Supermarkets and high street restaurants are selling meat killed in accordance with Islamic law without telling customers, national newspapers have revealed.
Big chains, including Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer, are among those not labelling some of their halal meat, the Daily Mail and The Sun said.
Pizza Express was also named for its lack of transparency – as its menus fail to mention all its chicken is halal.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, told The Sun: “It’s a major public scandal that people are being duped into buying halal food. Supermarkets and restaurants should declare what they’re selling.”
The Muslim Council of Britain and the Chairman of a Jewish animal slaughter group also backed “comprehensive labelling”.
They said this “would offer all consumers genuine choice, whether they are motivated by animal welfare, religious observance, or even intolerance”.
The Sikh Council called for an “urgent change” on the issue, saying: “Consumers are being denied the right to make an informed choice”.
Restaurant chains ASK and the Slug and Lettuce also sell halal meat without mentioning it on their menus.
Of the restaurants and supermarkets reviewed, the newspapers mentioned only a handful of chains that do not sell halal meat, including Burger King and Toby Carvery.
Colin Hart told the Mail: “If Muslims want to eat halal, that’s absolutely fine. But it should be clearly labelled.
“The problem is that, as with so many other things, the sensitivity only runs one way.”
He also said: “There are welfare concerns as animals are not always stunned before halal slaughter.
“And there are concerns of people who don’t want to buy into Sharia Law on their dinner plate.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also backed “more information” being provided for customers on the issue in a radio interview.
But a spokesman for the Prime Minister said David Cameron “very much understands why some people have concerns about the information they are getting”.
Halal means ‘permitted’, or ‘lawful’, and involves Islamic words being spoken over the animal as it is killed.
There are around a dozen abattoirs where animals are not stunned before slaughter, while hundreds reportedly carry out stunning before killing.
Shechita is the Jewish system of killing animals for food which makes the meat suitable for Jewish people to eat. It does not involve stunning the animals before killing.