Children & Young People’s Services
Advice for Schools on Halal Meals
The following three recommendations were made by the Council’s Scrutiny
Commission on School Meals, Health and Achievement in 2005/6 and are
presented below with professional advice for schools to consider.
Scrutiny Recommendation 1
That schools are asked to ensure that children are accessing culturally
appropriate meals through clear labelling at the point of service and
through guidance from catering staff.
Newham Catering Services provide Halal signage that is now prominently
displayed on the service counter where any halal meals are served so that
children can select an appropriate meal.
NCS will provide its catering staff with appropriate training on halal meals
to ensure that the schools’ policy is followed appropriately.
Scrutiny Recommendation 2
That schools are asked to identify a rationale for deciding whether or not
to provide Halal meals, based on the pupil intake of the school and
subject to review each year as the pupil intake changes. Children and
Young Peoples' Services should provide guidance on this, but ultimately
each school will make a decision based on its own circumstances in a
culturally sensitive way.
What is Halal Meat?
Halal meat is an obligatory requirement for all Muslims. It is described in
the Islamic Holy Book AL QU'RAN and in the sayings (Al-hadith) of the
Prophet Muhammad ( upon whom be peace)
Halal means permissible and halal meat and poultry are the outcome of
the special process of religious slaughtering to ensure the meat is
permissible to eat.
Food described as 'Haraam' is a Quranic term meaning prohibited or
unlawful. Allah strictly prohibits Haraam foods. Pork and all pork products
e.g. bacon, ham and pork sausages are haraam. Any meat not
slaughtered in the prescribed way is also regarded as haraam.
A practising Muslim is also prevented from consuming 'doubtful' foods and
an Arabic term meaning suspect 'Mushbooh' describes this. These include
Can other religious faiths eat halal meat?
Translations of the Guru Granth Sahib which relates to the Sikh population
seem simply to forbid the eating of meat that has been ritually slaughtered
or prepared according to the requirements of another religion - such as
kosher or halal meat. It should be noted that for some Sikhs, this
prohibition extends to cover all meat and meat products, no matter how the
animal is slaughtered, and may even include eggs, fish, milk and other
dairy products too. For others, the meaning is interpreted so that all meat
apart from halal, kosher, beef and pork products may be eaten.
Other religions do not object to halal meat although some parents may
object to their children eating halal meat due to the way it is slaughtered as
they consider it contradicts animal rights.
Orthodox Jewish children would also not eat halal meat. Although it is
slaughtered in the same manner as kosher meat, the religious ritual is
significant and therefore halal meat is not regarded as kosher.
How Newham Catering Service provide halal compliant meals
Newham Catering Services offer a halal menu cycle.
The current Newham Catering Services Halal Menu incorporates halal
minced and diced lamb, minced and diced beef, chicken breasts,
drumsticks and diced chicken. It will also include other options such as
fish and vegetarian prepared in a halal compliant manner.
All halal meat is clearly labelled by the supplier and the delivery note that
arrives with the goods also indicates that it is halal.
Ready prepared bought in products are also halal certified and are
supplied via the frozen food supplier these include poultry sausages,
cooked chicken slices, lamb and chicken burgers.
The halal four-week standard menu cycle is practically identical to the non-
halal standard menu cycle. The only changes are in the use of pork. In the
non- halal kitchens pork sausages may feature on the menu whilst the
halal menu will have halal poultry sausages.
Newham Catering Services also offer a range of sandwiches in most
schools with at least four different protein fillings e.g. tuna and sweetcorn.
They do not offer ham sandwiches in halal only schools.
The butcher and the frozen food supplier have issued Halal certificates
and Newham Catering Services display these next to the daily menu board
for children to see. Halal certificates can also be issued to the school office
in order that parents can be assured of its authenticity.
Newham Catering Services ensure no gelatine is used and jellies are
made using vegetarian gelatine. The oils and fats used in cooking and
preparing foods are also of a vegetable origin (AT ALL SITES?).
Newham Services Kitchen Procedure for delivery, storage, preparation
cooking and serving halal meat
The cook will order all foods from nominated suppliers. The butcher
requires the cook to identify what type of meat e.g.halal lamb mince or
non-halal lamb mince.
The ready prepared products are coded and listed on a supplier sheet as
halal so the cook will refer to this list and order accordingly.
The cook will check all goods on arrival to confirm that the correct goods
have arrived and that they are labelled and sealed.
All high-risk foods e.g. meat is to be either refrigerated or frozen. Halal
products are to be stored either in a designated fridge or freezer or in
disinfected separate containers on the bottom shelf. This complies with
Food Safety Regulations.
When preparing halal meat and non-halal meat, the cook will ensure that
they keep all meat separate and will wash and disinfect chopping boards,
knives and any other utensils between tasks.
If halal and non-halal is served no meat products will be fried.
All cooking utensils e.g. pots, gastronorm trays will be disinfected in the
steriliser before use.
When storing cooked food, kitchen staff will identify a designated area for
halal meat to be stored and served.
The cook will identify to the kitchen staff who are serving the meal which
foods are halal and ensure these are appropriately labelled with Halal
signage so this is clear for all pupils.
Servery utensils will be colour coded to ensure that the one being used to
serve halal foods are easily identified.
The same service tool will be used to serve halal foods throughout the
service; under no circumstances will the same serving tool be used to
serve both dishes.
Individual secondary school products will be labelled accordingly and may
be colour coded.
All appropriate school kitchen staff will receive training in serving halal
What are the options for each school about Halal Meals?
There are five options for you to consider. These are:
1. Not providing halal meat. (Muslim pupils will be able to eat the fish
and vegetarian options).
2. Providing only halal compliant meals.
3. Providing halal compliant meals on some days of the week and non-
halal compliant meals on the remaining days of the week.
