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EU court advisor: Organic food label does not exclude halal slaughter


Meat obtained from animals slaughtered without being stunned, in line with Islamic religious practices, should still be able to qualify for organic certification, an advisor to the European Union's top court argued on Thursday.

Many Muslims believe that for meat to be halal and acceptable for them to eat, the animal may not be stunned before it is killed - a practice that runs counter to standard rules on animal slaughter.

In 2012, a French association to protect slaughterhouse animals applied for a ban on granting the "organic farming" label to halal minced beef patties. The request was rejected, leading to a series of appeals. 

The French court handling the case then turned to the European Court of Justice for help in interpreting EU laws.  

Advocate General Nils Wahl argued that EU rules on organic production "do not exclude the practice of ritual slaughter," in a statement from the Luxembourg-based court, noting that this exclusion was not likely to be an oversight since the issue has long been known.

Any decision that ritual slaughter is incompatible with the "organic farming" label would deny consumers of halal - as well as kosher - products the right to benefit from the guarantees of organic farming in terms of quality and food safety, Wahl added.

He is one of 11 advocate generals who provide legal opinions to the European Court of Justice. The judges generally follow their advice.

It could take several months before a verdict is reached.

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