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More halal hysteria – Mail claims victory over Waitrose

A Manchester United fan tucks into a burger at Wembley Stadium, which serves only halal meat.

Waitrose is to introduce a range of non-halal lamb products as a  response to customers’ concerns about its meat supplies. Until now, all lamb sold by the store has been slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law, with a Muslim reciting a prayer in Arabic over the meat. But Waitrose said last night that, from now on, organic Welsh lamb from its Duchy Originals range – established by Prince Charles to market produce from his estates – will no longer be halal.

Waitrose said they made their decision in order to give customers “more choice”. But their reversal of policy comes a week after The Mail on Sunday revealed how most British supermarkets were secretly selling halal meat – especially lamb – without telling customers.

The investigation found that most New Zealand lamb sold in major British supermarkets was halal, meaning that the prayer “In the name of Allah, who is the greatest” is said at the time of slaughter. Stores selling lamb slaughtered according to Islamic law included Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

After inquiries by The Mail on Sunday last week, Waitrose said: “We have decided to offer our customers an option to buy lamb which has not received the halal blessing.” Waitrose said that all their other lamb produced in the UK and New Zealand will continue to be halal without being described as such on the packaging.

Patricia Dunton, 67, from Totteridge, North London, said she had been shopping in Waitrose for more than 30 years. Speaking before the Waitrose announcement, she said: “As a devout Christian, I won’t buy Duchy Originals lamb ever again, and I won’t buy lamb from Waitrose. I don’t like the fact that an Islamic prayer has been said over it. It should have been labelled so that I know what I am buying.”

Mail on Sunday, 3 October 2010

This is the third weekend in succession that the Mail has pursued its campaign against halal meat. See here and here.

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