Inspectors Rechecking City’s Halal Meat Shops!

Posted in Community Programs

Inspectors Rechecking City’s Halal Meat Shops!

Despite the absence of a complaint or direct food-related incident, Regina health inspectors are doing an additional survey of halal meat shops this week.

23 Jul 2016 story and photo by Natascia Lypny Leader-Post

Mediterranean Market Halal Meat & Grocery co-owners Husain Hamad, left, and Safwan Zanoun are unfazed by additional health inspections of halal shops because they say they are important.

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region inspectors review meat-processing facilities like halal shops annually. But as a result of a recent food-related investigation, they are getting an extra visit, said the manager of the RQHR’s environmental health department, Robert Schuba.

Halal meat means meat prepared according to Islamic law. Animals must be alive and healthy when they are killed by a cut to the throat that drains all of their blood. A blessing is recited at the same time.

The investigation did not identify halal shops as the cause of the illness, said Schuba. Still, “it did present us with an opportunity to increase food safety awareness, and that’s why we went out to all the halal places.”

Health inspectors are visiting nine shops across Regina this week to survey meat processing and the source of meat. Schuba said they are reviewed like any other type of meat processor. Results are due back next week.

Schuba said it’s “quite common” for the health region to use a particular incident as a reason to review one type of public facility as an “educational opportunity.” He pointed to recent nail salon visits as one example. Those, however, aren’t inspected annually and had been the cause of a few complaints.

He said the visits to the halal shops will resemble typical inspections.

A handful of halal shops the Regina Leader-Post popped into Friday were unfazed by the additional inspection.

“I don’t see any threat,” said Muhammad Farhan, who runs Central Halal Meat & Grocery with his family.

He sees the inspection as just a regular visit, and added it is important to ensure the health of customers.

“We do our best to provide for our customers. We make our food safe,” said Mediterranean Market Halal Meat & Grocery co-owner Husain Hamad, noting his own family eats meat from the store.

He agreed the inspections are important, but hoped they don’t become overly frequent.