Food Policy

The Stupidest Pseudo-Story of the Week

The Daily Mail freaks out over halal food.


This is the actual front page of a British newspaper today:

But do they serve halal food to little boys in heaven?
Daily Mail

Halal food is basically the Islamic counterpart to kosher food, so this is essentially equivalent to a paper breathlessly announcing that "MILLIONS ARE EATING KOSHER FOOD WITHOUT KNOWING IT." Or, if you want to make the barely concealed subtext explicit, "RABBIS ARE PUTTING SOME WEIRD JEW-SPELL ON YOUR MEALS."

For a while, the would-be exposé tries to make this an issue of animal cruelty. "In conventional slaughterhouses, cows, sheep and chicken are stunned, usually with an electric shock, to ensure they are unconscious before their throats are cut," the reporters write. "This minimises suffering but in most Muslim countries halal animals are not stunned." But then the paper acknowledges that "Muslim religious leaders have responded to these concerns by allowing halal animals to be stunned before they are killed" and that the great majority of Britain's halal sheep, cattle, and poultry are indeed pre-stunned. So if the pain felt by the animal as it dies is what concerns you, whether the food is halal is in itself immaterial.

No, the real fear here is the idea that meat certified as halal carries some sort of Islamic cooties. The paper eventually says this outright, invoking "conservative Christians, who take particularly unkindly to products endorsed by a rival faith popping up on high-street restaurant menus." It then quotes a man identified as a representative of the Christian Institute, who tells the paper that he is "opposed to the Islamification of food." And the newspaper embraces his concern, giving one article in its package the headline "A stealthy takeover of Britain's supermarket shelves."

A stealthy takeover by subversive meat products. Even for the Daily Mail, this is insane.

Bonus link: A false rumor hits the United Arab Emirates claiming that McDonald's burgers secretly contain pork.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Pro-Russian Activists in Ukraine Planning to Hold Autonomy Referendum, House Holds Former IRS Official in Contempt, White House Praises NSA Bill

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  1. Oh, dear Lord, no, not Muslim food!

    1. Ooh, is Muslim food made from real Muslims? Count me in! Is there a premium I can pay for Muslim food made from only the finest orphans?

      1. Sorry. That fine delicacy is reserved for our Jewish patrons.

  2. Why, at least eight or ten times a week, I have a meal without pork!


  3. I don’t give a damn if it is Halal I want my frigging Gyros and Hummas

    1. Is there anything better than Mediterranean cuisine? Italian, Greek, Spanish, Middle Eastern, yum.

      1. Italian, Greek, Lebanese are freaking the best. Spanish is ok.

          1. About Spanish, I mean.

        1. Spanish is the shit. The ham alone makes it the best thing in the world.

          1. Ah, this time last year I was in Barcelona. I had ham every day, and it was never anything less than extraordinary.

          1. Mediterranean is not the only good stuff!

            oooh, I forgot to include Indian and Indonesian!

            Oh forget it…I JUST LOVE FOOD!!!!!

            1. Oh, sure. And I like sushi. And American food. And Caribbean food.

            2. And lets not forget the Cuban food. The Yummy delicious Cuban food.

          2. Oh man, I ended up at Pamir Kabob House in Temecula on the way back from a wedding and it was delectable.

            I’m someone’s backup date for a wedding in the area on the condition we go there afterward.

      2. Can you Throw in Ethiopian too? They’re not quite on the Med but very close and damn that is some tasty food

        1. I, too, enjoy Ethiopian.

            1. Queen of Sheba here in Tampa.

          1. As long as I can use silverware or at least chopsticks .

        2. I don’t know why but I’m just not a fan of Ethiopian food.

          1. I’m not thrilled with the bread, which is an issue since you’re supposed to eat with it, but I love everything else.

  4. Don’t be fooled by the T&A on the Daily Mail website, so beloved by sarcasmic. The actual paper is a kneejerk dog-whistling pearl-clutching POS. So this is very par for the course

