The Muslim Link: MORE INSPECTORS PLANNED FOR OTTAWA
The imam (Muslim clergyman) of a local masjid (mosque) will soon be ready to certify both slaughterhouse and in-store meat products as halal permissible—to eat.
Imam Mohammed Badat, prayer leader at Masjid Bilal in Orleans, says inspectors with the Halal Monitoring Authority (HMA), out of Toronto, are training him on what to look for when visiting vendors who claim their products are halal. He recently visited Bilal Farms slaughterhouse with an HMA inspector to watch the first round of inspection.
“[You] check freezers, see if any de-boning is done, [check] how the animals are slaughtered, how they are cleaned, whether they cut other products from other places in the same location,” explains Imam Badat. “It is a lengthy process.”
As reported in last month’s issue of the Muslim Link, Bilal Farms wasn’t certified because cows are stunned before slaughter (not lambs, as was mistakenly reported in the article). Efforts to rectify this are underway.
Once Bilal Farms is certified, Imam Badat says there are plans to train more inspectors from the community so that they can also attend weekly or biweekly slaughters, “just like the government inspectors.” (Inspectors with the HMA are paid for their services from a fee charged to the slaughterhouses and stores to cover such costs).
In the meantime, Imam Badat says he hopes to work with community members to launch an awareness campaign around halal products. He says seminars, particularly ones aimed at women who do the household shopping, should soon be held in Ottawa.