Hashing out halal

Published in FSD Update

As incorporation of halal-prepared menu items increases along with the Muslim population in the U.S., the member interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Muslims in Dietetics and Nutrition (MIDAN), recently hosted a webinar to discuss halal dietary needs within foodservice operations. During the Exploring Halal Healthy Food Service Operations webinar, Asma Ahad, director of halal market development for the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), and Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager for Bon Appétit at Washington University, in St. Louis, explored challenges with and solutions for creating a healthy halal foodservice operation.

Key takeaways from the webinar included:

  • The term “halal” is applicable to all consumables, including food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics;
  • “Halal” means “permitted” in Arabic; “Haram” means “not permitted” and includes items such as pork, alcohol and amphibians; “Mashbooh” means “questionable” and includes emulsifiers and gelling agents;
  • Though halal laws are clear, the level of observance varies from person to person, and the terms and practices of “halal” and “kosher” are not interchangeable;
  • The U.S. Muslim population is estimated at 8 to 9 million, and on average is 20 years younger than the average U.S. consumer;
  • Due to freshness, flavor, variety, health and interest in global flavors, halal is not limited to Muslim consumers—it has broad appeal among non-Muslims as well; and
  • Like other dietary restrictions, consumers eating halal should eat with the community and measures should be taken to ensure that halal options are available alongside non-halal options.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
Richard cousins

Compass Group confirmed this morning that CEO Richard Cousins was killed on New Year’s Eve in a small-plane crash off the coast of Australia. He was 58.

Cousins was scheduled to step down as CEO in March, after leading the world’s largest foodservice management company for 11 years. His planned successor, Compass COO Dominic Blakemore, has agreed to assume Cousins’ duties immediately.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news,” Compass Chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement. “It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for...

Menu Development
to-go meals

Drew Allen didn’t hesitate when asked what he expects of noncommercial dining in the future. “Change,” he says. “We have to change with the times and what our guests are looking for.”

Allen, the director of culinary services at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices in Lebanon, Ohio, says the more the residents and guests at Otterbein change, the more diverse eating habits his team has the chance to explore. One of those changing habits, he says, is diners’ growing desire for portable, made-to-order items . That’s a theme borne out by data, too—and is true across dayparts. Roughly 67%...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
email

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

FSD Resources