    1. Most of the articles on the site are, too. It’s only the T&A that isn’t. And some of that is too.

    2. At least they don’t use the abominable term “boffins” as often as the Register.

      1. Aww, “boffins” is cute!

        1. Oh, no. It is ridiculous. I mean, by that, “worthy of ridicule.”

  5. If the animals are stunned before their throats are cut, it ain’t halal. Just saying…

  6. “..A false rumor hits the United Arab Emirates claiming that McDonald’s burgers secretly contain pork…”

    Bacon cheeseburgers are no mere rumor, and there’s nothing secret about it…

    1. I suspect they might not do the bacon in UAE.

      1. Turkey bacon instead, maybe?

        Fakin’ bacon

        1. There is no such thing as turkey bacon.

  7. I’m confused, do people actually read this paper in an attempt to be informed, and not just as a joke? It strikes me as just the British version of national enquirer, though probably with fewer stories about Elvis meeting space aliens

    1. “..It strikes me as just the British version of national enquirer The Onion..”

      1. The British version of The Onion is The Daily Mash. I, for one, like it better – The Onion is too PC these days.

        This is their take on the issue at hand.

        1. This one was hilarious.

    2. More like the British version of the NY Post or something.

      1. That article is waaaay beneath The Post, believe it or not.

      2. If that was the NY Post it would have been headlined “Crouching Consumer, Hidden Halal” or somesuch.

    3. The Mail is for middle class old ladies who like to worry about how scary and troubling everything is and who want to know what’s wrong with Britain, but only if there is some outside force to blame.

      1. Or if there are chavs to blame.

        1. And the Daily Record blames all the nations ills on the rich, Tories, the English, Yanks, Marget Thatcher (much in the same way as Boosh!!!) or all of the above.

          The main character from The Full Monty was modeled after every male in my ex’s family.

          1. But I thought the main character from The Full Monty was modeled after every male in my dad’s family!

            1. Hey, maybe you two are related!!!!?

              *ducks and runs*

    4. The Daily Mail and other similar tabloids are considered normal, if low-brow, newspapers. My (now ex-) Scottish in-laws read the Scottish/left leaning analog to the DM, the Daily Record to be “informed.” While the British tabloids can be over the top, the American equivalent is the NY Post, not the National Enquirer.

      1. Sir Humphrey: The only way to understand the Press is to remember that they pander to their readers’ prejudices.

        Jim Hacker: Don’t tell me about the Press. I know *exactly* who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they *ought* to run the country. The Times is read by the people who actually *do* run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who *own* the country. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by *another* country. The Daily Telegraph is read by the people who think it is.

        Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

        Bernard Woolley: Sun readers don’t care *who* runs the country – as long as she’s got big tits.

        1. Excellent!

  8. It’s like 9/11 in my mouth.

    1. That’s what your mom said last night. [/saw the easy joke; took it]

      1. The “tower” couldn’t stay upright and collapsed in a heap of ruin?

  9. Jesse,

    The objection to halal meats is not that they have Muslim or Jewish cooties. It is that the method of butchering an animal consistent with Halal is cruel and barbaric. They cut the animals throat and let it bleed and choke to death. I would not eat a Halal meat for that reason and it would piss me off to be served it without knowing what it was.

    This is the same thing as serving people veal or fois gras without telling them.

    1. the great majority of Britain’s halal sheep, cattle, and poultry are indeed pre-stunned. So if the pain felt by the animal as it dies is what concerns you, whether the food is halal is in itself immaterial.

      1. The great majority is not all and so both the people who want halal and those who don’t are being defrauded. In one case being given food that is not pre-stunned and in the other in given food which does not follow halal practice.

        So the Daily Mail should be praised in exposing this fraud no matter how much Reason Magazine want to hide the facts.

        1. “Fraud”? Please.

    2. Halal and Kosher slaughtering is not cruel or barbaric. Veal and foie gras production is not cruel or barbaric.

      1. That is your opinion. Others disagree. They have a right to know what they are eating. That is the issue here. It has nothing to do with Islam. It is about notice to customers. If you think Halal meat is great, good for you. Businesses shouldn’t be selling such without saying what it is, since many people take a different view.

