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  • Jul 29, 2014
  • Updated: 9:41am
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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
  • Yes
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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

kcwp
They don't eat there. But what's wrong with asking a chain to offer the option of Halal meat? The companies already do this in other countries so it is not against their policies and it makes business sense. I am not a fan of how Halal meat is prepared, in fact I am against it, but this ain't mainland China, this is Hong Kong, "Asia's world city", and this type of choice separates us from the mainland in a good way.
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.
kcwp
Pseudotriton. I am not saying China has no Halal restaurants. I am referring to the option of choice. I do not see, any time soon, parts of China where there are less Muslims in the population, to be providing Halal meat in the same restaurant as regularly sourced meat. It's a shame that in HK, these large brands have said no to even offering the option. That said, business wise it might make sense as these companies would not know how much to stock in their branches for such customers, and then it would be wasted if that stock went bad due to lack of business.
jimmybabe
Are they now trying to stir up trouble in Hong Kong? Big American companies offering typical American junk food have to turn halal? If they want to eat halal food, they should go to a halal restaurant.
And if Americans have to turn halal, why shouldn't all the restaurants offering Chinese food turn halal as well, and the Japanese, the Koreans, the English and Irish pubs, and all the rest. Why only the Americans?
johndoe
Why did SCMP suddenly become pro halal? There are several critical viewpoints missing to this story:
1. Someone who can provide an alternative point of view on the process of Halal. Many organizations demand the immediate ending of Halal and kosher slaughter methods. In halal, the animal can take 2 minutes to bleed to death, and animals are not stunned, causing enormous pain.
2. The issue of whether ethical values should go before religious values.
3. The business benefits for certain suppliers, by restricting competition, these suppliers will get huge new business and shut out others. There was no disclosure of interest for Mr Mufti, he may as well be getting kickbacks from suppliers.
4. If businesses make certain dishes available in halal only, customers who do not want animal cruelty will be forced to support this method to buy the dish.
5. The irony of this guy asking fast food restaurants when trying to make food 'healthy'. Why would anyone encourage anyone to eat fast food, well, do the math, it is all about volume and business in the end.
6. The incapability of their own community to satisfy the demand by entrepreneurial means, and why they cannot afford to go the free market route. Money talks.
7. A discussion of the general issue of ingredients at fast food places, and a general discussion of meat quality including at least the topics of: vaccines, growth hormone, extreme breeding of cows, genetically modified corn and the effects of corn syrup on health.
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.
captam
@" 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."
Is that a threat and possibly related to the rate that people of this religion are breeding ? This is not a crude racist joke. It's a fact of reality. See ****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_population_growth
SMAA
No, you moron
it means soon they will realize that there is a big market out there to capture...
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.
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.

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