May 3 2012
Think ‘halal’ is a just a dietary restriction? Adnan Durrani, the founder of American Halal, wants to change the definition.
INC Most Americans know the term halal-if they are familiar with it at all-as the Muslim system of dietary regulations. Adnan Durrani wants consumers to understand halal in different terms: “Wholesome and pure. Sustainable, fair trade, and just practices in terms of the environment and animal welfare.”
Durrani is the founder and CEO of American Halal, whose Saffron Road brand sells the first halal-certified frozen entrées available in mainstream supermarkets nationwide, including all stores in 11 regions of the Whole Foods chain. Though halal may be mysterious to most Americans, it has many parallels to kashrut, or Jewish dietary law, notably in its ban on pork products and standards for butchering meat. And for Durrani, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, that’s the point.
Muslims always try to compare Halal to Kosher yet the differences are dramatic, which is why Muslims are allowed to eat Kosher but Jews are not allowed to eat Halal.
Kosher vs. Halal:
Kosher – requires the animal be slaughtered quickly and humanely, strictly forbidding cruel slow methods like strangulation.
Halal – requires the animal be bled out in agony while sick people who get off watching that kind of thing have a “festival.”
Kosher – requires the blood be drained cleanly from the *carcass* of the humanely killed animal, removing toxins released from cells into the bloodstream at the moment of death from the meat.
Halal –leaves the meat *filled* with toxins released at the moment of death because the blood is removed while the animal is dying and therefore is not present in sufficient quantities to remove those last toxins.
Kosher – contains little to no cortisol or norepenepherine (two stress chemicals that are similar enough from mammal to mammal to cross species) because the animal to be killed is treated well before it is put down and is generally not frightened as it is put down (because in a truly kosher slaughter situation, animals cannot be slaughtered in a sequential fashion, as the waste of one could contaminate the next, so they are not exposed to the “scent of death” the way non-kosher culls are)
Halal – animals watch other animals die during the blood letting festival, smelling their fear and raising their own stress. These stress chemicals “marinate” the meat in hormones known to raise levels of aggression and violence in nearly all mammal species (including human).
Kosher – requires cooking the cleanly drained meat completely, cooking any remaining stress chemicals into oblivion.
Halal – allows for a surprising range of cooking methods, including even some “tar tar” dishes (raw or nearly raw), allowing for the spread of disease and chemicals and hormones that were not removed by the idiotic slow bloodletting practice and half-measure cooking.
Kosher – the spinal cord is sectioned thus cutting off pain to the brain. Therefore, no suffering or terror.
Halal – spinal cord left intact.
There are only 5.3 million Jews in the U.S., but kosher food is a $12.5 billion market. It’s also a crowded one, with 16,000 companies selling certified-kosher products. As for Muslims, a recent Pew Report put their U.S. population at 2.6 million in 2010 but projects that number jumping to 6.2 million by 2030.
Of course, for a brand with Saffron Road’s ambitions, making a hit with Muslim shoppers isn’t enough. In the kosher food market, for example, about 75 percent of sales comes from non-Jews-many of them Muslims-who buy kosher for reasons including health and safety, taste, or flavor, and the belief that the products are made under stricter guidelines than are other products. (Readers of a certain age may remember Hebrew National’s successful 1970s “We Answer to a Higher Authority” TV ad campaign.) The Saffron Road name-an allusion to the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that connected the Middle East, India, and China-was chosen to be broadly appealing.
And each box is graffitied with half a dozen or so seals of approval: certified humane, (Humane in Islam is not the same as humane to everybody else. See videos below) antibiotic free, gluten free. Although halal certification (from the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America) may be the draw for a Muslim shopper, a non-Muslim looking for frozen Thai or Indian food might choose Saffron Road because it’s the only certified-humane and antibiotic-free option in the grocery freezer. (And they would be buying into a fraud)
American Halal had retail sales of more than $4 million in 2011, driven largely by Whole Foods. But with new products on the way and distribution in more supermarket chains-including Publix, Wegmans, and Kroger-Durrani forecasts sales hitting $50 million within five years.
The video here shows the kind of suffering Muslims cause animals they slaughter: