Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Domino's Pizza Opens First Halal-only Store - But Not Without Opposition - Must be a slow news day at The Daily Telegraph

A Domino's Pizza outlet has infuriated locals after becoming the first in the country to take pork off the menu and offer only halal food.

The takeaway has told customers in the mixed-race area of Hall Green, Birmingham, that if they want ham or pork on their pizza they will have to go elsewhere.

Chris Yates, 29, a hospital worker living in Moseley, Birmingham, said he was told he couldn't have a 'Meteor' pizza, topped with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, ground beef and smoky bacon, when he called up at the weekend.

He said: "It's a disgrace, I can appreciate them having it as an option but to have it completely halal is just not on," he fumed.

"I'm all for racial and religious tolerance but if anything this is intolerant to my beliefs and discriminatory against me.

"Instead I had to travel two miles out of my way to another branch – I was appalled. "Hall Green is a mixed race area and should therefore cater to its multicultural make-up.

"In a society that promotes racial and religious integration, this sort of things only isolates people."

While Peter Merholz, 38, from Hall Green, added: "This is a global pizza chain that is isolating western values and choice. It's alienating people and that's just not on.

"I'd been coming here for ages but now I'll go elsewhere because I can't get a pepperoni pizza, which is what I always have."

Halal items on the menu include halal spicy beef sausage, roast and tandoori chicken, halal pepperoni and halal cured turkey – all produced and stored within the Halal Food Authorities guidelines.

The change intends to appeal to the area's Muslim customers.

A worker at the store said: "The store wasn't doing very well so we had to do something – we needed people who weren't getting halal options to come to us.

"It's been like this for four weeks and business has picked up a little."

A spokesman for Dominos, who recently announced their profits were up 33 per cent, said: "In that particular area of Birmingham there are a large number of Muslims so there is naturally more of a demand for halal based products.

"We appreciate we cannot please everybody but there are alternatives, such as turkey ham, and we have thought long and hard about this decision and we are sure it is the right one."

For meat to be deemed Halal, it must meet certain conditions. These include that the animal should be killed by having its throat cut by a Muslim and any flowing blood of the carcase should be completely drained.

Masood Khawaja, President of the Halal Food Authority, said: "It's good news for Muslims, with changing pallets, who want a bit of variety in their diet. This is only the beginning and we are delighted that Domino's has participating in this trend."

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