Friday, 15 October 2010

Tesco reluctant to refund Christian woman who unknowingly bought halal lamb

A Christian woman who unknowingly bought a joint of halal lamb from Tesco returned it to the store for a refund. The duty manager told her she could not have a refund unless the meat was 'faulty'.

Upon pointing out that a muslim wouldn't be treated in the same way, the woman was finally given a refund.

I have tried time and time again to get Tesco to answer my questions on the meat they sell but have never been given a response.

Yesterday I again sent emails to five top supermarkets including Tesco. So far I have had a response from two of them...


Thank you for your e-mail.

In light of recent media reports we would like to take this opportunity to clarify our policy regarding our lamb.

Our approach and priority for all of our meat is to ensure animal welfare of the highest standard, approved by the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA). Our practices are also in line with the recommendations of Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA.

All our lamb is electrically stunned before slaughter meaning that animals are unconscious and are not subjected to pain. UK law currently permits halal slaughter both with stunning and without.

Other UK supermarkets also follow this practice.

To give our customers a choice, our Duchy Originals from Waitrose lamb is not halal.

However, we will continue to allow the halal blessing for the rest of our lamb so that abattoirs can sell the parts of the carcass that we don't use to other markets - this minimises food waste, keeps prices down for our customers and helps our farmers to compete against foreign imports.

We have placed information about the slaughter process for our lamb on our website so that customers can make an informed decision.

Chris Zawadzki
Waitrose Customer Sales and Support.



Thank you for your email concerning the sale of halal meat.

I hope that you will find the following information useful and that it will alleviate the concerns that you have regarding this matter.

All own-brand fresh and frozen meat and poultry sold in Co-operative and Somerfield stores has been humanely stunned prior to slaughter, and all abattoirs and processing plants supplying our own-brand products are required to work to the standards laid down by the Humane Slaughter Association in their Codes of Practice.

All our own-brand meat and poultry, with the exception of seasonal New Zealand lamb, is British Farm Assured. We require the New Zealand farms, abattoirs and processing plants to adopt the same high welfare standards as we expect from sites in the UK.

As is the case with the overwhelming majority of lamb from New Zealand, our own-brand lamb from New Zealand is slaughtered in accordance with halal procedure, but, as detailed above, all animals are humanely stunned prior to slaughter. As the process used for all our own-brand lamb is essentially the same, and the welfare of the animal is not compromised at any stage, we do not label any of the lamb as halal.

All our own-brand British lamb has been humanely stunned prior to slaughter, to the standards laid down by the Humane Slaughter Association in their Codes of Practice. We do not specify halal in our product specification, although some supplying sites do produce (pre-stunned) halal lamb for other customers.

We sell British lamb and New Zealand lamb seasonally. We do not sell any own-brand halal beef or chicken. We sell a halal-labelled branded chicken range in three stores in London, but again the birds used for these products are pre-stunned before slaughter.

I do hope that the above information provides you with reassurance. Should you require any further information or assistance please contact me on our Freephone number 0800 0686 727 or by email to my personal mailbox

Yours Sincerely

Danielle Lewis Customer Relations Office

As soon as I receive a response from the other stores I will put them up.

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