        1. Customers should also be given notice if they are being served GMO food?

          1. No because giving such notice is wildly impractical due to the huge numbers of ingredients in many food products.

            This is different since giving notice is very simple and easy to do. If giving notice of gmo were this easy and cheap, I would support that too.

            Every business has some duty under contract law to truthfully inform their customer of what they are selling them. How far that duty extends is a question of how relevant the information at issue is and how easy it is for the business to reveal it. Where that line is is a very fact specific question. Wherever it is, giving notice of it being halal meat is clearly on the disclose side given how easy it is to do and how important it is to some customers on both sides of the issue. If I am a strict Muslim, I would like to know if what I am ordering is Halal just as much as I would if I were objecting to such for ethical reasons.

            1. If you want to know you can ask. Otherwise, they should have no more obligation to label Halal than to label GMO.

          2. Newspapers can report the facts. That is what is happening here. If the public read the article and then asked their supermarket or other food supplier about it then that is their right. Free market in action.

            No need for government involvement unless of fraud is being perpetrated

            1. DJF,

              I agree. But if the supermarkets are in fact selling something under false pretenses, it is fraud and is something the newspapers ought to report. Jesse acts like the only reason anyone would care is because they hate Muslims and that is just false.

              1. I don’t see how it’s false pretenses. If the package says “Beef” and it has beef in it, no one is defrauded. Unless they generally announce how the meat sold in supermarkets is slaughtered.

                I think that allowing some voluntary “humanely slaughtered” label would be a much better idea than requiring Kosher or Halal meat to be labeled as such.

                1. How about if we add ‘a Rabbi or a Iman was paid to wave his hands over this meat”

              2. “But if the supermarkets are in fact selling something under false pretenses, it is fraud and is something the newspapers ought to report.”

                Only if the meat is being sold as “non-halal” or “haram” meat. Somehow, I don’t think that’s the case here. My guess is that it’s simply being sold as what it is – meat. And nobody really bothered to think about whether it was Muslim meat or not.

          3. Sure, just voluntarily state on the label that your product could contain GMO ingredients and let it go at that. Just like the labels that warn you the stuff in the package could have come in contact with something that was once near a peanut.

          4. Halal and Kosher meat tastes different.

            A bloodless animal has a different flavor.

            This is most evident with poultry.

            So, yes, it should be labeled.

        2. The interests of the animal-rightsers can be served by some entrepreneur selling only meat from “humanely” killed animals.

          Then the UK’s equivalent of the birkenstock-and-BMW crowd can simply buy only from companies with a “non-cruelty” seal, just like the organic companies in the US.

          1. then you disagree. That still doesn’t make Jessee’s assertion that this thing is about prejudice against Muslims any more correct.

            And you really are not disagreeing with me. You are just saying that anything that is no halal should be marked as such. That is the same thing as marking it, just in reverse. Either way the result is people know what they are getting.

            1. I’m not saying it’s about being anti-Muslim – though you wouldn’t know it from the DM article.

              It’s about passing “animal rights” laws that, coincidentally or not, trample all over Jews and Muslims.

              1. But the DM probably couldn’t get away with an article about the Kosher Menace – even though there seems to be more of a conflict between kashrut and “animal rights” than between halal and “animal rights.”

              2. I would never support banning Halal meats anymore than I would support banning circumcision. I just think such meats should be marked as such.

                1. Fine, but I think in Europe, this is simply a first step toward a ban.

                  It will be like the HHS mandate – “why do these Jews and Muslims want to be exempt from the laws which apply to everyone else?”

                  Europeans have already gone after circumcision, I would be surprised if ritual slaughter wan’t in their sights, too.

                  And some “humane” entrepreneur could do what the organic people do here – set standards which the picky consumers demand, claim their product meets those standards, and get subject to fraud claims if their *announced* standards are violated.

                  That way, if meat isn’t labelled one way or another, consumers are choosing to take the “risk” that the animal was ritually slaughtered, and they can’t complain because they could always go to the product with the “humane” seal of approval.

