Our approach to religious slaughter and animal welfare
Last updated: 29/01/2019
Tesco is an international retailer operating in European and Asian markets. We serve customers from different cultures and religious beliefs, and this is reflected in the products we sell. In the UK, there are long-standing provisions in UK law which, subject to specific requirements, allow the slaughter of animals without stunning to meet Jewish and Islamic religious requirements.
We require all slaughter processes for Tesco own label products to meet our stringent animal welfare requirements, without exception. In every case, the animal is stunned before slaughter.
We do however, in a small number of stores, sell branded meat or host concessions that sell un-stunned halal and kosher meat. This is to serve customers who specifically wish to purchase un-stunned meat. This meat is clearly labelled Halal or Kosher, so that our customers are able to make informed choices.
Halal food is food which is permissible or lawful according to traditional Islamic law. The description halal relates to both the type of food eaten and its method of preparation. For meat, the process requires a Muslim to recite a dedication, known as tasmiya or shahada, and can be either stunned or unstunned before slaughter.
In the UK we have a small number of stores where customer demand for halal meat is high. To serve these customers, we either sell branded halal meat, which comes from stunned animals, or have independent meat counters operated by The National Halal Centre. These counters sell unstunned halal meat, which is labelled as such, so that our customers are able to make informed choices about what they wish to purchase. The National Halal Centre operates to strict industry standards and employs highly-skilled certified slaughtermen in its abattoirs.
All our Tesco branded meat suppliers to the UK market stun the animal before slaughter, even though some of this is also processed to halal standards, the point of difference from conventionally-slaughtered animals is that the animal receives a blessing before slaughter. This allows the processors to export parts of the carcass not used by European customers to other countries, such as those in the Middle East, where demand for halal meat is higher, a practice which helps to minimise waste. As we do not specify to these suppliers that halal practices should be followed, such as a blessing, we choose not to market the meat as halal. For example, the vast majority of New Zealand lamb sold in the UK is processed to the halal standards described.
Our businesses in Malaysia and Thailand sell both branded and own-label halal meat, all of which is stunned and labelled as halal. Our businesses in central Europe and the Republic of Ireland do not sell any halal meat.
Kosher food is food which is fit according to Jewish law. In the UK, we sell some branded kosher products, all of which are certified by a UK Kasrut authority. The majority of these products we sell are covered by one of the three largest Kasrut authorities: London Beth Din, Manchester Beth Din and Kedassia. For meat products, in line with the Shechita method of slaughter, the animal is unstunned before slaughter. We do not sell any own-label kosher products and all the kosher products we do sell are labelled and certified as kosher.
Our businesses in central Europe, Asia and the Republic of Ireland do not sell any kosher meat.
For more information contact our corporate responsibility team - firstname.lastname@example.org