4. Providing both halal meals and non-halal meals every day.
5. Another combination of the above options.
Do your present arrangements need review?
Issues to consider will include:
The religious make up of your pupils and the extent that certain groups are
The value of consultation – listening to and considering the views of
Consultation could be carried out with governors, pupils, parents and staff.
Possible routes for consultation that you could utilise are :
School Council Meeting
Governors Sub Committee
Healthy School Task Group
Operating Issues for Options 1 and 2
1. Not providing halal meat.
2. Providing only halal compliant meals.
The cook will either order halal meat and associated products or non halal
meat. There will be no deviation.
Newham Catering Services will print its four weekly menu cycle indicating
halal or non-halal and it is recommended that this is displayed in the
Newham Catering Services will label all halal meat at the point of access
on the counter.
All school staff and parents are aware of the school policy on whether halal
meals are served or not.
Pupils know if they are able to access the meat choice or not. If they are
unable to eat the meat for religious grounds then they will be able to have
a vegetarian or fish main meal choice. It is envisaged with this decision
that they will be in the minority.
School staff should assist children in making appropriate choices in
particular in relation to younger pupils who may not be able to read the
Benefits in choosing these options are
The likelihood of pupils accessing unsuitable meals is low, as there is no
scope for confusions on a daily basis as to whether a pupil should eat the
The kitchen will be only storing one type of meat so there is no risk in
cross contamination between halal meat and non-halal meat.
These options are easier to follow for all concerned from the catering staff
to the pupils themselves.
Operating Issues for Options 3, 4 and 5
3. Providing halal meals on some days of the week and non-halal meals
on the remaining days of the week.
4. Providing both halal meals and non-halal meals daily.
5. A combination of the above.
The school and Newham Catering Services should consider carrying out a
risk assessment to identify the steps that would need to be put in place so that
all pupils could access the correct meals.
This risk assessment needs to include:
(a) Identification of the risk
The risk is that pupils could be given meals that were prohibited by their
religion or are against their beliefs.
(b) The consequences if this was to occur
An individual pupil or group of pupils would eat meals that are prohibited
by their faith.
The local community would loose confidence in the school and the
A higher number of pupils would bring in packed lunches, the contents of
which are not subject to any controls.
(c) The likelihood of the risk occurring and its impact
The risk is increased by offering both halal and non-halal on different days
and an even greater risk offering both choices on each day.
(d) What actions should be taken to manage this risk?
The kitchen and school procedures listed under options 1 and 2 need to be
followed and in addition:
Newham Catering Services need to instigate a detailed hazard analysis to
ensure at all stages from delivery, storage, preparation, cooking and
serving that halal and non halal food are kept separate and there is no
cross contamination. This analysis needs to be based on the section
above titled 'How NCS provide halal meals' taking account of kitchen
space, equipment and staff training needs.
School staff consider how to ensure that individual pupils are aware of the
suitable choices available to them. NCS staff are able to assist in this
process but are not able to take responsibility.
NCS are unable to guarantee that sufficient halal and non-halal meat are
always available for all pupils. The service level agreement states that
95% of pupils will receive their first choice from the menu therefore, there
will be instances where either the halal meat dish runs out or the non-halal
meat dish runs out.
The risk assessment may identify a need to purchase additional equipment
e.g. additional servery counters and/or a fridge. It should be noted that a
change in service may involve a cost implication and this would need to be
discussed between the school and NCS.
You will need to monitor how this policy is working operationally for all
Benefit in choosing these options
You will be best addressing the needs of your school population
Scrutiny Recommendation 3
That schools are advised to ensure that parents are informed about their
policy on the provision of culturally appropriate food and this
information is included in their school prospectus. Schools are also
advised to keep parents informed of all decisions made in regard of this
Advising parents on your policy regarding halal/non halal meals eg by
including this in the school prospectus.
In order to meet the Healthy Schools Award, schools need to meet the
criteria listed in the Healthy Eating Theme. One of these criteria is for
schools to formulate a School Food Policy. We would recommend that in
this document you should state whether you serve halal meals or not.
Including menus within their school newsletters.
Reviewing this policy yearly in line with changes in the school population.
The Client Catering Officer will ask each school to complete a form
indicating their halal status.
If you have opted for either Option 3, 4 or 5 your catering provider will
contact you to clarify your exact requirements and if changes are proposed
discuss whether risk assessment is required.
If you choose option 2, 3, 4 or 5, you will be provided with documentation
confirming your halal status. This will be issued to your school cook and
displayed in the kitchen for all catering staff.
Newham Catering Services will carry out training for its staff on this policy
to ensure that its requirements are adhered to and increase their staff’s
awareness of different cultures.
Type of Meals Notification Form for Newham Catering Services
Please indicate your preference below.
If you have ticked option 3, 4 or 5 and this is a change from your current
arrangements Newham Catering Services will contact you to carry out a
detailed risk assessment
The preferred option that you indicate will stand until you notify NCS in
writing of a different option.
It is recommended that you review your decision on a yearly basis.
Please note this decision applies to all food in school by your school meals
catering provider e.g. breakfast clubs, morning break service, adult meals
and after school food. The only exception is buffet meals where NCS will
ask your preference at the time of order.
Name of School _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
1. Not providing halal meals
2. Providing only halal compliant meals for pupils
3. Providing halal meals on some days of the week accordingly Halal
and non-halal meals on the remaining days of Meals M/T/W/T/F
the week. Non Halal Meals
4. Providing both halal meals and non-halal meals
SIGNATURE OF HEADTEACHER _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ DATE _ _ _ _ _
Please return this form to John Ledgley, Head of Schools Service, Newham
Catering and Cleaning Services, 242 Fernhill Street, North Woolwich, London