                2. Why should Kosher or Halal get specially singled out among slaughter methods for labeling? It is still what it says on the package. Or do you also think that the package should be labeled to say whether the animal was stunned by electricity or with a captive bolt or whatever other methods there are?

                  1. Why should Kosher or Halal get specially singled out among slaughter methods for labeling?

                    For the same reason something that has veal in it should say so. If there are other methods of slaughter that people find objectionable, label them too. I am not singling anything out.

                    1. OK. It just seems to me that the method of slaughter is not something that is generally on packaging, so it really isn’t deceptive or fraudulent. But I don’t think it would be a terribly unreasonable rule to require the labeling.

              3. It’s about passing “animal rights” laws that, coincidentally or not, trample all over Jews and Muslims.

                It’s about eradicating meat production in the UK altogether. The animal rights nut jobs are just getting a little boost by mixing in some anti-Muslim bigotry.

            2. assertion that this thing is about prejudice against Muslims any more correct

              Did you read the article, John? A large chunk of it is Christians saying they don’t want magical Muslim food being served to their children. Walker is just saying that the Daily Mail is being crazy, not that everyone who has an opinion on halal meat is a religious nut. There is a religious aspect to this issue and the Mail is flogging it hard to generate scandal, and revenue.

              ‘As the Prime Minister said a week ago, we are a Christian country,’ adds Mr Davies.

              ‘People expect that the majority of meat in the country will be slaughtered in a traditional way, and that halal will be in a minority for people who want to seek it out.

              1. Yep. Not all of the people who object are anti-muslim, but the Mail is certainly pushing that angle with the headline and tone of the article.

              2. Wait, wut? There is a Christian slaughter now too?

                1. Sure – A Protestant internalizes guilt about the slaughter, a Catholic publicly feels guilt about it, the LDS try the most gentle method possible, and a Calvinist figures the cow had it coming anyway?


          2. the UK’s equivalent of the birkenstock-and-BMW crowd

            They call them “Guardian Readers” I think.

      2. While I don’t disagree about kosher and halal being no more barbaric than the simple act of being carnivorous, that is why this is a story there. It had nothing to do with the dirty muslims as Jesse is trying to make it.

        The English have a huge animal rights movement, possibly the world’s most virulent animal rights movement. The outrage, whether right or misguided, is at the butchering practices themselves, not the idea that the meat may be tainted by the prophet.

        1. I think there is a bit of anti-muslim slant to headline and how it is reported, if not to the people who are actually protesting the slaughtering practices. It woudl certainly fit in with the Mail’s editorial slant. As someone else pointed out, the same thing happens with Kosher meat, but they chose Halal because they know their audience

          1. What is wrong with being anti-Muslim?

            Being a Muslim is a belief, why can’t I be against that belief?

            Will you next say that I can’t be anti-communist?

            1. Where did I say that you can’t or shouldn’t be anti-Muslim? I’m just stating what appear to be matters of fact.

              I’m not a big fan of Islam and if people want to criticize it for the things that are bad about it, that’s great. There is certainly plenty to criticize. But Halal meat, silly though it may be, is not really one.

              Still, I am all for you or anyone else being opposed to any belief system that you find objectionable. (Though I do think it is obnoxious assholery to be anti-muslim to the extent that you get the vapors at the thought of eating Halal meat sometimes.)

        2. What’s that you say about the taint of the prophet?

          1. If it was a story by The Guardian or The Times, it would be the taint of the profit they’d be flipping out over.

          2. “taint of the prophet”

            nice band name

            1. Taint is also a fine magazine.


            2. And the taint of the prophet is pictured on the madrassah wall
              The city wall echoes with the sound of muezzin

          3. taint of the prophet

            great band name.

            1. doh!

              that’ll teach me to hit refresh before posting

      3. Halal and Kosher slaughtering is not cruel or barbaric. Veal and foie gras production is not cruel or barbaric.

        Just because you say so. Got it.

        1. Two can play that game.

  10. Maybe some people don’t want their food turned into a religious act and having to pay extra for it since both the Muslims and the Jews charge for their hand waving and chants.

