Here’s What You Should Know About Halal Meat

updated Apr 4, 2022
Post Image
Credit: Leela Cyd

Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible.” In terms of food, it means food that is permissible according to Islamic law. Foods that are not permitted are called “Haram.”

For a meat to be certified “halal,” it cannot be a forbidden cut (such as meat from hindquarters) or animal (such as pork). Beef, lamb, chicken, fish, venison, and game birds can all be halal. The only prohibited animals are pigs and reptiles.

The slaughter of a halal animal is called “zabihah” and there are certain guidelines to follow:

  • Allah’s (God’s) name must be pronounced during slaughter.
  • The instrument must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter. The animal must be slit at the throat.
  • The animal must not be unconscious
  • The animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry. (Eating blood is not halal.)
  • These steps must be accomplished by a Muslim or the People of the Book (Christian or Jew). (Many observant Muslims find kosher meat acceptable.)
  • The animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal by-products.

For a more complete list of halal guidelines see this guide to understanding halal foods PDF from the Halal Research Council.