UK blocked labels on halal meat

EU measures that would have required meat to carry labels declaring whether an animal had been stunned before it was slaughtered were blocked by the government, it emerged yesterday.

The European parliament approved attempts to introduce a form of labelling to make clear an animal’s method of death as early as June 2010, but the government did not support the measures.

The proposals were not supported amid concerns from Muslim and Jewish groups that they could be discriminatory, according to The Observer.

Last week religious groups, including the Muslim Council of Britain, urged clearer labelling, saying that all meat should display the method of slaughter, amid a row over whether it was right for consumers to eat halal or kosher meat.

Vets’ leaders and the RSPCA have said that labels should state whether meat comes from unstunned animals. Their calls were backed by the Halal Food Authority.

Jewish and Muslim groups have said that the debate has been sensationalised, and will play to the far-right before European elections on May 22.

The European council of ministers has put the proposals out for review. The findings are due next month.