The Halal Shop foundations are based on a hierarchy of priorities. Since moving to Canada, we faced several challenges and decided to tackle the problems head-on with the establishment of a business that has its roots in the social causes.
- Proper Halal meats - Not controversial Halal!
- Clean, Hygienic, ethical & top quality meats
- Maintaining Cold Chain
- Myth of "Freshness"
- Ultimate convenience & women empowerment
- Quick ordering process
- Widest assortment with highest quality
- Supporting a cause with a portion of our profits
1. Proper Halal and not controversial Halal
After coming to North America, one big challenge for us was to separate facts from fiction. With marketing practices that challenge moral boundaries, terms that defy common logic, coded ingredients that hide what is halal and haram, and with certifications that keep you awake at night.
For the sake of our kids, we were not satisfied with buying meat from the local Halal butcher.
Although the Sharia says that we can trust the Halal butcher, we knew something was not right as we often heard people saying that that despite all the efforts, our next generations goes astray. And we always wondered why. We found the following Quranic verse (23:51) very relevant. It tells us very categorically the importance of Halal food and our spiritual development.
Our meat supplies are carefully chosen after a proper due diligence on our part. Our everyday meat supplies mostly come from
- St. Helen meat Packers Ltd
- White Veal Company
- JJ Meat distributing company
- Al Ameen Halal Poultry
- Al Ahad Poultry
- Madina wholesale poultry
- Sargent Farms
- Chicken Thika Farms
- Solmaz Foods
All of the above are HMA certified suppliers. This is the only certification that we fully trust for the meat products as there is no school of thought that is challenging its certification processes and definitions.
Do you know that beef from HMA certified suppliers cost an average $1-2/kg more expensive than beef from non-HMA suppliers?
2. Clean, Hygienic, ethical & top quality meats
The second issue we faced was that we could not stand a minute at the local Halal butchers. We noticed
- Unhygienic working conditions
- Use of same board & equipment to cut poultry and red meat
- Meat cutting machines not kept inside the cooler
- No sanitization of tools & equipments
We just could not tolerate the environment and meat preparation practices. We would rather stop eating meats than to eat from these shops.
When you buy from The Halal Shop, you have the following
- Temperature of the meat preparation room
The temperature of the meat cutting room where your order is prepared is about 6 Celsuis. All meat cutting & preparation machines such as meat grinder, slicer, saw and working tables are kept in this room.
- Cross-contamination of raw Chicken & Beef
Our prep room has separate work tables for poultry & beef. How often do you see them at your butcher shop? Although the regulations are there but reality is different from regulations in our experience.
- Cleaning & Sanitization of meat cutting equipment
Your products are prepared in a facility that is cleaned, washed and sanitized at least once every day. Often, our tools, machines and prep tables are sanitized several times in a day. The sanitizers are all food grade and approved for use in meat preparation area.
Our Grinders, Slicers and Saw are always stored in a cooler and never brought outside.
Have you seen the meat grinder at your local butcher shop inside the cooler?
- Ethical sourcing
We do not buy pur products from anyone who do not care for ethics. We do not deal with cash suppliers, suppliers who raise their animals in questionable manner. We also don't carry White Veal (Do not mix with the White Veal Company, mentioned above) as we do not agree with how these animals are treated.
Below is a guide on how the meat preparation facility. You can compare your favorite butcher's facility with these quidelines and make an informed choice yourself.
- Cold Chain
Cold chain is extremely important to meat. Look at the table below.
Do you know that even under ideal conditions, bacteria double in every 20 minutes. A single bacterium multiplies to over one million in less than seven hours
|Time||Number of bacteria|
|18.40||1 048 576|
The above exapmple has 1 bacterium to start with. Imagine the the number of bacteria when the meat is prepared by the local butcher on a contaminated table, using contaminated knives, at the temperature around 22 Celcius and then you bring it back home in your car!! Just imagine the meat grinder where your favorite Ground beef is prepared..do some mental math to calculate the bacteria count in the food that you'll serve your family.
Our meats are also delivered to you in temperature controlled containers in our vehicles. Do you know that during summers, the inside temrature of your car could be up to 30 Celcius higher than the outside temperature?? It means that if the outside temperature is 35 Celcius, the interior temprature of your car could be as high as 65 Celcius!!
The ideal meat condition is that it is prepared on separate tables, utensils sterilized frequently, by personnel trained in Food Handling, immediately frozen and then brought to you in a frozen form in a temperature controlled environment.
- Myth of "Freshness"
Another related topic is the "Freshness". We want out meat to be fresh, isn't it.
