From the Publisher’s Desk
Muhammad Munir Chaudry
Concerned about halal? Food Insecurity is your business. The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to food for an active healthy life. Globally, in third world and first world nations, halal consumers constitute one of the largest cohorts of people who are food insecure. Governments, industry, activists, and media all play an important role in meeting the basic needs of the halal consumers. Food insecurity does not only mean a shortage or contamination of food, it also includes access to the right type of food.
Globally, the underlying causes of food insecurity are obvious. Drought and conflict are the main factors that have exacerbated the problem of food production, distribution, and access. From sub-Saharan Africa to Syria, drought and war have directly impacted the availability of food to large portions of the Muslim population. As relief reaches these areas, IFANCA is working with leaders in the industry to address this concern. Industry is an important partner and has stepped up to meet the global need. As citizens, Muslims through their sadaqah and zakat are among the most generous, acting individually or through international relief groups. From the wealthiest to the financially challenged, almost all Muslims take part in voluntary giving. Many of us support aid and relief organizations, yet there is a gap in awareness and availability of halal food to places receiving aid. We work with international organizations to assure that halal is recognized as an important factor in delivering acceptable sustenance to places in need.
In the US, consumers face food insecurity as well in many spaces. Hospitals, universities, and prisons are some of these spaces. A qualitative study has shown that many halal consumers have macronutrient deprivation often leading to impairment in leading a healthy active life. Students following strict halal standards on campus have reported physical and mental impairment. Recent MSA activism has built awareness around the needs of Muslim students with campus dining services and has sent the message up the foodservice supply chain, slowly transforming the way industry adeptly meets the needs of halal consumers. IFANCA has been an indispensable partner in this journey. With students leading the effort, we are seeing a growth in availability of halal options in foodservice. Consumers, activists, and industry are impacting the availability of halal options for generations to come.
Food is a basic need. Following halal is an obligation for all Muslims. Consumers, activists, and industry all play a critical role in addressing food insecurity.
Muhammad Munir Chaudry, President