By Ayub Khan, MMNS
CHICAGO, ILâ€” In response to rumors circulating in USA, Canada as well as on the internet, the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America [IFANCA] has issued a statement assuring halal consumers and retailers that all its certified products meet the strictest of Halal criteria and can be consumed without any doubt.
â€œIFANCAâ€™s procedures have been approved by a team of Islamic scholars and scientists who have developed a very stringent & independently verifiable halal authentication system, in all of its certified plants including Cargillâ€™s Better Beef Plant. IFANCAâ€™s slaughter methods are as close as practically possible to the traditional Islamic method of slaughter, where at least three out of four vessels are precisely cut, while also meeting the Canadian food safety requirements.
All cattle are slaughtered by specially trained Muslim slaughter men, who are supervised by IFANCA inspectors, the statement reads.
The press release states that the claims by a group which say that the IFANCA approved animal slaughter method do not meet the Islamic criteria are untrue.
The group in a blog posting suggests that the vertical method of cut during the animal slaughter does not meet the Islamic criteria and that it goes against the scholarly consensus.
To the above allegation IFANCA replied, â€œFirst the cut at the Cargill/Better Beef plant is not vertical cut. It is modified horizontal cut. Secondly, The claim about the jurists being unanimous is baseless. There are several methods of slaughtering animals, generally practiced being cutting the throat to sever four (4) passages, trachea, esophagus, jugular veins and carotid arteries. There is disagreement among the scholars even with the required number of openings to be cut. According to Imam Abu Hanifa all four are required to be cut. (Badai Al Sanaih, 6/41). According to his student Imam Abu Yusuf only one of the two jugular veins are required to be cut besides that of throat and windpipe. (ibid). According to other scholars only cutting of the throat and windpipe is enough. (Sharh Muhazzab, 9/84). According to Imam Malik the windpipe and the two jugular veins are required to be cut in order for the animal to be halal. (Sharh Al Sagheer, 2/154). According to another reference, the Hanafi Schoolâ€™s ruling is that at least three of the four openings should be cut. (Nasab ul Raya, 4/185-86). [This requirement of cutting at least three passages as well as complete draining of blood are met at the Cargill/Better Beef plant].â€
â€œ The slaughter men trained by IFANCA are especially instructed in cutting the required number of openings leaving no doubt about this method of halal slaughter. Hence Cargill/Better Beef is halal and zabiha, as has been certified for over 10 years by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America,â€ the statement reads.