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Sausages with Pork Fat Stir Controversy over Halal Label

According to Islamic law, halal foods are free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming. It implies that the products have been carefully processed produced, manufactured and stored using utensils, equipment and machinery that have been cleansed in conformity with Islamic teaching.
29 Jun 2020 15:46
One of the contradictorily labeled Fresh Chick sausage packs

Audio 5

Halal, an Arabic word to mean permitted, is a dietary standard prescribed in the Qur’an. To Muslims, the label is a certification and a green light for consuming a food product. 

According to Islamic law, halal foods are free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming. It implies that the products have been carefully processed and stored using utensils, equipment and machinery that have been cleansed in conformity with Islamic teaching.

This belief was however shaken when a picture of Beef Sausages with a halal label and pork fat as one of its ingredients went viral on social media a few days ago. The sausages were packaged by Classic Cuts Butchery Limited, owned by one Eric Sabiiti on behalf of Fresh Chicks Ltd, a company owned by one Peace Batamiriza. 

Peace Batamiriza, the proprietor Fresh Chicks Ltd acknowledges the mistake but hastens to add that the packaging team erred by using labels that were meant for another product. Batamiriza says that upon detecting the problem, her team advised supermarkets to sell them among pork products.   

//Cue in; “Sausages tezalimu kizibu…      

Cue out… tekigenda kuddamu kubeerawo.”//  

Consumption of pork is forbidden in Islamic teaching, alongside dead meat, blood and any animal which is not invoked in the name of ‘Allah’. But because many people do not read the ingredients on the products they purchase, this ‘mistake’ could have exposed a number of Muslims and seventh day Adventists to pork products, believing that the sausages conformed to instructions on halal.

David Kafeero, a Seventh-day Adventist told URN in Kampala that what happened was inexcusable.

//Cue in; “Omanyi kati bwetuba… 

Cue out… nze ndya buli.”// 

Sheikh Munir Ssebintu, the Halal Officer at Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, says that it’s illegal for anyone to use the word Halal in Uganda without authorization from his department.  He explains that if the incident was a mistake the sausage makers are obliged to write an apology through the council.  

//Cue in; “Aba amanye mateeka...       

Cue out; yakola nsobi mubuwandiike.”//    

Aminah Nabatanzi, a vendor in Owino market believes it the placement of the label was a deliberate decision by the company to make money.  

  //Cue in; “Nze kangambe nti…    

Cue out… mba sisobola kugiggula.”//      

City Lawyer, Abdullah Kiwanuka says labelling pork sausages as halal is an offence in different Ugandan laws since it amounts to misrepresentation. 

//Cue in; “It’s totally a…  

Cue out… the question should eat.”// 

The Food and Drug Act makes it unlawful to falsely label food or drugs.  It provides that any person who falsely describes food or drug with intentions to mislead as to its nature, substance or quality commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand Shillings.   

In Islamic teaching, Halal goes beyond the label. Traditional halal meat is killed by hand and must be blessed by the slaughterman in line with the strict Islam laws on slaughtering animals.

For meat to be considered Halal, the animal must be alive and healthy before it is killed, and all the blood must be drained from the body. This is because Islam places great emphasis on the way in which an animal’s life ends, according to a write up by the Islamic Council of Victoria.