    1. They already were paying for it and apparently had no problem with it. Try again.

      1. They did not know they are paying for it and what is wrong with a person having knowledge about what they are buying?

        1. I have no problem with voluntary labeling – but if they were buying it, considered the price OK and the taste the same, I fail to see much of a price related complaint. Now, as to a complaint on ethical grounds…sure.

  11. Stupider than “Little boy who says he sent to heaven–then came back”?

    Inexplicably, yes.

    1. And the head of the Oxford Union is accused of rape!

      Now, *that* doesn’t happen every day.

      That I know of.

      1. Was it rape-rape or buyers remorse? I didn’t RTFA.

      2. I’m assuming the guy in the photo was the rapie.

  12. I *wish* this were a pseudo-story.

    It’s more sinister than that – it occurs in the context of campaigns in Europe to require animal-slaughter procedures which violate Jewish and norms – and perhaps Muslim norms, too.

    The following is buried in the article:

    “Jewish religious authorities deny cruelty and refuse to allow pre-stunning for kosher food.”

    But the “creeping Sharia” angle will resonate more with readers (since there *are* bothersome examples of the UK granting unreasonable Muslim demands).

    The article says that right now, the “animal cruelty” activists just want a labeling requirement for meat where the animals weren’t stunned. But if experience elsewhere in Europe is any guide, they’re working up to banning ritual slaughter altogether.

    1. Creeping Sharia: the new International Jewish Conspiracy?

      1. Creeping Sharia is the name of the new Metallica song on their upcoming album Ride the Magic Carpet to Mecca

      2. Sounds like a skin infection. What do you take for it, I wonder?

    2. The delicious irony of the person seeking to ban the “cruel killing of unborn babies” doing olympic-grade contortions to justify the cruel killing of non-human organisms to satisfy primitive supersitions.

      Thanks, Eddy, I needed a good LOL today.

      1. It appears from that argument that you are equating humans and food animals.

        Is Soylent Green on your menu?!!!

        1. Fried fetus is delicious!

  13. Oh, what the Halal.

  14. There’s a restaurant in NYC that specializes in Traif foods. I imagine there’s a medium well, bacon shrimp cheeseburger on the menu.

    1. You mean…traif?

      I freaking love that place. Their specialty is actually bacon doughnuts.

      1. (And for those who don’t know, it’s in Williamsburg, where you can hear sirens calling you home in time for shabbat.)

        1. Is that the one where Penn Gillette took the former Hasidic Jew?

          1. Actually, I first heard about it from that Penn Point video.

            1. It’s a seriously amazing restaurant. The baby back ribs are killer. The fried quail is awesome. They make the best scallops I’ve ever eaten. I could go on. At length.

              1. Not all observant Jews are strict followers of Kashrut. But for those who are, eating your first bacon-wrapped shrimp must be near orgasmic.

        2. Was this part of the original plan of the Rockefellers and Rev. Dr. Goodwin for the restoration of the colonial capital, or something that was added in light of later archeological and historical discoveries?

        3. I thought in Williamsburg, it is the sound of bad hipster music played on concertinas from fixy bikes by a beardo in a porkpie hat calling you home for shabbat?

          1. Nah, the hipsters and Hasidim exist in parallel realities.

      2. I’ve only heard about it. Never been.

        I hope there’s a “Cultural Assimilation” lunch special or an “Accept Jesus as the Messiah” happy hour.

        1. And all the waitresses are shiksas.

          1. Down the street the owners have another place, “Xixa,” pronounced “shiksa.”

            1. Is this like Rule 34?

      3. Naturally it’s in Williamsburg. I assume that they will lend you a whimsical mustache to wear while you’re seated, in case you don’t already have one.

        1. It’s required, actually.

    2. It’s my experience that ritual dieters prefer to overcook their food. So, make my traif surf and turf rare, the way Baal intended.

      1. Well, it’s in NYC. I imagine local ordinances mandate a temperature no lower than medium well.

        1. Nah, they don’t care about that as long as you have to ask for salt and can’t order a large soda.

  15. “Kebabs, Mandrake… they’re everywhere now, have you noticed? Foreign hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo is being introduced into our precious food-supply without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Islamofascist works.”

