Midamar Corp. and directors Jalel and Bill Aossey have been criminally charged in Cedar Rapids for allegedly falsely marking $4.9 million worth of meat as meeting strict halal standards and selling the noncompliant meat to millions of Muslims worldwide in Malaysia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and other countries. Also indicated is Islamic Services of America, an organization approved by Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE to certify beef for import under Islamic standards. They are facing 91 other counts for allegedly making false statements on export certificates, wire fraud and money laundering. The case could raise an interesting free exercise question.
Midamar Corp., Islamic Services of America, and the Aosseys pleaded not guilty. Their defense is that this is ultimately a religious not a legal question as to what meets the standards for Halal certification. While federal prosecutors claims that the animals were not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law, the defendants suggest that there can be variation in how those laws are met and that they are being prosecuted for a disagreement over religious standards.
The Koran states in various parts that the name of Allah must be invoked and specifies how an animal is to be killed to be good with God:
“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
— Qurʼan, Surah 5 (al-Maʼidah), ayah 3
The company insists that it has a “high level of halal integrity” and that “[t]he allegations of halal fraud are due to a ‘one size fits all’ approach taken by the government authorities.”
Midamar and Islamic Services of America told customers all of its cattle are slaughtered by hand by specially-trained Muslims who always recite prayer. Midamar also said it did not use penetrative captive bolt stunning equipment that is common in meatpacking operations. However, the prosecutors say that Midamar’s primary beef supplier from 2007 to 2010 was a Windom, Minnesota, meatpacking plant that used bolt stunning to ensure all cattle slaughtered “were rendered senseless and were dead.” The plant was not Halal certified by Indonesia and Malaysia and allegedly did not have Muslim slaughtermen present and did not pray or recite the “Tasmia” prayer.
To make matters worse, the government claims that Midamar had employees remove federal labels showing the plant as the supplier and falsified labels to say that a certified plant was the supplier.
That seems a bit more than a simple disagreement over religious practices, if true.
Source: The Guardian
21 thoughts on “Iowa Food Supplier Indicted For Allegedly Falsely Labeling Halal Meat Sold To Millions of Muslims”
Please note, there are many news agencies are publishing half-truths and misleading information concerning Midamar in articles. This is an exporting issue where Midamar allegedly changed labels on Halal certified products from a Halal source so that they could be exported.
Midamar does not and never has engaged in captive bolt stunning. Midimar’s reputable certifiers which include Islamic Services of America, Halal Advocates, IFANCA, ISWA, and others will attest to Midimar’s integrity as a Halal meat company
I used to work at the company, and have witnessed their halal slaughters first hand.
Do not be swayed by false statements. Reserve judgment and suspicion until the company is able to formulate a defense. This is important for the whole halal industry.
po, Black folk used to have gardens. FLOTUS talks about how the blue collar family she grew up in had gardens in Chicago. When I worked in the ‘hood in KC back in the 70’s grandpa and grandma had gardens, but mom and dad didn’t. Now, there are none. The very liberal city I live, Madison, had fruit/vegetable trucks in black neighborhoods w/ bargain prices, food stamps could be used. Hardly anyone purchased produce. Mexican, Asian poor neighborhoods have gardens. I don’t know WTF happened to the poor black culture starting in the 70’s, but they went to junk, processed and fast food. I respect FLOTUS trying to regain that positive culture. But, it seems to be quixotic. The change needs to come from within. Madison learned, you can bring fruits and vegetables to folk, but you can’t make them eat it.
The community gardens in southern Wi. are very popular. The land is usually free, or a very minimal fee for a plot. Again, white, Asian and Hispanic use them. I walk often past a HUGE community garden several times a week. Never seen a black person there, and it’s close to subsidized housing where many black folk live. It is not the only self destructive aspect of the inner city black culture. I don’t know. Is it different in the rural south where black people live? I doubt we have many southerners here. But, I know we have some Floridians and Texans.
Very important points, Darren. Eating healthy is now a luxury afforded to the few, even knowing to want to eat healthy is a luxury not afforded to the masses.
