation myth. They can eat what they want, but why is it that religions always have to impose their views on other people, who want no part of it?
pseudotriton
Actually, there are plenty of halal restaurants in mainland, especially in many of the northern cities with relatively large Muslim (Uighur, ****) communities. You'd be surprised how much more inclusive and tolerant mainland China is than HK.
carmeledwin
Why should we all be force to eat their halal food? Typical of the Muslims to want everyone to eat like that they! Will they like it if we force them to eat pork? If they do not like it, they can eat at home.
hanspepsi
Would I be able to walk into a restaurant in lets say Saudi Arabia or UAE and ask for Non-halal meat? multiculturalism at its dumbest.
irfanali.awan.3
Having a halal KFC or Pizza or McDonald's would be a nice thing to see in HK. There are lots of muslim tourists coming to HK these days. It will be both good for business and help promote HK as a muslim friendly tourist city. Remember, HK is a forward looking city open to accepting diversity and differences. We should instill these values in the younger generation through education and guidance. Irfan
lokuohsiung
Terribly short-sighted of all three brands, but especially surprising for McDonald's since they're usually way ahead of the curve. There's nothing wrong with diversity and acceptance. Anyone who says otherwise really has no place in Hong Kong, or the 21st century for that matter.
Speakforyourself
The funny thing is, most of the people commenting here are white skin f***faces who think everything is about Americans. Bloody hell, wake up already you egotistical, conceited good for nothing losers who go around claiming things and thinking their opinions are prioritized just because they have white skin. Oh I can bet a million bucks on this that you people wouldn't have the guts to back your self-centered opinions in public where you'll snap back to reality so hard that you wouldn't even remember what color skin you have. So you think when a 'fast food chain' BECOMES halal, all their food will be thrown away and they'll start bringing some kind of magical indian curry and roti. You DONT EVEN KNOW the meaning of halal. Its people like this that prove the self-explanatory fact that there are so many people still living in their mental solitary of denial. Moreover, you are such ignorant and judgemental people, saying someone represents a certain group based on appearance? Are you serious? If anyone is Christian here, you would know that the prophets had beards too. So you would call them terrorists too? Seriously, before even saying childish things like this, open your eyes, drink some coffee, and wake up to reality folks.
dsamasud
Popeyes in Hong Kong International Airport is the one who is selling Halal fast food. They should be encouraged to open more branches in the city or Muslim entrepreneurs to come forward to get licensing of other renowned international halal fast food chain.
kcwp
Tell me where does it say that all customers have to eat Halal meat? The article says they want the chains to "offer" the option. Read carefully before you make your obviously bigot opinion. I am no fan of how Halal meat is prepared, but freedom of choice is what separates us from the mainland.
honger
Too bad for the junk food giants - they will lose the biz of a quarter million people here.
Good for the Muslims, especially their young children, since they will grow up healthy and strong sans the junk food.....

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