Do you know that the fresh meat that you buy from store could be as old as 12 months, or even longer?? There are many things that we as consumers don't know. For us, fresh is somehting that is not Frozen..despite the fact that after buying "Fresh meat", we put it all in our freezers and use it after weeks or even months.
The reality could be far from the way we see it.
Aging as a practice for higher quality, premium meats
Whenever we buy a nice and expensive steak, or eat them at a premium restaurant, terms such as dry and wet ageing come and denote a higher quality. Meat, under the ideal conditions, can stay good for a very long period of time. The key requirement here is "ideal conditions" which is something that we rarely find at the local butcher.
However, when they are cut into smaller pieces at the butcher shop, it is best to freeze them as soon as poosible, even before reaching home.
The best cut up meats are those that are immediately frozen after cutting in a clean and hygienic environment that is at the right temperature.
The harsh reality is: the way we perceive fresh meat, i.e. see the meat at the butcher shop, cut on mixed use table with non sterilized utensils, in an environment which is not at 6-8 Celcius, and bring back home in our car which is not at 4 Celcius, is loaded with bacteria in millions, maybe in billions!
- Who to blame
Unfortunately, our search for the cheapest meat products drives a lot of these behaviour in the marketplace. Visit an Italian butcher shop and compare the prices of the products vs a Halal butcher. And then compare the conditions. The reality is right meat in right condition will cost money and the best strategy is to eat less but eat proper Halal & hygienic meats.
There are 3 main ways for the local butcher to save cost and give a cheap price
- Sell controversial Halal - Saving of approx $1/lb
- Compromise on Hygiene, Cleanliness and cross contamination - Savings of approx $3,000-6,000/ month
- Pay exploiting wages/ cash dealings/ questionable accounting practice - Save $3,000-10,000/month
When we choose a butcher for pricing and not for their practices, we are directly contributing to
- Feeding ourselves controversial Halal - impact on our souls
- Eating unhealthy food - also destroying the image of Islam on its standards of hygiene & cleanliness
- Promoting corrupt business practices and allowing exploitation of labor
Next time when you make a decision on price alone, ask yourself how much are you saving and how much are you losing!
3. Ultimate Convenience & Women empowerment
A women's time is much more valuable than cleaning and portioning the meat before putting them in the freezer! Yes, it implies this job is done by the women and not men, unfair but true, as we have seen in most families here..
My wife likes to spend most amount of time with our kids. After all, they are our most imporant assets and protecting them can only be done by someone as responsible as herself! If she has more time, she would rather do what she likes such as doing a job, pursuing education, pursuing her hobbies or just talking to other friends and family.
The Halal Shop meat comes in ready to cook portions for you, and packed in a freezer friendly way.
- Custom cuts
- Custom portions
- Compact packaging
We can also do completely custom packaging, for a fee. Please contact us and we can design a custom subscription box, especially for you.
Our packaging is in convenient pouches that can go directly in the freezer. For a fee, we can also make flat trays that can stack in the freezer or in vacuum packaging that extends the meat life significantly.
- Quick Ordering process
Do you know that it can take less than 60 seconds to complete an order on our website? Our items are methodically arranged on the website, unlike the unruly isles of the Grocery shop. We have drop down menus for most frequent options, such as skin ON/ OFF, Cut types, Bag size, etc.
For your ultimate convenience, we also have the subscription option. How does it work? If you need some meats regularly, you don't even to to put the effort of selecting and ordering every time. For example, if you need the following meats after every 2 weeks, all you need to do is to send us an email (email@example.com) and we will make a custom subscription box for you!
- 3 bags of 2lbs Regular Ground meat
- 1 bag of 2lbs Extra Lean Ground meat
- 2 bags of 2 lbs boneless beef - cut into strips
- 2 Chickens - cut in 12 pieces for curry
After every 2 weeks, your inbox will get an invoice which you can pay through Apple Pay or Google Pay and your meat box will be at your door step! Oh, and if you want to add/ delete/ modify anything from the box, you can do that when you get the email invoice. And everything would be done as you desire.
And don't worry, your credit card will not be charged automatically.
4. Widest assortment with highest quality
We take price in offering the widest variety of non-controversial Halal products in the entire North America. There is no other business that provides this wide range of non-controversial Halal meats. This is possible due to our passion of finding the best suppliers who can deliver us on our specifications.
This is not an easy task and hence no one else in North America does it, except us. Our Gourmet Series, Grill-ready Series and our wide selection of fresh meats are simply not comparable to any other business.
5. Supporting a cause with a portion of our profits
Taking care of Orphans is one of the most important jobs for us as Humans. The Halal Shop is dedicated for the case of Orphans. 5% of our earnings go towards meaningful causes, especially taking care of Orphans in different parts of the world.