The poorer one is, the worse one eats, which impacts people negatively both in the short and the long term. Most of our diseases are either foodborne or environmental. The chemicals in prepackaged foods make them easier to consume by allowing for a longer shelf life and perhaps quick cooking/microwaving, but are the direct causes to both obesity and the affiliated diseases.
Many of our ghettos are food deserts, where no fresh fruit or vegetables are available, and people have lost the awareness that one may grow anything anywhere.
The WIC program tries to help, but it also gives juice and other foods that are not healthy.
There is a growing movement however both in schools and in those food deserts that seek to wake people up to the many opportunities found in a patch of land, people are realizing that a better diet is just as close as putting seeds in a pot, or ripping up one’s lawn and putting up planters.
Donna, it is difficult unless the producer labels it as being Non-GMO. There is a trade organization that performs credentialing of producers to use their GMO free label.
The major food industries fought GMO labeling aggressively in the states were bills or initiatives were attempted. I wrote an article on this a year ago:
The only advice I can give to avoid GMO is to not buy anything that is not labeled as being 100% free of it. For me I rarely buy manufactured food products, meaning ones coming in boxes for prepared dishes. You truly never know where the “food” comes from. It is often laden with salt and chemicals and is likely some of it came from China and I completely refuse to eat anything from China.
An organic label does not always mean GMO free but it usually is the case. It is important to consider this.
As an aside, I have some concern about people who need to rely on food stamps and food banks to make ends meet for their families. While I applaud the effort to help these folks I feel there is a great disservice done to them because for various reasons they end up buying nearly entirely corporate “food” and not natural whole foods. The food banks want for understandable reasons donations from individuals and food drives due to shelf life and such. The drawback to doing this manifests as unhealthy food that they consume usually. I am certain the food manufacturing lobby contributes to this problem.
I feel they unfortunately would ultimately be better served if an allotment of whole foods were somehow be made necessary. Admittedly, I do not know how this would be implemented. The WIC voucher program accomplishes this though. I have heard some arguments that many of the recipients do not know how to adequately prepare meals outside the packaged kind. I believe this only has limited merit as most any one can do it.
I have concerns that there will be a division in the long term between those who have means and eat healthier and those who rely on aid and are not as healthy due at least in large part to these matters.
And we are not allowed to know if our food is GMO?
This is a consumer protection issue as well as a product labeling issue. It is not solely based upon religion.
Good point, Darren!
That’s what I love about California, the ability to grow your own stuff, or to have easy access to it year round. Farmer’s markets are great resources, you can’t beat the variety and the freshness.
You are right about seafood, and now with the radiation from Japan, along with the chemical residues from Louisiana…it’s hard to feel safe at all.
I am thinking about raising tilapia next.
po, I’m outta here right after Christmas. Jan-May in San Diego. We eat a lotta seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables in the winter in San Diego. Darren only eats fish, and he lives close to the coast. I grew up in Ct., 30 miles from the coast. If you don’t live close to the ocean, seafood is expensive and not fresh. I don’t know if I could go completely off of meat but, if I have FRESH seafood available, meat 2-3 times a month would be easy for me. It’s strawberry and avocado season soon after we arrive in San Diego, I eat them most every day. San Diego County has a great network of farmer’s markets. I also have relationships w/ local farmers there. In Wi., it’s mostly Hmong farmers I buy from. In San Diego, mostly Mexican farmers. Two hard working cultures. Like you, I love lamb. But, my family doesn’t. So, I usually only eat it when we are in a restaurant.
McDonald’s Halal controversy
Here is an article we posted previously on Hot Dogs
This is a consumer protection issue as well as a product labeling issue. It is not solely based upon religion.
po, You are a wise man. It is easy where I live in Wi. to form personal relationships w/ farmers. I’m not an organic nut, but it makes sense to ingest as few chemicals as possible. I have little doubt the cancer epidemic in this country is due, in large part, to chemicals. But, for city folk, I know they get hoodwinked often. A large amount of “organic” food sold in this country comes from China. You know that is a crap shoot! I saw an interesting piece on Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports show on HBO recently. More and more people are only eating meat that they kill themselves. He followed around men and women, who had never before hunted, being trained to hunt and dissect their meat and fowl. For these people, it was both health and spiritual. It was intriguing. Hunting is also big in these parts. But, hunting is kinda like baseball and horse betting. My old man was into both, and so am I. He wasn’t a hunter, and neither am I. When I lived in KC I would go out w/ buddies who hunted pheasant, quail and doves. They had great hunting dogs[German shorthairs] and it was a pleasant day getting exercise. And the wild fowl meals were superb. But, sitting in a tree waiting for deer hold no attraction. Plus, venison is not high on my list of meat. elk is more tasty. I hunt people doing surveillance, that is much more exciting and challenging.
