Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Truly Thorny Ethical Dilemma

Every once in a while, a story comes across the wire that shows the real reason people get so worked up over school meals and the real complications that it presents for politics. This is one at a local level in England. This story is reprinted from the Australian,

School meals go halal in London

David Brown, The Australian

SCHOOL dinners for thousands of pupils in Britain will contain only halal meat from next month.

The move comes despite anger from parents who are opposed to the religious slaughter of animals

Meat from animals killed in accordance with Islamic teaching will be on the menu at high schools in Harrow, northwest London. Primary schools can express interest in the scheme when term starts next month.

The decision has drawn praise, but critics say parents were not consulted, and some have complained at the forced adoption of religious practices.

Harrow Council is believed to be the first local authority in Britain to insist on halal meat, apparently on the recommendation of dieticians. The borough is in the most religiously diverse area in Britain; just under half of the population is Christian, a fifth Hindu, 7 per cent Muslim and 6 per cent Jewish.

Pakistan Society of Harrow co-ordinator Mohammad Rizvi said: "For Muslim children the only option they have to eat is halal whereas it isn't a problem for children of other faiths to eat halal. This isn't about Islamification or pandering to Muslims, it's just common sense."

However, a leading organisation that supervises the slaughter of animals under Islamic rules disagrees.

Masood Khawaja, of the Halal Food Authority, said: "It is commendable for schools to provide halal meals but there must be an alternative for non-Muslims. Some people are opposed to halal and kosher meat on animal welfare grounds."

The halal market is estimated to be worth more than £2 billion ($3.5bn) a year in Britain, where more non-Muslims than Muslims now consume halal meat.

Halal rules require animals to be slaughtered by having their throats cut, allowing the blood to drain out, a practice condemned by the RSPCA and government veterinary experts, but exempt from animal welfare laws.

National Secular Society president Terry Sanderson said: "By only offering halal meat there is an assumption that a Muslim's conscience is more important than someone who is concerned about animal rights."

The Times

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's about training, too

This video from the Associated Press is a good example of what needs to happen to help foodservice personnel make changes. It's not about reformulating the chicken nuggets. It's about changing the mindset, and you can't change the mindset if the only knife the staff can use is a box opener.