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Supervisory Guidelines and Procedures for Poultry HALAL Slaughter Process

In today’s usage of a mass slaughtering system of poultry (the usage of mechanical knives), the job of a slaughterman and a slaughtering supervisor require technical knowledge, detailed supervision, and a full understanding of the Islamic concept of Halal Zabiha, plus a general knowledge of the processing plant itself. All of these provisions are necessary in order to be able to produce a final Halal product, free of impurity (Najis) and mix up.

Scheduling Services

Halal slaughtering services should take place at the beginning of the first shift with clean, sanitized machinery and equipment. The halal slaughtering can continue into the second shift if the process is continued from the morning.

For those plants that do not have a wash down gap between the two shifts, halal slaughtering cannot take place at the beginning of the second shift, unless Halal blessing is a continuous from the first shift into the second shift.

During the halal slaughtering process, the slaughtering supervisor should carefully take the following steps. This is necessary to prevent mistakes that could lead to a non-Halal (Haram) product.

Step 1: Setting of Stunner

The first step is to check and make sure that the stunner voltage is set according to the size of the birds, usually between 12 to 16 volts. The resistance is set between 2 to 3 ampere which could be attained by lowering or elevating the stunner casings. This is necessary to prevent clotting of the blood and to assure a full bleeding of the arteries, without damaging or lasting effect on the subject animal.

Step 2: Adjustment of Kill Machine

In order to achieve an incision that cuts the throat, esophagus, and the two sets of blood vessels (jugular and carotid) without cutting the spinal cord, the machine should be properly set. When the head of the bird goes between the two rollers, the rollers should be tight enough so that the head doesn’t come off and yet should be loose enough that the groove in the lower roller can spin the head from side to side, insuring that the rotating blade makes the correct incision required by Zabiha Halal. The usual distance between the two roller bars for birds sizing is between 4-1/4 and 4-3/4 pounds. (You should be able to almost push a nickel coin between the two bars.)

Please be advised that all adjustments to machinery and equipment should be done through authorized plant personnel (i.e. maintenance persons.) The slaughterman should not attempt to adjust any

Step 3: Muslim Slaughterman

The job of the Muslim slaughterman is to recite “BISMIALLAHU AKBAR” and to carefully monitor the correction of the following problems that may be encountered during the mechanical slaughtering
a) At the beginning shift before the line starts putting his hand on the switch and reciting “BISMILLAHU AKBAR” and maintaining recitation until the end of the shift.

b) To monitor the physical cut by the back up killer that is missed by the mechanical knife.

c) To monitor cuts by making sure that the blood vessels, throat, the esophagus and the windpipe are completely cut. (without pulling off the heads)

d) To remove the non-moving birds off the line that may have been dead before being hung on the line, or as result of the stunner damage.

e) To also remove the birds off the line that do not bleed due to clotting of the blood or for any other reason.
Note 1: It is important to make sure that the slaughtered bird is completely dead before going into scalder (warm water.)

Note 2: It is important to keep in mind that the line speed differs from plant to plant, some time to more than 150 birds per minute and that the slaughterman could only recite according to his ability.
At this stage, the job of a slaughterman is complete. However, the detail follow-up of the carcass through the final stage is also as important as the slaughtering stage. Since a non-halal slaughtered bird is considered to be haram and cannot be consumed by Muslims, any mix up or contact of non-halal carcasses with halal carcasses could cause the halal carcasses to become contaminated (Najes).

Therefore, it is very important to keep the halal slaughtered birds separate and prevent any contact with other non-halal products, including unwashed tools and machinery, all the way through the packaging Please consider the following points for the products that go to mechanical deboning (comminuted meat). Certain by-products are sent to mechanical deboning to be transformed to chicken frank paste.

Products used are as follows:
1) Rib cases from deboning department

2) Trim from thigh deboning department

3) Strip back from breast department

4) Whole backs from leg department
Products not to be used:
1) Floor products that is not USDA approved (condemned)

2) Condemned salvage products

3) Bone from the thigh debone department
Note: In some plants, wing tips from party wing departments are also used for mechanical deboning. For this purpose, a slaughtering supervisor should take notice of the following steps to make sure that the halal product does not come in contact with non-halal products.
1. Product Transfer

Transferring product for different purposes is a common practice for multi-plant poultry companies or for purchase and sale of the product for single plant companies. Therefore, the plant product coordinator needs to be contacted in order to ensure that there is no presence of non-halal product during a halal schedule.
a) Product returned from a deboning plant, such as front half or breast

b) Product purchased for the purpose of deboning, i.e. breast deboning or thigh deboning

c) Returns excess product from marinating plant or facility
Note: Halal slaughtering supervisors should contact the appropriate department supervisor to prevent such schedule of non-halal product during a halal slaughter day.
2. Product Held

There are times that product could be held and carried over to the next day or next shift.
a) The Quality Control Department can hold product for either moisture or grade.

b) The U.S.D.A. could hold product for issues like moisture or grade some times from 2 to 24 hours.
3. Product Carryover

Product carryover into the next day or shift is usually scheduled for the purpose of labor efficiency or aging of the product for deboning purposes.
a) Whole birds tanks for the following shift for labor-efficiency

b) Thigh or front half for thigh debone or breast debone department

c) In the case of schedule carryover product, arrangement need to be made for halal slaughter so the carryover product is also halal.

d) In the case of Hold product, the slaughtering supervisor needs to check to make sure that such products are isolated and are not processed during the halal schedule.
4. Labeling and Identification Task

Generally, the only remaining point at this stage would be the labeling of finished halal product and keeping a detailed record of the number of the cases or boxes produced for the purpose of certification. In-plant label should be provided to Halal supervisor.
a) To label and identify halal carryover products,

b) For storage of halal product,

c) For final halal product going to further processing, chicken frank plant,

d) For the final finished halal product
Note: Such labels should have the following information:
a) The words “Halal Poultry” or product in large letters,

b) The Halal service provider organizational Logo,

c) The label needs to be numbered in sequence and identification of the shift.
This is to ensure that such information could be double checked and confirmed by Halal inspector before usage the final products to be packaged. Should a Halal supervisor have any uncertainty, concerns, or questions about the processing procedure, he should contact, at any time of the Day or Night, the Halal Food Council’s Director, at (410) 548-1728 or by fax (410) 548-2217.

To All Supervisors and Slaughtermen:

The Islamic Affairs Divisions, Aesan (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia) Department Guidelines on mechanical slaughter:

The Asian group has approved the use of the mechanical knife for the slaughter of chicken. However, the following conditions must be observed at the approved slaughter houses by the respective government office in the United States of America.
1) The operator of the mechanical knife (Slaughterman) should be a MUSLIM. He will recite “BISMILLAH” prior to switching on the mechanical knife.

2) The MUSLIM Slaughterman, who switches on the machine, should not leave the slaughter area.

3) Should the slaughterman leave the slaughter area, he will be replaced by another MUSLIM Slaughterman. The former will stop the line and switch off the mechanical knife. To restart the operation, the second slaughterman must recite the prayers as in (1) before switching on the mechanical knife and the line.

4) The knife used should be of a single blade type and must be sharp.

5) In the act of the slaughter, the trachea, esophagus, and major blood vessels in the neck region (jugular and carotid) of the bird must be severed.

6) The Slaughterman is required to check that each bird is properly slaughtered. Muslim slaughterman should slaughter manually any birds that miss the mechanical knife.