Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
By Elizabeth Barber
December 16, 2014

An Iowa-based food supplier is accused of marketing its products as halal to Muslims worldwide, when its meats were in fact not produced in accordance with strict Islamic standards.

Federal prosecutors allege that Midamar Corp. sold about $4.9 million in beef to customers in Malaysia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates under the false pretense that its cattle were slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law, the Associated Press reports. The corporation has strongly refuted the allegations and called them a “religious matter” that the U.S. government has no right to regulate.

The lawsuit contends that Midamar told customers that Muslim slaughtermen killed its cattle by hand. Yet Midamar’s primary beef supplier was a Minnesota-based meatpacking plant that uses bolt stunning, which involves shooting a steel-rod through the cow’s brain, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that Midamar employees would remove the label from the Minnesota-based plant and exchange it for a label from a Nebraska plant where kill practices are certified as halal.

Write to Elizabeth Barber at elizabeth.barber@timeasia.com.

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