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Can meat be both kosher and halal?

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Question:

We buy kosher prepared meats and 100% halal meats for our grill station. Is there a way we can buy meat that is both kosher and halal to be more efficient?

– Campus dining manager

Answer:

Yes and no. First, keep in mind that procuring kosher meat is just one piece in the puzzle of serving kosher food. You’ll also need to ensure that the kitchen is separate, kosher, and has rabbinical supervision. Kosher meat cooked in a nonkosher environment makes it non-kosher. Because the requirements of kosher foodservice can be cost-prohibitive for many operations, packaged kosher food is a more practical option for secular operations offering limited kosher selections. The strictures are less onerous to serve halal food.

Both kosher and halal meats undergo similar processes: A ritual slaughterer quickly slits the throat of the animal, says a prayer, and the animal is drained of blood.

Until recently, there was no overlap: Meats were either kosher, halal, or neither. A new brand seeks to change that. Abe’s Meats, from Interfaith Ventures, reports that it is producing “the first-ever Interfaith Meat products that are both Halal and Kosher.” Founder Mohammad Modarres says, “Brands that offer dual Kosher and Halal food products do exist. However, meat is one of the most complicated and expensive products to produce as 'Interfaith' because of the production process, cost, and need to collaborate. As a result, Abe's Meats is the only meat company that offers 'Interfaith Meat.' To produce what we have coined as 'Interfaith Meat,' it must follow the (certified) Kosher and Halal process that both faiths across all denominations respect. Beyond having a [Jewish] Shochet use a sharp blade as their Muslim counterpart directs the animal in the direction of the Qibla (Mecca) and recites a blessing, we also work with small-scale ranchers who reject industrialized factory farming practices to apply regenerative agriculture techniques and pastoral livestock management methods. While Kosher and Halal religious doctrine are only specific about how to sacrifice the animal, avoiding animal cruelty as much as possible, and what animals to consume, we added a strict ecological component to our supply chain that we believe is valuable considering our environmental impact when we consume meat products today.”

Don’t expect to pick up the phone and order interfaith—both kosher and halal meats—too soon. And some observant Jews and Muslims reject the notion of interfaith meat, so it may not satisfy all. Abe’s is launching a Kickstarter and starting small with popup dinners, but I do think you’ll see opportunities for products like this on the market fairly soon as it’s a question that has come up a few times in our increasingly diverse food scene. More on kosher and halal here.

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