Nick – Audie Murphy, America’s most decorated soldier, said that were it not for hunting, he would be a serial killer.
Nick, maybe I’ll move down there and get me a ranch, that sounds like a nice lifestyle… Although the cold, the cold…
Nick, it does happen with organic food. I buy organic meat, but only through my local rancher (who slaughters the beef himself with a gun and I slaughter the lamb myself with a knife) for I have realized unless you know where your meat comes from, you don’t know where it comes from.
We can go on to the debate about why Halal, but halal meat is not just reciting the name of Allah on the meat, although that is akin to the native traditions that thank the animal before killing it. That is an acknowledgement of the life of the animal and the divine gift of its life to us. Also means that one values the meat, doesn’t waste it and also gets the reinforcement that everything is tied up together.
But halal starts before that however.
Islam forbids slaughtering an animal while the other animals watch. Also forbids sharpening the knife in front of the animal. And even before that, Islam requires one treats the animal well, doesn’t hit it, hurt it, mistreat it, feed it well with wholesome food and clean water…
You know how cattle is raised in small pens here in the US, herded to the slaughterhouse in masses, shocked, dragged, fed grains rather than grass, stunned and skinned while still alive?… well, all of that makes it non-halal before the actual throat slitting.
Finally, studies have shown that the cutting of the jugular vein with a sharp knife in a quick motion is rather painless and the most efficient way to bring about death.
Check the attached link for the purpose of halal, and the embedded videos especially.
Gee, I wonder if this ever happens w/ organic food?? Unless you know and trust the farmer, and buy directly from him/her, it is a crap shoot. And, never trust a Hawkeye!
Paul, that global, loud retching sound you heard this morning? That is millions of people trying to throw up the meat they ate thinking it was halal.
Some will shrug and move on with their lives, others will beat themselves up for a day or two, and others still will beat themselves for decades to come.
There is no remedy… that solution is contained here :” But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” That covers also those who transgress accidentally. Islam only holds one accountable for the wrong committed purposefully.
Many places around the world import meat from Iowa, which is an important producer of beef, like Australia and Argentina. You gotta get it from where it is. There is no grass in Saudi Arabia 🙂
Here is my problem. If they have been eating religiously tainted meat for so long are they cursed for life? Do they have to cut their tongue out? What is the rememdy? And why the hell are they importing halal meat from Iowa?
PS: I didn’t mean that to be a criticism of JT… but rather a criticism of 21st century humanity. What JT ought to do is establish a list of the most absurd statements pertinent to lawsuits. Society (i.e., the citizenry!) has gotten disgustingly absurd. The black woman suing for a billion dollars comes to mind, as does the constant discussion of Islam. How not to drop out…
Is it really possible that you are discussing such inanity in the 21st century? This sentence is simply mind-boggling: “The Koran states in various parts that the name of Allah must be invoked and specifies how an animal is to be killed to be good with God.” In the same breath you discuss global warming.
The food and drug administration is our American entity that verifies that the food we eat is what it should be according to laws passed and standards maintained by the US government for the American people. Regardless of whether one thinks that these standards are stringent enough or too stringent this is an example of the WE taking care of the I.
Anything to do with ANY religious requirements, be they Islamic, Jewish, or Christian should have absolutely nothing to do with the American WE. If the food is overseen by the FDA then that is where it begins and stops. If certain groups want to regulate the food they eat in ways pertaining to their religion then it is up to them to take care of the monitoring and verifying. If they have a disagreement then it should be done in civil court. Let Judge Judy sort it out.
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