Some Muslims prefer to collect their Qurbani meat and offal as soon as possible after slaughter as this signifies the beginning of the festival. There is a clear legal framework in place from a hygiene perspective that includes the chilling requirements for meat and offal.
While the FSA was respectful of these religious customs and practices, the collection of meat and offal before chilling did not align with its regulatory framework.
Representatives from the industry have asked the FSA to explore alternative options for the supply of Qurbani meat and offal during Eid al-Adha and potentially review the existing legislative framework.
A proposed new approach built upon recommendations from the Partnership Working Group Sub-Group on Qurbani. This included the development of enhanced detailed implementation documentation to support food businesses and officials considering a number of risk mitigation principles.
What is Qurbani?
Qurbani is an Islamic ritual sacrifice of a livestock animal during a specified time of Eid al-Adha. The concept and definition of the word is derived from the Qur'an, the sacred scripture of Muslims.
This included: verification of supply only to final consumers, or their representatives, with a customer declaration/traceability for all relevant sales/supply; measures in place to minimise cross-contamination, including suitable wrapping; and Inclusion of date and time of slaughter on the label of the Qurbani.
FSA director of policy Rebecca Sudworth said: “It is important to acknowledge that Qurbani is an act of religious significance for the Muslim community and must be respected. Qurbani meat should be made available to consumers that wish to prepare and consume it.
“This consultation and our dialogue with authorities in the Muslim community broadens the discussion to ensure that this practice can continue, whilst providing for highest food safety and hygiene standards possible to protect consumers.”
The FSA is now consulting on views on these proposals and stakeholders in England and Wales are invited to respond to the twelve-week consultation. Responses will be evaluated and, subject to the outcome, a further consultation may take place to focus on implementation.