By Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed
Questions around the halal status of one of South Africa’s most loved chicken fast-food chains KFC have surfaced following messages circulating online alleging that their chicken sources are not halal. One of the halaal bodies that have been mentioned in this alert was the South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA) who has discussed in their publication Musjid Times their position on KFC’s halal status. SANHA’s Ebi Lockhat said that since their inception 21 years ago, they have never certified KFC.
“The KFC brand has never been certified by SANHA. KFC has 850 stores across the country and not a single store is certified by SANHA.”
In order for products to be certified halaal, certain criterion must be met. Asked why SANHA does not certify the global chicken outlet, he said:
“When we as SANHA say we don’t say certify something halaal it doesn’t mean that it is haraam. This means that we do not have access, we don’t know the process or the supervision to give the testimony that this is halaal.”
During the outbreak of Avian flu last year, many KFC stores across the country were affected by the shortage of chicken. Lockhat said that they were experiencing an influx of queries with regards to store closures.
“We received queries on social media and a local radio station contacted us to ask us about this because some stores were closed due to a shortage of stock, and there were allegations which were just hearsay that they saw boxes of poultry without the rubber stamp. So we informed our constituency, through our Musjid Times which goes out the masjids to say ‘leave out what is doubtful’. However if you follow other halal bodies and they say the product is halal then go ahead. But if you follow SANHA then we say we do not certify and we say be cautious,” he explained.
Listen to Sanha’s interview here:
The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) has confirmed that it is one of the halal bodies that certifies KFC. MJCHT director Shayk Achmat Sedick said the body certified 33 of the KFC outlets as halaal, most of them here in Cape Town and some in Gauteng.
“When we certify a branch we ensure the suppliers are halaal. The suppliers to these branches form part of the halaal certification requirement. And it is not just the chicken but all the items like the oil and spices that must be certified,” Sedick said.”
Listen to the MJCHT interview here:
KFC’s head office has clarified that all products are locally sourced and that they are not making use of any imported chicken. Suhayl Limbada, a representative of KFC expressed concern at the false messages circulating online and reiterated their previous message that their chickens are all locally sourced.
“We are the franchiser of the KFC brand which means that we franchise out our brand to a group of franchisees that run the actual stores. In essence we don’t operate the stores and therefore the decision to get halaal certification by store is on the franchisee,” he explained.
“But what we do control on our side is the supply chain. So from selection of the actual product, ensuring quality and making sure the product gets to the store sits with us. On that we have a very clear approach to ensuring that we are complying to halaal standards throughout that chain. So every single piece of chicken is halaal certified,” Limbada explained.
KFC explains their position below: