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There are different ways to become a halal butcher. There are some colleges with majors in meat cutting which require two years to complete which, while not halal focused, will teach the necessary skills of butchering. These are mainstream courses taken by all potential butchers. In many cases, a high school diploma or some high school education will suffice. Some maintain that only Muslims can become halal butchers while others believe Christians and Jews can also work as halal butchers.
A halal butcher does what every other butcher does with the basic difference being in the method of slaughtering the animals used for meat. In order to become a halal butcher, the slaughter of the animals must be carried out in accordance with the approved slaughter procedure called Zhabiha. Other than that, the job requires the same knowledge as a non-halal butcher. That is, the production and processing of meat, food production, business principles and methods and the provision of customer and personal service.
To become a halal butcher, any animal used in the store must have been slaughtered in the name of Allah with one quick deep cut to throat, severing the carotoid artery, jugular vein and windpipe and then allowing the animal to bleed out. Halal is the dietary standard of Muslims and it means "lawful" or "permitted." The process of halal butchery is considered pure and clean and many stores selling halal products are halal certified by a qualified independent party ascertaining that all consumables have been produced according to Islamic law. While there is no specific qualification necessary to become a halal butcher, the personnel who carry out the certification pass on the training they have had when they inspect the store. Many Muslims look for halal certification before buying products or entering a store.
Butchers focusing on halal products should know that pork and pork products are not permissible including gelatin, animal shortening and hydrolyzed animal protein. If rennet enzymes used in the production of cheese and other products have been taken from pigs, then this is also haram, or not clean. As the source of ingredients such as gelatin and rennet are not always specified on food labels, many Muslims will avoid products containing them altogether.
Becoming a halal butcher requires much the same start-up costs as a mainstream butcher. The biggest single expense is a cold room of a reasonable standard and size. Additional equipment includes chopping blocks, mincing machines, weighing scales, knives, a till, display fridges and a counter. Demand for halal certified products are increasing dramatically world wide so a career in this area can be seen as one that will do well in the future.
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