Halal is a lifestyle that emphasizes healthy living through food and actions. Muslims and non-Muslims often associate the term with foods alone; however, its principles can apply to many areas of life.
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Halal food is considered religiously permissible food in Islam. Rather than simply a diet plan, halal eating involves eating an assortment of nutritious food while living a balanced lifestyle and avoiding activities that could harm both body and mind.
Near Ninth Avenue and East 96th Street in Manhattan, Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, and Atlantic Avenue in Queens – as well as in many neighborhoods where Muslims make their home – you’ll find small storefronts that once housed Italian, French, or kosher butchers now boasting “halal” signs to assure shoppers that all meat in these storefronts has been ritually slaughtered according to Islamic law. Taxicab drivers also come by these shops at dawn, dusk, and late at night for prayer stops as drivers stop before praying at these establishments.
Domestic halal meat supply chains consist of farmers or breeders, abattoirs, meat processors, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers that work together to supply local Muslim consumers with locally raised halal products from multiple locations. University of Minnesota Extension facilitates this process by helping local governments, communities, and farmers build relationships with halal buyers – the university also publishes an introduction guide that offers more details.
Halal meat markets are an expanding food service trend. Found primarily in areas with significant Muslim populations, these shops specialize in meat that has been ritually slaughtered according to Islamic law and must still be alive at slaughtering time for blood to drain out completely and become blemish-free before it can be sold for sale. Furthermore, all halal butchers must abide by strict rules regarding how and where their products will be processed and stored.
These stores not only sell halal meats but often also provide ready-to-cook meals such as curries and falafels for customers to cook at home, with helpful tips from staff on how best to do this. Furthermore, some halal butchers sell ingredients and spices so customers can create their dishes!
For your halal butcher shop to be successful, it will require a business plan that details your goals and how you’ll reach them. Your plan should also contain financial projections and potential risks you must consider. Furthermore, outline your management structure, employees, and staffing requirements when writing this document.
An essential aspect of opening a halal butcher shop is securing a reliable meat supplier who can quickly deliver top-quality meat at competitive prices, meeting both market and customer demands.
A halal butcher must comply with local health regulations, such as having proper food handling practices in place and maintaining a clean working environment. Furthermore, an effective waste disposal system and adequate labeling of products sold must be in place.
Halal markets provide many advantages, from giving income sources for Muslim communities to creating opportunities for people from various religious backgrounds to connect. Furthermore, Minnesota stands to benefit economically through an increase in employment opportunities through this industry.
Meats by the Pound
Halal meat shops have quickly become the go-to spot in Muslim neighborhoods across America, replacing Italian, French, and kosher butcher shops as the go-to choice. Now, they offer whole lambs, goats, beef, veal, and chicken that has been ritually slaughtered according to Islamic law – something Italian or French butcher shops once offered as grocery store options.
On a recent afternoon in Paterson, ENA Meat Packing’s 33-year-old halal slaughterhouse boasted the sounds of wooly sheep baaing and cows mooing — both signs that their animal home had arrived safely from abroad. Tucked away in an industrial section, ENA Meat Packing provides one of the most significant operations for exclusively halal meat production in America.
Family-run operation harvests over 400,000 lamb and goats and nearly 40,000 cows every year from animals certified as healthy breeding age and slaughtered following Islamic tradition. Food from this operation is distributed to butchers, restaurants, and grocery stores that sign a pledge not to sell anything that isn’t halal; additionally, each slaughterhouse follows an Islamic protocol which involves saying Bismillah (“In the Name of God”) before each slaughter.
The slaughterhouse does not stun animals before slaughter, which involves administering shock or blow to livestock before killing, which many Muslims consider forbidden under Islam. Furthermore, no pork products or alcohol were used during processing – this facility must pass inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service to meet state laws, which require businesses to live up to their representations about what food products they sell.
Meats by the Slice
Halal meat markets are an invaluable addition to New York neighborhoods’ mosaic of specialty grocery shops. Here, authentic ingredients and personalized service meet. These stores also provide information about cultures and traditions worldwide as they sell foods from around the globe and delicious slices of halal meat that can be enjoyed alone or used as ingredients in other dishes.
Massaud Salem moved from Libya in 1971 to Pittsburgh to pursue his Master of Mathematics degree but soon discovered that many residents lacked access to healthy and fresh foods from home. So he opened a butcher shop on Atwood Street to provide access to halal meat for international neighbors, later moving it onto PITT’s campus, where he cooked and served meals to students as part of his public service efforts. Today, his son Abdullah continues his father’s legacy, using local and global sources to bring high-quality halal products directly into communities worldwide.
Halal meat differs from Kosher in that it does not contain alcohol and must be slaughtered by cutting the throat, severing both the carotid artery and windpipe, with blood draining fully out before slaughtering occurs. Furthermore, both grass-fed and grain-fed animals must not contain antibiotics or growth hormones in their feed before slaughter occurs.
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