Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Halal can you go?

Following the news that popular sandwich shop Subway is going to stop serving pork across many of its UK outlets in response to 'demand' from Muslims for an 'all-Halal' menu, I'm left (as I so often am) wondering what all the fuss is about.

Naturally, this issue has sparked some considerable debate (including an online petition to stop the changes going through).  People are outraged.  Incensed.  How dare Subway do this?!

Well, Subway are a private company; it is their prerogative to serve - or not to serve - whichever foods they choose.  Personally, if I were in charge of making these decisions, I would not replace pork with Halal alternatives - I would serve Halal alternatives alongside non-Halal menu items, in an effort to cater to the widest range of customers possible.  However, whoever it is who is actually making the decisions has clearly chosen a different approach, and feels that this way of doing things is better.  Fair enough.

I've seen a lot of responses to this news story on social media from people who say they will no longer be spending their money in Subway shops, because they don't agree with this decision.  Again, that's fair enough - just as Subway can choose which foods to serve, their customers are free to choose not to go there if they don't like the items on offer on the new menu.

But don't paint yourself as some sort of revolutionary just because you're no longer popping into Subway in your lunch hour!  This is exactly how markets are supposed to work - if a company's product is not what you'd like, you don't buy from them.  You're not 'boycotting' Subway; you're not an activist changing the world, whose heroic deeds will be sung about in great banqueting halls in centuries to come; you're simply choosing where to buy a sandwich.

This issue has garnered the response that it has because it is to do with Islam - but what the headlines essentially boil down to is: "Sandwich shop changes menu; some people preferred it before."  Shocker.

1 comment:

theoldbrewer said...

Did you appreciate that halal is a whole process and includes handling, storage and cooking from slaughterhouse to fork? You cannot handle halal foods and pig meat in the same facility.

In ordinary Subways the veggie options are not suitable for vegans for similar reasons. The salads may have traces of meat on them.

The other example you will understand is food labelled "Produced in facilities where nuts have been processed. May contain traces of nut residues".

For the record Subway use meat obtained from livestock that is stunned before slaughter. Most halal meat is derived from stunned livestock.

The difference between Subway's halal and conventional menus is that the pig meat products are made to look like the real thing with turkey substitutes.

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