Norway warns companies against improper halal labelling
The FSA requires companies to commit to traceability. Only raw materials that are bought as halal can be labelled, presented and advertised halal, it said.
Speaking to Food Navigator, head of section for foreign substance and EEA K. N. Stakset-Gundersen
said, “We have a clear expectation from companies. They must take labelling seriously as it is an important issue and all consumers have the right to know what they are buying.”
FSA’s section chief Randi Edvardsen added that when consumers are “cheated”, businesses risk losing their credibility. “We have not assessed the religious content of the concept, but only tried to uncover the improper use of the word. This is about food being labelled honestly. Nobody is served by misleading labelling. Consumers are being cheated, and businesses lose confidence.”
Stakset-Gundersen added that FSA would follow up with more supervision campaigns to check the correct labelling of food products.
Health guidelines for animals
Use of the halal label means that the meat must be slaughtered in Islamic manner and that it should be free of pork.
Stakset-Gundersen added that the rules for animal welfare and hygiene in Norway were the same as the rest of Europe. “The rules for ordinary slaughtering is the same as it is for halal slaughtering. The animals need to be stunned before they are killed so that they do not feel pain.”
Labelling is “disappointing”
The FSA conducted the inspections in Oslo area, including Drammen, Trondheim, Stavanger andOfoten. The supervision included inspections at slaughterhouses, manufacturers, importers, shops and takeaways that have meat and meat products labelled as halal.
“Several audit projects reveal FSA errors and deficiencies in the labelling of food. It is disappointing that the agencies do not have enough control over how food is labelled for sale. I would encourage those who produce food to take a thorough review of practice,” added Edvardsen.