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Halal Certified Food


mikeczyz
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I went to an ethnic grocery store, by the looks of it, muslim or indian, couldn't tell, sorry for my ignorance and bought some "Halal" meat. Does "Halal" refer to a set of religious guidlines that must be followed much like the Kosher designation?

mike

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Mike - It's similar to kosher meat. I can't tell you the differences, or exactly how meat is certified halal, but I can tell you that when my father had his kosher butcher shop out in Westbury back in the 70's, Muslims would buy meat from him. That was back in the days when the Islamic community was much smaller, and there weren't anywhere as many shops selling halal meat as there are today. Maybe someone of the Islamic faith can fill in the details of why meat becomes halal.

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I'm reluctant to answer on behalf of another faith, but I did study this a bit in a university setting, so here's what I know: "Halal" doesn't refer only to food; it's sort of the whole Islamic way of life. But even just on the food front, it includes a number of prohibitions that the kosher dietary laws don't; for example the prohibition against alcohol and other intoxicating substances.

When it comes to meat specifically, it's primarily a question of how the slaughter is carried out, but there are also as I understand it some questions of how the animal is treated when it is alive and also how it is handled post-slaughter. To a non-observant person like me the distinctions between kosher (by that I mean kosher as defined by Orthodox Jews, because the Conservative and other non-Orthodox groups have different ideas about it) and halal in this context aren't all that significant, but to a religious person they may be. I believe the biggest difference is the content of the blessing that gets recited over the animal at the time of slaughter.

I think I remember reading that at the live poultry market near the Cross Bronx Expressway there are both a shochet (Jewish ritual slaughterer) and the Islamic equivalent (I forget that guy's name) available to the customers. You can take the same live bird and bring it to either one. If the Jewish guy dispatches the bird and processes it for you, bang, it's kosher. If the Islamic guy deals with it, it's halal.

There are plenty of Jews and Moslems who figure that as long as meat conforms to one or the other set of dietary laws, it's good enough for them to eat. But there are also plenty who think the differences are significant enough that they're not interchangeable.

Well, that's all I know, and it's not much, but I hope it helps.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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To add to what Fat Guy said, there are things about raising kosher meat, as well as Halal meat at every step of the way. If there weren't, how would the rabbinical societies make money from that phase of it? But John is correct about kosher meat. The slaughtering process is done by slitting the throat of the animal. Then the animal is hung to allow the blood to drip out. And the process of making something kosher means that it is then soaked in salt water to ensure that all blood is removed before preparation. Anyway, try this link for an explanation about Halal

Halal case study

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"There are plenty of Jews and Moslems who figure that as long as meat conforms to one or the other set of dietary laws, it's good enough for them to eat. But there are also plenty who think the differences are significant enough that they're not interchangeable."

I beg to differ. Any kosher law-observing Jew would never in a million years eat halal meat. Some non-observant Jew who might be concerned only with the humane treatment of animals might, but no observant Jew, no way, no how.

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For what it's worth: in London at least it can be difficult to find chicken for making stock. Sometimes my butcher will happily give me wings, backs, necks, etc.; sometimes he doesn't have any available.

The halal butchers here sell "boiling chickens" for a bit of nothing: sometimes as low as £1 apiece. They are scrawny things, without much meat, and with head and feet attached. Perfect for stock making, as long as using them doesn't violate religious sensibilities.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Nina is right. Jews would never find halal meat acceptable. But that is probably because they won't eat anything that doesn't have a rabbinical seal of approval on it rather than the method of raising and slaughtering not conforming. But as I pointed out, it's not the same for Muslims.

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There are a number of halal slaughterhouses in NJ, serving the growing numbers of observant Muslim people. One, located on Orange Street in Newark, also provides a school for the education of young people in the butchering tradition. Several school lunch programs now provide allowance for halal dietary requirements.

A while back, NPR did a piece on the growing need for halal (and true kosher) butchers in college communities. One school (Univ of Michigan?) sources both meats from the same packing house, cooks them in separate but equal university kitchen facilities, and serves them from separate but equal stations in the same facility.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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"One school (Univ of Michigan?) sources both meats from the same packing house, cooks them in separate but equal university kitchen facilities, and serves them from separate but equal stations in the same facility. "

Is the Islamic version of Hillel House called Halal House? (Nina are you laughing?)

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Nina is right. Jews would never find halal meat acceptable.

I think you should've said observant Jews, orthodox or conservative denominations. From what I understand, kashrut isn't as important to reform & reconstructionist. I consider myself a conservative jew, because that the denomination I was raised with, but I've never kept kosher.

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Is the Islamic version of Hillel House called Halal House? (Nina are you laughing?)

I don't know about Nina, but I am. :laugh:

RPerlow

Former Special Events Vice President*

Hillel at the University of Delaware

* I cooked or organized all the food events, shabbat meals, Passover, etc.

