Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
When we speak of nature, we should recognize we are speaking about the Creator, ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala. It is ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, who has created the world and everything within it, it is HE who directs the winds and tides, and it is HE who brings the rain or withholds it. So as we speak of nature, we are really speaking of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala. We should be careful what we say and we should be careful not to abuse nature.
Just as ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, has created all things, HE has prepared a natural way for HIS creatures to follow. Man, the highest level of HIS creation, has sometimes felt above such constraints and has pursued his own whims and desires. This has resulted in some advances and some declines in the quality of life and prosperity. In a recent column in the Arab News, titled A Catastrophe, Abdullah Bajubeer, addressed one of these instances. In his column, Bajubeer states that, as a young student he learned there were two groups of mammals, carnivores and herbivores. The carnivores were meat eaters. Lions are an example of a carnivore. The herbivores were plant eaters. Cows, sheep and goats are examples of herbivores.
When the natural state is altered, changes occur which are not always for the best. As Bajubeer continues, man, lusting with greed, decided that mixing animal protein with cattle feed would speed up the development of the cattle and result in quicker maturity and greater weight gain. This was more profitable than waiting for the normal growth cycle. In addition, it eliminated some of the waste produced by the meat industry.
As we now know, the result of this is BSE, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease. This can be passed on to humans consuming the meat of affected cows and is called CJD, Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease.
A recent article by Clare Pedrick discussed some of the factors about this disease. In humans, the disease "eats away at the victims' brain, causing dementia, loss of limb control and finally death".
BSE was first discovered in Britain in 1986. Since that time, over 180,000 affected cattle have been discovered and over 90 people have died of the disease. BSE has since been discovered in most of the other nations of the European Union (EU).
The threat of BSE comes not only from infected cattle, but also from contaminated meat and bone meal (MBM), used as feed. The problem is not limited to the herds in the EU. Countries that have imported cattle or feed from the EU are also at risk. In fact, Britain continued to export feed after it was banned in the UK and some importing countries re-exported the feed to others. The article suggests that very few countries are safe from the problem, with the developing countries at greater risk because they do not have the systems and facilities to detect and deal with the problem. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) suggests that MBM should be banned. The only exceptions it places are on MBM from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, who have not imported MBM or cattle from the affected nations.
The threat may go beyond the beef itself, reaching ingredients such as gelatin, which is derived from the hooves and hides of cattle. As an ingredient, gelatin is found in many food products and pharmaceuticals.
Many countries have now banned imports of beef and feed from the affected nations and this is having a major impact on the economics of the affected beef industries.
Studies are underway to determine if BSE can be transmitted to humans through milk consumption.
In the US, there have yet to be any cases of BSE discovered and precautions are being taken in limiting or banning imports of beef and MBM from affected countries.
GOD has endowed man with the ability to think and reason. That is a gift, which must be used wisely and not abused for short term or personal gains. It is not always easy to remember this, especially in a fast paced society where we sometimes lose sight of our purpose. When the farmers of yesteryear raised their herds, they took care of each and every animal. They grazed their animals in the best pastures and they cared for each and every animal as they would their own children. Even at slaughter time, they slaughtered with gentleness and caring and did so with the conscious knowledge they were doing so to provide food for the community. In our day of mass production, providing food has become a business or a job, which we come to in the morning and return from in the evening, with everything in between being a blur. We need to reflect on what we do and why we are doing it, and recognize there is a higher authority WHO has established certain limits that we should not overstep.
The BBC reports Britain has imposed a ban on meat exports due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The virus has been detected in a number of cattle and pigs. While it poses no threat to humans, they can transport it to other animals. First BSE, now this! (Reported by the BBC, February 22, 2001.)
SAARC, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, has asked Pakistan to review its food safety laws and to identify any departures from Codex standards. Pakistan is to resolve any differences and agree on a common ground that would satisfy the SAARC member countries and respond to international requirements. (Reported by Dawn News Service, January 21, 2001.)
Muslim and Jewish air travelers in Australia are complaining about the difficulty in receiving their pro-ordered Halal and Kosher meals. It seems the airlines are not too sympathetic to their complaints. One traveler has raised a complaint to the Equal Opportunity Commission.
The FDA issued a public health advisory for consumers to stop using over-the-counter and prescription drugs containing phenylpropanolamine because it has been associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain). The substance is used as a decongestant in cold remedies and as an appetite suppressant in some weight loss products. Alternatives are available.
The UK government recently published an interim response to the BSE inquiry report. The BSE Inquiry Report can be found at: www.bseinquiry.gov.uk.html and the government interim response can be found at: www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/inquiry.html. Comments on the response should be submitted by 11 May 2001 to Mark Filley, BSE Inquiry Liaison Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1A Page Street, London, SW1P 4PQ firstname.lastname@example.org. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com on February 9, 2001)
Dale Moore has been appointed Chief of Staff at the USDA. Sharon Thompson, D.V. M., has been appointed Department of Health and Human Services liaison to the Joint Institute for Food Safety Research. Of course, Ann M. Veneman has been confirmed as Secretary of the USDA. Good luck to all. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com on February 19, 2001)
The National Institutes of Health have awarded Cornell University a four-year, $1.2 million grant to investigate how Listeria monocytogenes evolve and travel in food, humans, animals, water and soil. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com on February 14, 2001)
With the Hajj season upon us, IFANCA extends greetings to all Muslims performing the Hajj, the families they left behind and to the entire Muslim Ummah. May ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, accept your efforts and deeds and return you free of sin, as the day you were born.
We are getting closer to Halal Food Conference 2001, sponsored by IFANCA and scheduled for May 13-15, 2001, in Paris, France on. Check out the conference program and register early to receive a discount and assure a seat at the conference.
We wish all our brothers and sisters who were privileged with offering Hajj acceptance of their efforts and forgiveness and we wish everyone a peaceful, blessed and joyous Eid-ul-Adha. We give thanks to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, for HIS bounty and blessings and we vow to work hard to obey and please HIM.
Another recipe from the IFANCA book, Islamic Dietary Laws and Practices. The recipe is for:
Cabbage Rolls (Stuffed Cabbage)
8 cabbage leaves 2 cups boiling water 1 lb. chili ground beef 1 cup rice 1 cup water
‡ tsp. cinnamon º cup tomato paste 4 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. salt º tsp. pepper
Cut stems from cabbage and boil in 2 cups water until wilted, and then cool. Combine beef, rice, salt pepper, cinnamon and 4 tablespoons of tomato paste. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons into each cabbage leaf and roll tightly. Stack into a flat plan. Combine lemon juice, salt, remaining tomato paste and 1 cup water. Cover pan and simmer on top of range for 30 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 8.