Halal Ban By Uttar Pradesh Government Alarms Meat Sellers
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The Uttar Pradesh government recently gave an order banning the sale, display and distribution of ‘halal-certified food products’ and this is now creating a situation of panic across the state’s meat sellers. The UP government announcement came following claims that many sellers were using “forged” halal certificates to increase sales, and since meat sellers are alarmed at the repercussions of the halal ban. Officials with the Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration department have, however, clarified that the crackdown is not on meat or meat products, but illegal halal certifications being provided to potentially adulterated foods. 

The Food Safety department says that meat items are exempted from the ban on halal-certified products, and their inspection of hundreds of businesses across the state led to a seizing of halal-certified food products, proving that it is only these food products that are currently being evaluated. “Our field units conducted inspections and raids in 38 districts,” said Anita Singh, Commissioner of Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration. “A total of 482 inspections were done, and 97 raids were conducted by our field units in 38 districts. While inspections were random, the raids were conducted on specific information.” 

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The foods that have been confiscated, however, do not include meat. “We have seized 2,275 kg of food products which were found to be halal-certified,” Singh clarified. “These products included things like pasta, sewai, mint, pulses, salt, etc. We have seized the food products and will instruct the retailers and manufacturers to relabel them. Most of the seizures happened in Agra, Mainpuri, Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Ambedkar Nagar, and Moradabad districts.” The motive, officials explain, is to crack down on foods that have forged halal certification but may in fact be adulterated. 

“We have also sent 83 products for testing suspecting they were adulterated,” Singh said. “It was found that some organisations that weren’t equipped to issue halal certificates were doing so. The certificates were being given to all kinds of products like edible oil, mint, rice, and bakery products. We found this to be against the rules, and hence, the ban was imposed,” she said. So, while meat sellers across the state are worried about the halal ban impacting their businesses, the government’s stance is that it promotes better checks on illegal and potentially adulterated foods. 

The UP government’s halal ban was announced on November 26 after the police in Lucknow booked certain companies for creating “illegal halal certificates” to products sold in the state. “It was found that more than 600 companies were selling products in the domestic market after getting halal certificates from these non-government bodies like the Halal Trust of India, and others,” an official with the UP Food Safety and Drug Administration office had revealed then.