Pizza Express will review halal policy on menus after campaigners say clearer labelling needed

The restaurant has exclusively used halal chicken for a number of years - yet does not say so on its menus

The restaurant chain Pizza Express is to review its menu policy for halal meat after campaigners called for greater clarity on the labelling of chicken produced through religious slaughter.

That Pizza Express has changed its supplier to provide exclusively halal chicken is not news, but the lack of clarity on its menus has raised concerns that customers are not being allowed to make an informed choice.

The restaurant said that it was “no secret” that all the chicken used in its dishes was halal slaughtered, adding that all birds are stunned before being killed.

Read more: What is halal meat? The big questions about religious slaughter answered

“Our chicken supplier is accredited by the British Retail Consortium,” the chain said on its website. “This means it meets the global standard for food safety and legality. Our chicken also meets the ‘5 freedoms on the farm’ initiative, endorsed by the RSPCA.”

However, the RSPCA itself has campaigned for more clarity on halal meat labelling, and told The Independent: “We believe that meat produced from animals stunned or not stunned before slaughter should be clearly labelled to allow consumer choice, and continue to press for changes in the law that would improve the welfare of all farm animals at the time of slaughter.

“Our concern has nothing to do with the expression of religious belief but with the practice of killing by throat cutting without pre-stunning.

Pizza Express said that all of the birds slaughtered for its chicken dishes were pre-stunned Pizza Express said that all of the birds slaughtered for its chicken dishes were pre-stunned “We are currently urging the public to sign the HM Government petition calling for an end to slaughter without pre-stunning. Non-stun slaughter can cause considerable suffering and we believe this practice should be banned once and for all.”

A report produced by the Farm Animal Welfare Council in 2009 said that chickens and turkeys were likely to be conscious for up to 20 seconds after having their throats cut, adding that “such an injury would result in significant pain and distress before insensibility supervenes”.

While people can find the details of Pizza Express’s policy in an FAQ on its website, customers in its branches can only find out by raising the issue with restaurant staff directly.

Today the restaurant chain said that it was going to look into taking steps to label its use of halal meat more clearly, including whether the information needs to go on its menus.

A spokesperson said: “At Pizza Express the quality and integrity of our ingredients remain our number one priority, and we have always been happy to provide information on our ingredients to our guests.”

Provided animals are stunned before slaughter, there is no practical difference in the way they are treated for halal and non-halal meat production.

But around 15 per cent of all halal slaughter in the UK is still done via the traditional method of slitting the animal’s throat while it remains conscious, making it hard to guarantee when eating halal meat that the animal was stunned beforehand.

Denmark banned halal and kosher slaughter without pre-stunning earlier this year Denmark banned halal and kosher slaughter without pre-stunning earlier this year Stephen Evans, of the National Secular Society, told The Sun: “Meat should be properly labelled, enabling consumers to make an informed choice about the food they’re buying.”

The news comes after the European Parliament voted by 559 to 54 for more detailed, compulsory labelling on all halal and kosher meat. Yet while the motion was backed in June 2010, it still awaits full adoption across Europe.

Earlier this year the Danish government banned the exemption on rules around pre-stunning for halal and kosher slaughter, in a move which was attacked in Denmark as “anti-Semitism” and “a clear interference in religious freedom”.

Defending the government’s decision to ban non-pre-stunned slaughter, food minister Dan Jørgensen said “animal rights come before religion”.

Click here to read the RSPCA’s petition calling for an end to slaughter without pre-stunning

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Carpenter / Joiner

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading manufacturer...

Recruitment Genius: Accountant

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an innova...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Registered Manager

£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This local charity has an oppor...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash