Thursday, July 16, 2009

Midamar--Some Revelations

The Iowa based Midamar company claims itself to be USA's "pioneer and leading supplier of high quality Halal meats." It's representatives have been prominently featured on the Halal conference circuit in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Its representatives have also given media statements asking consumers to be wary of Halal certifiers. Without disagreeing with the import of their warning one cannot but ask Midamar itself to come open on its Halal practices.

Halal or Non-Halal or both
Midamar should come clear on its business practices. Is it a producer of the products or just a supplier. More importantly it should answer if it is involved in only Halal products or in in non-Halal products as well. If it is involved in both sectors how can one differentiate between the two.

Information posted on website of the Iowa Food Products Directory and presented by the Iowa Department of Economic Development describes Midamar as "Midamar provides quality USA halal and non-halal meat and poultry products to many international 5-star hotels."

Who is certifying Midamar ?

Midamar is certified by the Islamic Services of America which was established in 1975. However, government records indicate that it has filed for a nonprofit status on 4th November, 2004.

In addition, there is a conflict of interest as three of the four board of directors of ISA are members of Midamar's Aossey family including William B. Aossey, Jalel Aossey (Business Director of Midamar) and Yahya Aossey. ISA's website is also registered under the name of Jalel Aossey.

What are ISA' slaughter standards ?

The ISA's certifying standards are vague and unclear. Their website mentions:

" Halal products are derived from animals and/or poultry that have been slaughtered according to Islamic law under the following statement, “In the name of God – God is the Greatest/Bismillahi Allahu Akbar.” The animals and/or poultry are slaughtered by means of a sharp knife, cutting through the skin, jugular vein, and trachea to result in thorough bleeding of the carcass in preparation for dressing and evisceration in accordance with Islamic guidelines. Halal products and production are properly separated and properly identified. "

What is not mentioned is if the slaughter is being done by a human or a mechanized knife.

Are Midamar products machine slaughtered or hand slaughtered ?

Muslim consumers report contacting Midamar representatives and being told that they use both hand slaughter and machine slaughter. But they provided vague answers as to how to differentiate between the two. Muslims in Trinidad received answers from ISA indicating they utilise the machine slaughter method. This method is unacceptable to many Muslims and Midamar should fully disclose its practicies so that there is no confusion among the consumers. The response from ISA is reproduced below:

"1. All Halal meat items must be slaughtered by a Muslim and slaughtered according to Islamic Law.2. A Muslim slaughterman must be present at all times during the slaughter and recite the following:The first obligation of our Muslim Slaughterman is to recite:أشهد أن لا اله الا الله و أشهد أن محمدا رسول اللهThe second obligation of our Muslim Slaughterman is to recite:(Surah Al Fatiha)3. Mechanical slaughter is acceptable as Halal if the following requirements are met: **This applies to Poultry only, all BEEF is hand-slaughtered.1.6.1 The operator (slaughterman) of the mechanical knife should be a Muslim. He will recite the prayer “Bismillah” prior to switching on the mechanical knife and the line.1.6.2 The Muslim slaughterman, who switches on the mechanical knife should be present in the slaughter area at all times (during slaughter).1.6.3 In the event that the slaughterman has to leave the slaughter area, he should be replaced by another Muslim slaughterman. The former will stop the line and switch off the mechanical knife. To restart the operation the second slaughterman must recite the prayer as in (1), before switching on the mechanical knife and the line.1.6.4 The knife used should be of the single blade type and must be kept sharp at all times.1.6.5 During the act of slaughter, the throat, esophagus and major blood vessels in the neck region (jugular vein and carotid artery) of the bird must be severed.1.6.6 The slaughterman is required to check that each bird is properly slaughtered. He or other Muslim slaughterman should slaughter manually any birds that miss slaughter by the mechanical knife.1.6.7 The slaughterman is required to be present during the entire slaughter process."

In order for consumers to make informed decisions Midamar should fully disclose its production and slaughter practices. It should also remove all conflicts of interests from its certifier which is at present an in-house organization.


  1. Assalam Alaikum,

    I have recently read your blog posting and would like to make a few comments as to your questions.

    As an owner of Midamar our first and foremost accountability of our Halal programs is to Allah swt for it is He and He alone who knows what our intentions are.

    Knowing this and believing this is thus the driving force of all our actions.

    Second, it is your right and responsibility to inquire as to our Halal practices. One reality that many Muslims either are not fully educated on or simply do not agree with is that in the world of poultry and Shariah Law, hand slaughter and mechanical slaughter can both be Halal depending on one's Mathab and particular practice. Simply ask the Imams at various Masajids around the country as well s the foreign Islamic organizations in Muslim countries. With that being said, what we do at Midamar is to provide our consumers with the information as to which chicken items are hand slaughtered and which ones are not. It is then their choice to determine which they choose. We have and continue to always be forthcoming on our practices, that is not only being responsible as Muslims, but also good business.

    I will make a second post with more comments.

  2. May Allaah swt reward all of you for concern of obeying His laws and not following base desires. my kind request to Midimar:

    1. resolve conflict of interest with certifications-Allaah swt will advance your blessings and business

    2. separate halaal and non-halaal meats to avoid cross contamination

    from my personal experience and talking with many muslims, these are the biggest obstacles from buying Midimar products, just think, how many thawaabs and customers will you gain buy such a SMALL rearangment.

  3. I see there is conflict of interests if the producer and the certifying company have common persons. This is totally against the law and rule of audit. The certifying company must be totally independent and unbiased and should have no direct or indirect influence on their working. Three persons who are owners of the Company are part of the Certifying company is objectionable.

  4. Assalam o alaikum Brothers!

    My Opinion and Request to Midamar.

    I called a one of the "Zabiha Halal pizza shop" in Sterling, VA, They said that we use all products of Midamaar. So now consider yourself at my place, will you buy pizza from such place knowing that half of the products of midamar are hand slaughtered and half machine slaughtered.

    So the people who only eat hand slaughter they will never take risk at resturants because even the owners of resturant cannot remember which is hand slaughter and which is not. Its not practical.

    In my opinion you should go for only Hand slaughter, because Machine slaughter people will still buy that and the confusion for us will also end.