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Globalising kosher and halal markets
Authors: John Lever and Johan Fischer

Over the last two decades, global demand for kosher products has been growing steadily, and many non-religious consumers view kosher as a healthy food option: in the US over 60 per cent of kosher food consumption is linked to non-religious values associated with health and food quality. This book explores the emergence and expansion of global kosher and halal markets with a particular focus on the UK and Denmark. While Kosher is a Hebrew term meaning 'fit' or 'proper', halal is an Arabic word that literally means 'permissible' or 'lawful'. The book discusses the manufacture and production of kosher and halal meat (both red meat and poultry) with specific reference to audits/inspections, legislation, networking, product innovation and certification. It draws on contemporary empirical material to explore kosher and halal comparatively at different levels of the social scale, such as individual consumption, the marketplace, religious organisations and the state. It compares the major markets for kosher/halal in the UK with those in Denmark, where kosher/halal are important to smaller groups of religious consumers. Denmark plays an important role in biotechnology that is compatible with what we call kosher/halal transnational governmentality. The book explores how Jewish and Muslim consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practice kosher consumption in their everyday lives. It also explores how 'compound practice' links eating with issues such as health and spirituality, for example, and with the influence of secularism and ritual.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

140 5 Halal consumers In this chapter we explore how Muslim consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practice halal consumption in their everyday lives. Following on from Chapters 3 and 4, the specific focus is how consumers make sense of buying/​eating meat and non-​meat products. As in the previous chapter, another important theme explored is how Muslim consumers understand and practice everyday (halal) food consumption in the UK and Denmark. We build on but also move beyond existing research on halal consumption in the everyday lives of Muslims in a

in Religion, regulation, consumption
John Lever and Johan Fischer

products from Muslim consumers, in recent years supermarkets and food service operators have become more discreet in obtaining and displaying the halal logos of their certification partners (Fazira 2015). As non-stunned halal meat promoted by HFA’s competitors has grown in visibility during this period, public concern about the availability and volume of halal meat in the UK has increased significantly. Many consumers wrongly assume that most halal meat in the UK comes from non-stunned animals (Lever and Miele 2012), when in reality the vast majority still comes from pre

in Religion, regulation, consumption
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Global kosher and halal markets
John Lever and Johan Fischer

-​Muslim counties to export halal meat into Muslim countries (Lever and Miele 2012; Miele 2016) and this has led to a proliferation of certifying bodies to assure Muslim consumers. At the same time, governments in a number of other Muslim countries have started to offer certification and accreditation services, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia: significantly, many of these large, state-​run bodies do not recognise each other. This continues to create tension, and certification and accreditation for the export of raw materials into Muslim countries is now

in Religion, regulation, consumption
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John Lever and Johan Fischer

our Jewish and Muslim consumers. Both groups for the most part rely on religious texts as guides to their everyday consumption practices. Many of our informants would agree that science is needed in kosher/​halal production and many search for knowledge about how to live a pious life. This knowledge comes not only from religious texts, but also from rabbis and ulama, family and friends, and from lists on websites and smartphone apps. Most Jews stress the centrality of non-​stunned meat to their kosher identity, but comparatively kosher meat is more widely available

in Religion, regulation, consumption
Abstract only
John Lever and Johan Fischer

Chicago; HFCE can be seen as a kind of subsidiary organisation of IFANCA in Europe. The inspector was born in Malaysia, where he worked with JAKIM and has been involved in setting up Malaysia’s state-​regulated form of halal certification since the early 1980s. The mission and objectives of HFCE are to promote the concept of halal globally in the interfaces between Islamic organisations and scholars, Muslim consumers and companies, research and training. When a company is requesting halal certification an audit/​inspection of the production facility is done to review

in Religion, regulation, consumption
John Lever and Johan Fischer

exemplifies the emergence of organisations dedicated to maintaining the trust of Muslim consumers and addressing concerns about what they see as ‘falsely labelled’ halal meat. Until this time, most Muslims in the UK considered the meat sold in supermarkets and food service outlets to be produced and slaughtered by ‘People of the Book’ and therefore to be suitable for Muslim consumption (Lever and Miele 2012). From the outset, however, HMC mounted a challenge to the hegemony of HFA by opposing their position on pre-​stunning and mechanical slaughter, 32 3 Koshe r a n d h a

in Religion, regulation, consumption