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Questions raised on halal status of J&M biltong

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By Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed

Muslim consumers who enjoy the Joubert & Monty Biltong (J&M) brand of biltong should be aware that all its stores are not completely halal certified, except for two branches in Cape Town. Recently a VOC listener expressed concern around their halal status after visiting a branch that was said to have been halal. However, the branch was unable to produce a halal certificate.

In response to these concerns, Joubert & Monty managing director Alexi Hadjidakis explained that their factory system and procedures in Epping are completely halal and is certified by the Islamic Council of South Africa (ICSA). The giant biltong franchise stores across the province and outlets across the country.

“All our beef, ostrich and chicken products that are manufactured at our factory are halal but because our stores stock game biltong which is kudu and springbok, which is considered venison, therefore the stores are not halal.”

Hadjidakis explained that not all their stores have certificates as the stores stock the venison meat which is not certified.

“We have 38 stores nationally. We don’t have certificates in these except for three stores that do not stock the game products which are the stores at the Promenade Mall in Mitchells Plain and the store in Kenilworth,” Hadjidakis explained.

According to Hadjidakis, ICSA visits them on a monthly basis.

“Our suppliers are all halaal beef suppliers. The venison products are outsourced.”

Keeping products at a store that are not certified halal with products that are becomes very risky. The issue of cross contamination is therefore a serious one for halal certification bodies.

“We have designed the stores with a display cabinet which is completely separate from our beef products. In fact our policies and training manuals include our halal status and procedures. We have a monthly meeting with the management of the stores. Each of our stores actually has a letter from our head office that states that our factory with our beef products are halal,” Hadjidakis clarified.

Halal Inspector and Supervisor of ICSA Sheikh Fuad Hendricks confirmed that they certify J&M’s halal plant only.

“We have been certifying J & M for around 10 years. We are certifying only the halal plant and we have no dealings with the non-halal side. The non-halal side is totally separated from the halal side,” Hendricks revealed.

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