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  • Jul 30, 2014
  • Updated: 2:59pm
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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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  • Yes: 64%
  • No: 36%
24 Sep 2013
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Total number of votes recorded: 373

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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This article is now closed to comments

charlie212
Agreed !!!!!
msbpodcast
They CANT offer halal. That's REAL meat. Those firms only offer "Pink Slime™®©". Asking them to use halal would cut into their profits.
scmp_118
Singapore does not have a choice because it is stranded between indonesia and malaysia the two most populous islamic nations in the world. But hongkong does not have that limitation. By making foods halah certified, it limits the methods of cooking, by restricting pork in the cusine. I personally do not think that is something that should be imposed in hong kong.
Muslims pray to the animals to calm them down before slaughtering them and this is the argument for islamic halah food, animals whom are clam while slaughtered release less toxic in their bloodstream while being killed. But the tradeoff is that no pork is allowed. HK should think for itself and see if it decides to take this approcach.
SMAA
just like rest of the bunch you have absolutely no idea what is "halal", educate yourself please.
Muslims DONT PRAY TO ANIMALS.. for god's sake learn something and don't wear your ignorance on your lapel
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.
rpasea
China got it right when they banned religion....nothing but divisive fairy tales.
msbpodcast
We completely agree.
Any commercial enterprise (and ALL religions are first and foremost commercial enterprises*,) which starts off by saying "There's an invisible guy, who lives in the sky..." and demands that you persistently disengage your capacity for critical thought is fundamentally BAD FOR YOU.
*) Don't believe me? How do you think all those churches, mosques, temples and other "tax free" gathering places get built in the first place and then get maintained for centuries, all of this while contributing NOTHING. Religion is an onerous burden on human stupidity imposed by lazy, parasitic bullies.
charlie212
Agreed !!!
HK_eh!
if they don't want to serve halal, and there is enough business, others will do so, after all HK is full of people wanting to make $$$.
what I don't get, is why is this even a story for SCMP? not even interesting, might as well write a story on why HK needs more kosher food shops, or there are 300,000 Canadians in HK, so we want our poutine in the city.
Who in SCMP vet these stories anyways? Editors are asleep at the wheel.
Camel
If they don't like it, then they should avoid those Junk Food Restaurant. They don't have to eat there.

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