The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published a consultation on whether to make changes to the refrigeration requirements for Qurbani meat and offal supplied by slaughterhouses in England and Wales during the lockdown period. Eid al-Adha.
The FSA explained that some Muslims prefer to collect their Qurbani meat and offal as soon as possible after slaughter, as this signifies the start of the festival. He also said there is “a clear legal framework” in place from a hygiene perspective which includes refrigeration requirements for meat and offal.
The FSA added that although Qurbani is a religious custom and practice, the collection of meat and offal before full chilling does not currently fall within the regulatory framework of the FSA.
Industry representatives have asked the FSA to consider alternative options for sourcing meat and offal from Qurbani during Eid al-Adha and possibly review the existing legislative framework.
The FSA says the proposed new approach builds on the joint statement from the Qurbani Working Group Sub-Group (QPWG SG) and the FSA’s continued engagement with the group over the past year. This included the production of a Risk Assessment (RA) on direct sourcing of Qurbani meat and offal.
The food standards body is currently consulting its views on these proposals and stakeholders in England and Wales are invited to respond to the twelve-week consultation. It aims to assess responses and, subject to the results, further consultation may take place to focus on implementation.
The Association says the two-step approach allows for extensive stakeholder engagement and input throughout the process.
An open dialogue
FSA Policy Director Rebecca Sudworth: “It is important to recognize that Qurbani is an act of religious significance to the Muslim community and should be respected. Qurbani meat should be made available to consumers who wish to prepare and consume it.
“This consultation and our dialogue with authorities in the Muslim community broadens the discussion to ensure that this practice can continue, while ensuring the highest possible food safety and hygiene standards to protect consumers.”