South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)
Making No Bones about MDM  
March 2011 : Rabiul Thani 1432

In a capitalist system with the ownership of wealth vested in the individual, the very existence and sole purpose of any enterprise is the making of profit. The only parameters are highest sales at the lowest costs with minimal wastage.

This pursuit of profit is as relevant in the meat industry as in any other with Mechanically Deboned Meat (MDM) or Mechanically Reclaimed / Recovered Meat (MRM) including Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM). Man has been scraping off meat from bone since times immemorial as scraps. But since about 1960 with advances in knowledge and technology this has been elevated to new heights where on one end meat and edible tissues attached to the bone is inserted and by application of high pressure and “sieving,” a paste like product is produced at the other end.

This MDM paste product is used as a replacer and a means of bulking up of meat proper in polonies, viennas, hotdogs and many other meat items. The main consideration is reduction of costs. It’s availability and costs are directly related to production and obviously the major mass producers of the world hold a huge advantage with costs at half that of smaller local sources. The MDM product imported into South Africa come from many countries viz. Denmark, Australia, UK, China, US and South America. South America is by far the biggest and cheapest producers of MDM.

In their quest to stay ahead in the profit stakes or in reaction to their competitors, many companies including Muslim-owned ones have introduced usage of imported MDM, MRM and MSM meats. SANHA has no objections on businesses deriving honest profits but its concern is on the dubious Halaal status of the imported products.

The Halaal status of MDM is dependent on the raw material used to manufacture MDM. If the raw material is sourced from bonafide “Halaal” suppliers and product then it would be considered as “Halaal”. However, the majority of the foreign MDM entering the country as “Halaal” are of questionable Halaal standard viz :-

  1. Abattoirs conducting both Halaal and non - Halaal slaughter on the same premises with potential for contamination.
  2. Acceptance of slaughter by non Muslims.
  3. Use of mechanical slaughter and unconditional acceptance thereof.
  4. No authorised Muslim supervised staff present at abattoirs on a daily basis.
  5. Lack of information on the bona fides and operating procedures of the local certifying authority.

Ironically, the extremists in our midst, who having been waging their unsuccessful and malicious campaign to dissuade butchers, restaurant owners, supermarkets, wholesalers, caterers and food processors from purchasing locally produced and approved Halaal products remain silent without any tirades on the flood of imports to our shores.

Contributors: Ml M. Yacoob, EBI Lockhat.

Exercise your right to consume that which is Halaal and abstain from that which is doubtful.


Your Duas, constructive comments, criticism and feedback is truly appreciated
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