Thursday, 24 May 2012

Review of

I know this it is not usual for me to post reviews, but I think this is important. I was searching for Arabic textbooks that are based on the Edexcel A-level (or GCE) Arabic course, and I stumbled upon this great website. At first I was sceptical and I Googled it in the hope of finding some reviews and to see if it was a scam but there were none. It was my only option so I went ahead and sent them the money (via PayPal) in exchange for one of their AS-level Arabic textbooks.

A few days later, I received the book. So I'm giving this website a thumbs up!

Additionally, you might be interested to know that I had a tiny problem with them, at first the book took more that five days to arrive so I emailed them suggesting that the book might have gotten lost in the post, the author swiftly agreed to send me another book. Two days later, I received the book (turns out it wasn't lost, it was just taking it's time in the post!). And if you're wondering, yes I did eventually return the second book that was sent to me, when it arrived, and apologised for my impatience!

Update: Now that I'm doing my A-levels (year 13) I needed the second book for the course - the A2 Arabic textbook. So instead of paying for it myself, I asked my school language department to buy it for me, and they agreed! So if you're in the same boat, try doing the same, I've now got a spare £13 that I can spend on something else.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Requesting that a food franchise begin selling halal meat

This template email can be customized and sent to any desired food franchise that does not sell halal meat. The words in bold must be changed as necessary. I have included below a few emails/links so you can contact your preferred food franchise. 

Dear [Food Franchise’s name],  I'm a regular customer and I think you are the best fast food franchise in the UK. I am particularly impressed at the professional standards that you hold, and I love the delicious food that you make! I'd like to enquire whether you have any interest in introducing halal food options in the UK. With the growing number of Muslims in this country, I think it would be a perfect opportunity to attract more customers, as you will be able to appeal to a larger audience. As a Muslim, I would love to hear about any plans that you may have regarding the introduction of halal food. I look forward to hearing from you, [YOUR NAME]

I contacted several companies and these are the replies that I received.

From Domino's Pizza:

Dear [Name], Thank you for your email – we understand the emotion around halal meat and I appreciate you taking the time to give us your comments.
Can I reassure you that it is only our chicken that is halal slaughtered and that it is all stunned to a level that ensures the chicken is rendered unconscious and insensitive to pain when it is slaughtered. It is a tenet of our Company that we will not allow un stunned slaughter anywhere in our food chain and we regularly audit our suppliers. Our chicken wings are not from chickens that have been halal slaughtered. We don't make any secret of our chicken being halal and we do state it on our food guide, where you can find all the details with regard to our food. You can see it for yourself at Very little of our product is ordered and purchased in our stores, so we provide all our food details – nutrition, allergen and so on – online. I hope this answers all your questions and we have noted your comments.
Leah Day - Customer Service Co-Ordinator at Domino's Pizza
There is a difference of opinion on this method, but it seems that this is the closest Muslims will get to eating halal meat with such franchises, as stated in the UK Organic Standards that animals must be stunned before slaughter. I am happy with this method for the time being. Hopefully we will be able to practice proper slaughter soon.

From Burger King:

Dear [Name],
Thank you for contacting us at BURGER KING and for your wonderful praise. We aim for the highest standards in food quality and service, and it is a great pleasure to hear that you have experienced exactly this in our restaurants. We regret that we are not currently providing halal meat. As a global brand we greatly respect all religions and convictions, and we would like to cater for all of our customers' needs if possible. This is why we would like to apologise to you for any inconvenience or disappointment caused to you. Naturally, we have sent a copy of your email on to our Marketing Department for future consideration.Thank you again for all your friendly comments and suggestions.
Kind Regards, Katrina BURGER KING Customer Relations
It appears Burger King have no plans of adding halal meat to their menus, but hopefully with a mass campaign of emails they will realise that it would benefit them financially to add a halal option within their restaurants
From Pizza Hut:

Dear [Name] 
Thank you for your email regarding your enquiry regarding products sold inour stores.
As all of our restaurants sell pork products, we’re not allowed, by law, tolabel our products as halal. We source our chicken from the same leadinginternational suppliers as many supermarkets and restaurant companies inthe UK.  
Some of these suppliers provide, as standard, meat slaughtered inaccordance with halal guidelines, all of which is stunned before slaughter.This meat is sold throughout the UK, not just at Pizza Hut. We account fora tiny proportion of all the meat sold in the UK, and chicken is on just 4out of our 19 toppings. 
Your feedback has however been passed onto the Marketing Team.
Kind Regards,
Herbie Bulley, Pizza Hut Customer Service Team
From these emails, I hope to at least make a difference or plant an idea, hopefully planting the seed in there will cause it gradually grow, and the idea will develop into a real plan! 
So, again, please email these companies asking them to consider selling halal meat, hopefully as more people do so, they will realise that there is demand in the market for halal meat, and will start catering towards Islamic diets.

The following is a list of contact addresses for each franchise that I emailed:

Asking Sainsbury's to use beef gelatine instead

I E-mailed the supermarket giant, Sainsbury's, asking them to stop using pork gelatine in their sweets and to use beef gelatine instead.

Dear Sainsburys,I'm writing to request that you replace the 'pork gelatine' in your sweets with 'beef gelatin'. I'm a Muslim so it is against my religion to consume pork, even though I'd love to buy your jelly sweets - I am unable to because they include pork. I do not see how this would make a difference to your business but it will increase sales, because Muslims, Jews, and people who do not consume pork will not have to think twice about buying your products. Please think about this. Thanks you very much, and I look forward to hearing from you, [Name].

This is the reply that I received:

Dear [Name]
Thanks for your suggestion about replacing pork gelatin in our sweets with beef gelatin.  

It’s a really good idea and as you point out many of our Muslim and Jewish customers would then be able to enjoy more of our sweets.

I’ve logged your suggestion as we use these to help us make improvements to our products where possible.  I hope in future you may be able to enjoy more of the tasty treats we currently stock and thank you again for sharing this great idea with us.  

We appreciate you taking the time to get in touch with us and look forward to seeing you in store soon.  

Kind regards
Denise McIntosh | Customer Manager 
If you would like Sainsburys to do this, then you can email them at and either copy & paste what I wrote or write it yourself.

First post

Assalam alikom and hello,

I will use this blog as a platform to tell people whether a food item is halal (permissale) or haram (forbidden) by emailing companies and asking them questions about their products.

I hope you benefit from this!