So I got an email which linked to this blog post here on the WorkHalal.com blog saying Costco sells Halal lamb. At first, I didn’t believe it, because for some reason whenever I see emails/blog-posts without sourcing to any website makes it seem shady. So I consulted my Shaykh (Sh. Google) and he gave me wonderful responses, mashaAllah! I found the Australian Lamb Company‘s website and I contacted them myself. I received two responses from two different people:
The first person was Peter Gilligan who said:
Having been to Australia I will share with you my observations.
First of all, the lamb is treated very humanely during the entire process. The slaughter floor itself has an arrow painted on the ground pointing toward Mecca. When the lamb reaches the Muslim slaughter man it is presented to Allah, a prayer is recited and with a single cut with a very sharp knife the lamb is then bled. I am of the understanding that at this point the lamb is considered Halal slaughter.
Should you need further information I am available to you.
Here is the second email from Marybeth Laleman who said:
I can only speak for the lamb produced and imported by the Australian Lamb
Company Inc (USA) and LTD (Canada). The largest retailer of Australian Lamb
in the US and Canada is Costco Wholesale.
The Australian Lamb Company Inc/LTD is the producer and importer of the
Kirkland Signature brand of lamb for Costco Wholesale. All of the lamb
produced for Costco is halal.
The lambs are handled in a humane manner, are presented towards Mecca to
Allah as a prayer is recited by a Muslim slaughter man who ensures only a
single cut with a very sharp knife is used. Subsequently, the product is
certified Halal. You can consume lamb purchased at Costco with confidence is
its meeting the halal standard.
The master cartons that Costco receives do have an MS (Muslim Slaughter)
legend on them with the accrediting authority noted. The individual packages
do not carry a MS legend, but they will in the future. Further over site is
ensured by AQUIS, the Australian Government equivalent to the USDA.
The following was copied then pasted from the www.Australian-lamb.com website.
The Muslim consumer market is very important to the Australian meat
industry. Australia has a Government Supervised Muslim Slaughter System
(AGSMS) which ensures high quality product that is strictly Halal (“lawful”
in Arabic). Australia is recognized as a world leader in Halal meat
production. For its success, the AGSMS relies heavily upon the involvement
and expertise of various Islamic organizations. These organizations are
licensed to supervise, inspect and certify all Halal meat and meat products
by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS).
Halal meat must have a program which complies 100 percent with AGSMS
guidelines. All Halal meat processing facilities must submit to regular
Processors may only employ registered Muslim slaughter men. Haram
(“unlawful”) meat may not be processed in the same area as Halal product
Halal and non-Halal product must be adequately separated and identified at
all times Equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and washed if non-Halal meat
has been in contact Only genuine Halal products may be issued a Halal
certificate and only by recognized Islamic organizations.
Hopefully this answers most of your questions.
Thank you very much for your patronage.
Australian Lamb Company
Now the question is why do they have to point it towards Mecca? All I know is that you simply just slaughter the animal with a sharp knife at the neck killing it instantly without any pain and suffering. Maybe they were confused when the butchers faced Mecca to pray.
They also had a list of vendors in the United States that sold it and most of the common ones I recognized in NY and MD (since I claim both states as home now) were Costco, Giant, Safeway and Stop & Shop. The full list can be found here. Here is a list of all the Halal exporters of meat from Australia.