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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

asmh
There is absolutely no need for halal meet in Hong Kong. If anyone wants halal meat they can jolly well leave Hong Kong to find it.
I think we should start lobbying for restaurants in, let's say, Saudi Arabia to serve pork along with their halal meat so that they can cater to those who eat pork. How about that?
Using a sharp knife to slaughter an animal does not make it humane, as quoted in this article - certainly not when they leave the animal conscious and suffering in pain and bleeding to death anyway. Seriously...
SMAA
maybe you can very well pack your bags and jolly well return to inglund with your bigoted opinions..
you can start lobbying in saudi arabia, but there are no pork eaters there.. so you would be pretty much an idiot to do that.. wouldnt you be ?
Halal is not about sharp knife.. try to educate yourself mister inglushmann before posting your bigoted comments..
witgryko
isn't this guy just talking up his certificate-issuing business ? or does he issue them for free ?
SMAA
No he isn't, the annual fee is peanuts,
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.
SMAA
i would suggest that you educate yourself in the difference between "halal" and "non-Halal" ?
hanspepsi
HK is a secular SAR, and they have laws protecting animal welfare. Hahal or Kosher slaughtering is a flagrant violation of animal welfare. I am not praising those restaurant's animal welfare practice but this seems like a good start.
Hey, there are more than 20 flights to singapore daily, one way ticket costs less than 1,500 HKD.
SMAA
i would suggest that you also educate yourself in what is "halal" and "kosher" you seems to be clueless.
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?
ncor
It's not Bronze Age...
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.
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.
carmeledwin
There is no such thing as an option here. Try and run a restaurant here in Hong Kong. There are only less than 4% of the customers who are Muslims and want halal food. What are they going to do? They either serve only halal food or non-halal food. Try and get non-halal food in a halal restaurant see what answer you get. There is simply no way that a restaurant can cater to both at the same time. There will also be the danger of a mix up when the restaurant is very busy and therefore non-halal food being served to halal customers.
Incidentally you do have freedom of choice when it comes to food in the Mainland. You also can find halal restaurants in Mainland China.
bluefirestorm
250,000 out of 7 million is 3.6%. This compares to an estimated 15% Muslim population in Singapore.
It isn't as simple as having just a few locations being halal. For a chain like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, or KFC, making a few locations halal doesn't make business sense as it only risks having halal and non-halal ingredients/practices getting mixed. It makes sense only if the entire supply chain becomes halal. On the other hand, it doesn't make business sense to overhaul the supply chain to chase after a 3.6% market share.
Just an example, the salami and pepperoni used in the pizza will have be to halal (i.e. should not contain pork and thus has to be made from meat from cattle slaughtered in the halal way).
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.
EHI
McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut are private businesses. It would have been rather rude of me if I were to go into an Indian restaurant and demand bangers and mash, wouldn't it?
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.....
johndoe
But the point is that they want to make the muslims eat junk food. They did not ask the luxury restaurants to change. Was your irony intentional?
 
 
 
 
 

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