Elham Asaad Buaras
A meat wholesaler was fined £20,000 on September 5, after applying counterfeit halal certification labels to products which were then sold to a Birmingham supplier.
During the hearing at Birmingham Crown Court, Munawar Zaman, Director of Bradford-based Zaman Brothers Wholesale Halal Meat Ltd, admitted supplying 65 boxes of meat and fat to Golden Delight Foods Limited in Saltley in 2012, which were labelled Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) certified when in fact the labels were counterfeit.
Zaman also admitted having in his possession 5,000 consecutively numbered labels in the style of those issued by the HMC with a view to applying them to meat products which had not been inspected or labelled by the HMC, which would then be sold as having been HMC-certified.
All HMC approved meat must go through a stringent traceability process, with an HMC inspector present each time approved meat is subject to any process. The inspector issues stickers and tags when the meat is cut.
An HMC inspector discovered meat in Birmingham bearing counterfeit HMC stickers. The HMC notified Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards team who attended the premises and seized five boxes of meat which were traced to Zaman Brothers in Bradford, where raids were conducted on two premises
The company was fined £7,500 plus £4,451 costs, while Zaman was given a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 120 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay £4,000 costs. A confiscation order was also issued at £3,500.
Birmingham City Council’s Director of Regulation and Enforcement, Jacqui Kennedy, said: “Advertising and supplying non-Halal Monitoring Committee products and passing them off as approved is a serious criminal offence, as it deceives consumers into thinking the products they are purchasing are certified and approved by a reputable authority.”
HMC welcomed the verdict, a spokesman for the committee told The Muslim News. The HMC said it “hopes this case will highlight to other local authorities the widespread fraud and deception taking place within the Halal industry and we urge them to place more resources in protecting Muslim consumers across the country. We also hope this conviction will deter other retailers to refrain from cheating and deceiving.”