Butchers' concerns over halal supplies
A LACK of local suppliers of Halal meat is forcing Great Yarmouth butchers and retailers to look further afield as far as London and Birmingham.Butchers in the town said there was a shortage of suppliers in Yarmouth and Norwich of the special meat eaten by Muslims, which meant they had to travel greater distances at greater expense to get stock.
A LACK of local suppliers of Halal meat is forcing Great Yarmouth butchers and retailers to look further afield as far as London and Birmingham.
Butchers in the town said there was a shortage of suppliers in Yarmouth and Norwich of the special meat eaten by Muslims, which meant they had to travel greater distances at greater expense to get stock.
Hemin Rashid, 34, who runs Superfresh Halal in King Street, said his meat came from a supplier in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire which meant he had to pay not just for the meat, but also the transport costs to get it delivered to his shop.
He added he could buy the meat locally, but these suppliers also specialised in non-Halal meats creating the risk of cross-contamination.
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His business specialises in Halal and other foods from around the world, including Poland, India, Pakistan and the Arabic countries.
He said: “If you look on the internet there is a big Muslim community in this area, especially in Norwich where there are many Muslim students so I think there is demand for a Halal butchers shop there. At the moment it is definitely making my life harder not having a local supplier.”
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Other food retailers in Yarmouth have reported similar problems with supply and generally only stock the food when customers order it.
Jim Wyllie, who runs Jim's Butchers in The Conge, said the problems with supply of Halal meat reflected the wider problems of butchers who struggled to find slaughterhouses in Norfolk supplying all types of meat, including pork, sausages and chicken.
He said at one time there were four slaughterhouses in Norfolk, but this number is now down to two.
The decline, he said, had been caused by customers' preference for shopping at supermarkets rather than at butchers which had forced a number of butchers to close down.
Mr Wyllie added he could get Halal meat from Smithfield in London if a customer had ordered it, but he had not experienced high demand for the food and estimated he sold Halal meat once every six months.
He said: “It is not Halal meats, it is all meats- you can't source them locally.”
To comply with Islamic practice, the meat has to be prepared in the Halal, or permissible, way whereby the animal's neck is cut and the blood allowed to drain away to ensure the meat is lean.