Birmingham, UK – Halal meat is sold at a price much more expensive than non-halal meat in the UK, and, of course, in all other countries, due to the underlying costs of certification, packaging labels, etc. Therefore, some companies try to take advantage of the premium prices for Halal meat and, instead, supply non-halal meat under the guise of Halal labels. One such case was filed two years ago and decided in a local court recently. On July 19, 2012, Commerce Standards officers visited the Birmingham City Council supermarket wholesaler JKY Food Solutions Limited and found fake halal meat there.
Under Operation Swordfish, thus called, investigations were carried out on a Birmingham merchant – supplying non-Halal meat with Halal labels. As reported by the official website of the Birmingham City Council on 9/10/2014, the officers posing as customers bought meat before Ramadan. They bought a case of 12 kg which had a Halal label, for 22 pounds. The bill also demonstrated the word Halal written in Arabic script. Upon investigation, it turned out the meat was originally supplied by a large Irish merchant who was not selling halal chicken at all.
“When the defendant receives the meat from a supplier of chicken meat, the meat is not packaged or labeled halal. Yet when they sold they marked it halal” said attorney Barry Berlin before the trial court Birmingham Crown. At JKY, there were 274 boxes of chicken meat valued at almost 6,000 pounds. According to Berlin, this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg, because the record shows that the company is selling more than 1,000 crates of chicken meat to various suppliers per month. JKY declared in violation of the General Food Regulations 2004, selling nonhalal meat as halal meat. The company was fined 35,000 pounds. The company must also pay court costs of 26,910 pounds.
Councilman Barbara Dring who heads the Committee on License and Public Protection in Birmingham pledged to work closely with the Food Standards Agency in addressing this issue. “Counterfeiting food is a big issue that we take very seriously. We will take proper action, including legal action,” she said.
This case should be a wake-up call to all the meat suppliers that they should label their products properly. Otherwise, they will have to face the consequences dearly, due to public awareness and, legal lawsuits against them.