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Rachel - I can get a good one off on occassion. I think Nina meant Jews that bother to keep kosher (a horrid tradition but that's for another day.) Jews who don't keep kosher would eat anything, halal or not halal. I wonder, are certain cuts of meat restricted in halal. Like in kosher law, there are no sirloins, strip steaks, etc. What about halal? Can I go to Mohamad Luger's and get myself a Porterhouse which I can't do at Moyshe Luger's?

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My great-grandfather was a rabbi in Montreal in the early part of the 20th century. I assume he was orthodox -- I don't know if there were even those divisions then. My father spent a year living with his grandparents and told me he remember that women would come to his grandfather with meat and chickens they had bought at the butcher to have him certify it as kosher. My father said one of the things that was important was that the animal/bird have no broken bones. Sometimes very poor women would come and even though there might be a broken bone or two in a chicken his grandfather would say the chicken was OK. I always liked the story -- it seemed to say that compassion was the most important thing.

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Ha ha Halal House.

You know the Bahai faith? Did you know that their sacred text is called the "Bahaible?"

heheheh

Rachel, Jews of all denominations keep kosher. I would venture to say that *all* orthodox Jews keep kosher, but plenty of conservative and reform Jews, too. It's a matter of family tradition in many cases. Personally, I'm with Steve on this one. The kashrut laws were created for practical reasons which don't exist anymore.

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The kashrut laws were created for practical reasons which don't exist anymore.

Nina, the "health" rationales were devised after the establishment of the kashruth laws, the purpose of which was purely religious and "tribal." If you can't sit down and break bread with just anyone -- chances are you won't marry and raise children out of the faith. :biggrin:

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Like in kosher law, there are no sirloins, strip steaks, etc.

Huh? Why? :blink:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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It's not an entirely precise statement.

The sciatic nerve is not kosher under the traditional Jewish dietary laws. The reason it's not has to do with Jacob injuring his hip in that wrestling match with the angel. This nerve runs through the hind quarter of a bovine. It's a royal pain in the ass (no pun intended) to remove the nerve and all its branches from the hind quarter. Thus, the traditional steak cuts from the hind quarter are not typically seen at a kosher butcher. In Israel, however, there are kosher butchers who do it. Why? Because here in the United States a kosher butcher can sell the hind quarter easily to a non-kosher butcher (at Craft, they get their short loins from kosher butchers in fact) and get more money from it that way than he'd get by spending all that time removing the sciatic nerve and selling the steaks (if you factor in the value of time). In Israel, it's not as easy to dump the hind quarters on the non-kosher market, because the kosher market is so dominant. There's also just more demand among the Israeli kosher community for these products. So you can get those cuts from the short loin, just not easily. I don't know of a kosher butcher in New York that does the procedure.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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It's not an entirely precise statement.

The sciatic nerve is not kosher under the traditional Jewish dietary laws. The reason it's not has to do with Jacob injuring his hip in that wrestling match with the angel. This nerve runs through the hind quarter of a bovine. It's a royal pain in the ass (no pun intended) to remove the nerve and all its branches from the hind quarter. Thus, the traditional steak cuts from the hind quarter are not typically seen at a kosher butcher. In Israel, however, there are kosher butchers who do it. Why? Because here in the United States a kosher butcher can sell the hind quarter easily to a non-kosher butcher (at Craft, they get their short loins from kosher butchers in fact) and get more money from it that way than he'd get by spending all that time removing the sciatic nerve and selling the steaks (if you factor in the value of time). In Israel, it's not as easy to dump the hind quarters on the non-kosher market, because the kosher market is so dominant. There's also just more demand among the Israeli kosher community for these products. So you can get those cuts from the short loin, just not easily. I don't know of a kosher butcher in New York that does the procedure.

I bet you could find one in Boro Park. I can easily find out if you're curious.

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Jin - Because only the shoulder and up on the calf is kosher. That is why rib steak, or mush steak as they call it is the big ticket in kosher restaurants. Fat Guy might be right about the sciatic nerve thing, but I never heard that before. But for some reason, the calf's feet are kosher as well and there is a dish based on cooking them and then chilling them in their own aspic.

Sandra - You are 100% correct. It's the same with not being able to drive on Saturdays. It assured that a congregation lived within walking distance of the synagogue, butcher etc. and it greatly increased the odds of Jewish boys and girls marrying each other.

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While Steve was posting his excellent explanation, I did a Google search of kashruth that resulted in a tremendous number of sites that, however, raised as many questions as they answered. The laws of kashruth are tremendously complex. I won't even bother to post a link. There's too much to wade through. I am very happy that my family never kept kosher and I grew up eating everything, even learning how to tackle a lobster at age 7.

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From the shoulder up? Hm. What if there are no non-kosher butchershops to sell the rest to? What did they do with it? :blink::wacko:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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