    1. Yeah I really don’t care. I want more immigrants bringing their yummy native cuisines here.

      I mean the Conch Empenadas my wife and I picked up in Lawrence Ma (a real shithole of a town where English doesn’t help you very much) last weekend were so friggin good my wife practically had an orgasm eating them.

  16. 1 Corinthians 8:7-8

    But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.


      1. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

        Paul’s got ya covered GILMORE.

    2. As an atheist, I couldn’t give a crap about dietary rituals.

      But Christianity has my favorite dietary rituals. Aside from watching your alcohol intake, there’s virtually none at all.

      Food, sex, and other lifestyle rituals are reminders that religion originates from human insecurities about our basic bodily functions.

      1. Most of them are ancient public health laws, essentially.

        1. Pork and crustaceans, I can understand. But why the prohibition of meat and dairy?

          1. If someone gets sick, it’s easier to tell if it’s because the milk is bad or because the meat is bad.

      2. Some Christian traditions have fasting as an exercise of spiritual discipline, limiting oneself to certain foods for certain periods like Lent – not because the other foods are icky or bad.

        1. Or, simply seasonal subsidies for preferred business the Church.

          1. Yeah…wait, what? What does that even mean?

            1. db had ancestors screwed over by Big Lentil? Big Fish?

            2. He’s probably talking about the fish (and capybaras) on Fridays thing.

              It sounds like the plot of a Dan Brown thriller: A powerful medieval pope makes a secret pact to prop up the fishing industry that ultimately alters global economics. The result: Millions of Catholics around the world end up eating fish on Fridays as part of a religious observance.

              1. Wow, even NPR doesn’t believe that story!

      3. Depends on the particular xtians, Caleb. Some do their best to follow OT dietary dictates. Granted, these are in the minority, but as outsiders we are in no position to judge who is a true xtian and who is just a poser.

        1. And because my parents will buy any product that purports to make their lives more in line with God’s plan:

          The Maker’s Diet by Jordan S.Rubin, N.M.D., Ph.D.

          We are in a health crisis. Virtually every disease is on the rise, and we have never been at greater risk. Statistics indicate that nearly 25% of the population is morbidly obese, with 60% classified as overweight; childhood obesity is a health concern for the first time in our recorded history.

          Fortunately, there is a way for us to help control whether or not we become part of the grim health statistics, but it requires proactive participation. From the inception of humanity until now, there has been a plan for optimal health.

          Humanity’s design has not changed, and neither has its nutrition requirements. Historical human nutrition and contemporary scientific studies indicate a way of nourishing the body that will attain and maintain overall health in the way it was designed. In as little as 40 days, “The Maker’s Diet” can transform the way you eat and live.

          The health statistics reflect what the “modern” diet can do; the challenge is to discover what “The Maker’s Diet” can do!

          1. That sounds more like a fad diet marketed to Christians and less like a religious thing. Not that dieting isn’t practically a religion to some people.

            1. sounds more like a fad diet marketed to Christians

              Totally, but it uses the language of making your life more in tune with God’s plan for humanity as a selling point. I had offered to set up a tent in the back yard because my sister had her monthly visitor around the time my mother had purchased this and she got angry and said “That’s totally different. We have proper sanitation now!” I plotzed.

          2. In as little as 40 days. Of course.

            But without seeing the contents of the diet, it sounds as though they’re marketing it under the same rationale as the paleo diet (what man ate pre-civilization, or over 300 generations ago), which is a fairly odd marketing gimmick given the literalist interpretation fo creation.

  17. I read this as a hilarious joke about GMOs.

    1. I went home and wrote in my diary; “Reason wrote-up a very funny joke today”, I laughed about it later that night!

  18. Oh, I thought “Little boys who says he went to Heaven–and the came Back” was what the author meant by “The Stupidest Pseudo-Story of the Week.”

  19. And I’ll bet that at some point, even if just for a brief moment or two, one or more of the packing plant’s management are facing in the general direction of Mecca.

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