A consultation published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) seeks to investigate whether changes should be made to the chilling requirements of Qurbani meat and offal supplied from slaughterhouses in England and Wales during the period of 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 beginning of the festival. It said also that there is “a clear legal framework” in place from a hygiene perspective that includes the chilling requirements for meat and offal.

FSA added that although respectful that Qurbani is a religious custom and practice, collection of the meat and offal before full chilling currently does not align with the FSA’s regulatory framework.

Industry representatives asked the FSA to look at alternative options for the supply of Qurbani meat and offal during Eid al-Adha and potentially review the existing legislative framework.

FSA director of policy, Rebecca Sudworth: “It is important to acknowledge that Qurbani is an act of religious significance for the Muslim community and must be respected. Qurbani meat should be made available to consumers that 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, whilst providing for highest food safety and hygiene standards possible to protect consumers.”

Continued engagement

The FSA claims that the proposed new approach builds on the joint statement from the Partnership Working Group Sub-Group on Qurbani (QPWG SG) and the FSA’s continued engagement with the group over the last year. This included producing a Risk Assessment (RA) on the direct supply of Qurbani meat and offal.

The food standards body is now consulting on views on these proposals and stakeholders in England and Wales are invited to respond to the twelve-week consultation. It aims to evaluate the responses and, subject to the outcome, a further consultation may take place to focus on implementation.