A protester attacks a McDonalds worker over it’s halal menu.
A French hamburger chain, Quick, announces it is devoting stores to halal only meals, and protesters wearing pig-masks react.
KFC and Domino’s have now pulled back or completely scrapped their halal menus, because of consumer backlash in Europe.
But in Australia, halal food has exploded onto the market. Up to 80 per cent of our supermarket shelves stock halal approved foods. Now fast food chains, takeaways, and restaurants are turning halal.
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From the outside it looks like any regular Italian restaurant, but Tuscany is halal. It’s one of a growing number across the country catering to Muslims and their special religious requirements for food.
Co-owner Nadia Hasan says a halal menu ensures her restaurant stays busy.
“The only reason we’re busy and we get customers is because we’re halal. The meat needs to be slaughtered with a clean cut across the neck, and the meat needs to be drained so it’s drained of all the blood straight away, and also we need to read God’s name when we are killing the animal.”
Nadia ensures there are no other animal products used in the cooking, no alcohol and no pork. So how does she do a ham and pineapple pizza? She uses ‘facon’.
“They usually have the bacon rashers in them, which is basically smokey bacon. We have a smokey beef which is prepared exactly the same way as the way the bacon is prepared, and in all those sorts of dishes, you can’t tell.”
“I think if somebody is not going to be totally halal and it’s only logical and good business sense to include some things on the menu that are halal certified.”
Halal takeaways have spread into every popular style of food in the country. McDonalds has halal dedicated stores, so does KFC with no pork products. Nando’s chicken burgers are considered halal, while Dominos has one halal pizza; a vegetarian. Even old favourites like Chinese, Thai and Italian have gone halal.
Bill Meuhlenberg from the Family Council of Victoria is concerned Australia is going Halal too quickly.
“Some have argued this is part of the direction where Australia is heading, where more and more Australians are being coerced to bow to Islamic values,” Bill said.
“And there might be a bigger issue here of Sharia law and how much Islam concerns are being foisted upon a democratic free Australia.”
Dietician Susie Burrell isn’t surprised businesses are now going halal, it’s big money.
“I think a lot of people don’t know they are eating halal meat. It’s not necessarily labelled clearly and because it doesn’t change the taste or the way the actual meat cooks, there is no real apparent difference other than how the way it’s been slaughtered,” Susie said.
“There is no difference between the nutritional qualities of halal meat to any other meat.”
Some consumers have voted against halal foods with their feet, boycotting some products, complaining to big companies. But it isn’t stopping fast food outlets, takeaways and even multi-nationals turning halal.
Marketing expert Barry Urquhart says it is good marketing.
“This is simply a brand. It is simply like the Heart Foundation tick. In a sea of commodities and sameness it could be the point of difference that gets people talking, gets them considering, and attracts them to your fast food outlet rather than the one down the road,” Barry said.
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