Wal-Mart Now Offering Halal Meat – Truth!

Wal-Mart Now Offering Halal Meat – Truth!

Summary of eRumor: 

Wal-Mart stocks Halal meat in its grocery departments in an effort to cater to the dietary restrictions of Muslim shoppers.

The Truth:

Wal-Mart stocks Halal chicken in about 175 of its grocery departments across the United States.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson told TruthorFiction.com that the halal offerings are part of regional programs used to meet the varying needs of the communities it serves.

“It’s important to remind folks that we’re the nation’s largest grocer, and we serve a broad cross-section of America,” the spokesperson said. “There are 140 million customers who shop at our stores in a given week, and they come from all walks of life.”

And Wal-Mart’s regional programs don’t just cater to Muslims. The retailer also stocks more Kosher products in areas populated by Jewish customers and expanded seafood selections in predominantly Catholic communities during lent, the spokesperson added.

The eRumor surfaced in November of 2014 after a Wal-Mart manager announced that he would stock halal meat at a location in Oxford, Ohio. The manager made the decision after requests from students at the University of Miami in Ohio, the Miami Student  campus publication reports:

“Upon the request of Muslim students at Miami University, Walmart recently made the decision to provide halal-certified meat at the Oxford location.

Store manager Elijah Woodard made a formal announcement on Oct. 21 that the store would be accommodating these requests.

‘I appreciated the students bringing this interest to our attention,’ Woodard said. ‘I am pleased to announce that we have set a halal meat section in the store.’’”

A visiting assistant professor who made the request with members of the Muslim Student Association told the student newspaper that the closest retailer that sold halal meat had previously been about 40 miles away in Cincinnati.

The Wal-Mart spokesperson confirmed to TruthorFiction.com that the retailer had determined there was enough demand to stock halal chicken at the store in Oxford.

Some opponents of the announcement said Wal-Mart had pandered to Sharia Law, the moral code and religious law of Islam. Some social media users sounded off with statements like this one: “Time to BOYCOTT ALL SUPERMARKETS selling HALAL!!!”

In recent years, retailers have had to balance public opposition to halal product offerings with what’s best for their bottom lines, Bloomberg Businessweek reported in 2010:

“While corporations have long catered to Muslim communities in Europe, businesses have only tentatively started to follow suit in the U.S. — and they are doing so at a time of intensified anti-Muslim feeling that companies worry could hurt them, too. American Muslims seeking more acknowledgment in the marketplace argue that businesses have more to gain than lose by reaching out to the community.

The worldwide market for Islamically permitted goods, called halal, has grown to more than half a billion dollars annually. Ritually slaughtered meat is a mainstay, but the halal industry is much broader, including foods and seasoning that omit alcohol, pork products and other forbidden ingredients, along with cosmetics, finance and clothing.”

Halal products can have added benefits for non-Muslim consumers, too. The Wal-Mart spokesperson told TruthorFiction.com that its halal chicken, for example, has appealed to many non-Muslim customers because it doesn’t include antibiotics.