Fake Muslim Food Found in Lanzhou, China

July 15, 2010 Updated: July 15, 2010

Fake Muslim food has been found in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province following the exposure of the fake Qingzhen (equivalent to the Arabic halal, or legal) goat meat that had been sold and distributed throughout Gansu and other provinces.

According to the Lanzhou Islamic Association, pork, which is not allowed by Muslim dietary laws, was found in some of Lanzhou City’s Muslim restaurants.

The association said that among more than 70 Muslim restaurants, only 13 adhere to Muslim dietary laws, including three with a high rating.

Mr. Bao, a resident of Lanzhou, told The Epoch Times that Muslim communities observe dietary laws governing food consumption. The designation “Muslim food” must be issued by an imam (Muslim priest) in a mosque after a religious ritual.

An imam said that the distribution of food that has not undergone the proper religious ritual is not under his mosque’s control and that the local authorities do not pay attention to such a violation of Muslim dietary custom.

Throughout the country, “Muslim food” should be marked on beef and mutton that is sold to any Muslim ethnic minorities who consume Qingzhen food. It should be so marked at all the stages of production—slaughtering, packaging, transporting, processing, and selling.

A local resident from the Hui ethnic minority expressed concern about the authenticity of Muslim food, saying, “We do not dare to go to certain Muslim restaurants as they cannot assure us of the authenticity of halal food there.”

An Epoch Times reporter made phone calls to certain departments directly under the municipal authorities but received the same response to the incident: We don’t know about this case.

According to the 2009 Pew Forum report, there are about 22 million Muslims in China and they live throughout the country. The provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Yunnan, and Qinghai are the areas with the highest concentration, and the Hui is the largest of the 10 Muslim minority groups.

Halal means “lawful” in Arabic and is applied to food consumption—what can and cannot be eaten and how processing must be performed. Pork, blood, carrion, and alcohol are strictly prohibited. The prescribed method of slaughtering is “dhabiha,” which maintains the integrity of an animal’s spinal cord and is believed to lessen pain and suffering.