KQF Gains BRC Accreditation

Below is a copy of our press release, issued in July 2013, shortly after we received formal confirmation that we had achieved a Grade A rating under the British Retail Consortium quality standard for food manufacturers.

PRESS RELEASE

HALAL FOOD PRODUCER ACHIEVES BRC ACCREDITATION

Following a visit by the British Retail Consortium on 9th July 2013, Halal food producer, KQF, has announced that it has passed the quality audit and is now able to claim full BRC accreditation for food production.

At the end of the inspection process, the BRC representative confirmed that KQF had complied with the relevant assessment criteria and that it would be recommended for a Grade ‘A’ rating.

“This is very good news for KQF,” said managing director Faruk Vali. “It will give new and existing customers the assurance that we are operating to the highest industry standards, and it shows that our production and record-keeping processes are now underscored by the same kind of third party accreditation as our ‘certified halal’ credentials.

“The BRC audit could not have come at a better time for us. We will shortly be launching our new look company branding, together with new products, packaging and a completely redeveloped website. We’re growing steadily, we’re recruiting new staff and we’re beginning to find our way into a number of exciting new export markets. In short, a lot is changing at KQF but this BRC accreditation will help to assure customers that, throughout it all, our commitment to quality halal food production will remain as strong and unswerving as ever.”

Based in Lancashire, KQF produces an extensive range of fresh, frozen and chilled meat products and ready meals. Its production processes are overseen by a full time on-site inspector from the Halal Monitoring Committee, whose role it is to ensure that all products are manufactured in strict accordance with Islamic principles and that the integrity of the food remains protected at every stage.

Halal Food Festival

The KQF team is still dealing with a raft of new contacts and enquiries that followed from our recent attendance at the Halal Food Festival in London.

The event was held between the 27th and 29th September at London Excel and was billed as “the world’s largest halal consumer food show.”

It was certainly very well attended, as was the KQF stand, where visitors were able to sample our foods, to view our new packaging and to learn more about our complete product range.

We spoke with a very large number of consumers and trade clients and received great feedback, with many people asking how they could get hold of our products in their regions. Rest assured, we’re doing all we can to reach discerning consumers and retailers throughout the UK and, to judge by the interest we received from specialist agents and distributors, there is no shortage of potential partners and associates who are willing and able to help us achieve that goal.

KQF exhibiting at Halal Food Festival 2013
KQF exhibiting at Halal Food Festival 2013

Choosing Halal Blog

In recent months, our managing director, Faruk Vali, has been doing his own research into the question of halal labelling and asking how confident consumers can be that the food they are eating is genuinely halal. He has published the results of his early investigations in a private blog called ChoosingHalal.org.

In it, he points to the work of halal certification bodies such as the HMC, HFA and EMDA and considers how clear it is to ordinary consumers what standards and criteria these and other agencies observe. In other words, in an industry in which some agencies permit stunning and others do not, and in which some will accept mechanical slaughter and others will not, what does any particular ‘certified halal’ stamp actually mean? For more details, please visit the blog and feel free to express your own views.

New KQF Packaging

We’ve been making some big changes at KQF, including the launch of a new style of packaging, which is being introduced across the UK. We have started the roll-out with some of our most popular burgers, sausages and kebabs, which are now available in attractive green cartons and branded under the name KQF Classic.

The KQF Classic range includes our best selling products and flavour blends, so don’t forget to look out for your old favourites in their new look cartons. At the same time, look out for our new pink cartons, too, because we’re also introducing our impressive new KQF Premium range, which includes a variety of larger burgers and sausages for special occasions.

Over time, the whole KQF range will be sold in the new style cartons and wrappers but it will be a gradual process so, for a while, you might see a mix of packaging on the shelves.

In any event, we hope you agree that the new packaging is more attractive, easier to read and that it will make a much better impression when it’s on view in shop freezers. If you have any comments about it, please do let us know.

Poster for News blog

New KQF Website

In September 2013, we launched our new-look KQF website, together with an online shop where customers can buy an array of our most popular products. Also now on sale are several newly developed burgers and sausages , which you can see in our Frozen/KQF Premium section.

The new site features a new bonus point system that enables clients to make savings with every online purchase. Every point is worth a penny and they can be saved up or spent whenever you shop on the site.

The new website also provides details of our halal certification and quality assurance systems, our contract manufacturing capabilities and much else besides.

We hope you enjoy using the new site but if you have any queries or suggestions, please let us know.

Halal Food Monitoring Standards

Early in 2013, the UK media issued a series of stories about the scandal of unregistered horsemeat finding its way into mainstream foodstuffs such as pies and lasagne. There were also concerns that some of this meat was also being introduced into foods that had the ‘halal’ label. This prompted KQF managing director Faruk Vali to issue the following press release, which pointed to the need for more stringent halal inspection systems.

HALAL FOOD PRODUCER PRESSES FOR HIGHER MONITORING STANDARDS

Halal food producer, KQF, has denounced as ‘shameful’ recent lapses in food monitoring processes that have allowed British manufacturers and retailers to sell horse, pork and other uncertified meats as part of food products labelled as ‘halal’.

Mr Faruk Vali, managing director of the Lancashire based business, believes the recent failures are symptomatic of a wider problem within the halal meat industry and that they point to a need for more robust safeguards at every stage of the production process.

“The integrity of food is of great religious importance to Muslims,” he explains. “To find that pork or horse meat has somehow found its way into supposedly halal foods is therefore something that goes far beyond a matter of simple distaste; it has an impact on one’s faith.

“The fact that some manufacturers have allowed such lapses to occur points to a failure in the monitoring and certification systems that they have adopted. In my view, the only wholly reliable system is one that entails having an on-site inspector from the halal certification body permanently stationed at the food processing plant, and another inspector at whichever slaughterhouse the meat originates. It is a matter of having eyes and ears on the ground – a constant, impartial and human-based monitoring system that protects the integrity of the food at every stage.

“Some halal monitoring bodies are quite stringent in their methods and they place inspectors (at the food producers’ expense) in the abattoirs and on the production lines so that there is never a time when operations are not being monitored. This, in our view, is the ideal, and it is similar in many respects to the Jewish system, whereby food cannot be regarded as kosher if it has been ‘obscured from the eye.’ In other words, food should be kept under strict observation to ensure that proper processes are being adhered to, and when the food is stored or transported, it should be sealed in locked and tamper-evident containers.”
For its part, KQF operates under the full-time supervision of on-site inspectors from the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) and it only works with slaughterhouses that have the same independent controls in place. This inevitably incurs higher costs than systems that rely only on periodic ‘spot-checks’ but the company believes it is the only way to prevent accidents or deliberate abuses from taking place.

“If food is constantly supervised and if it remains under lock and key when it is out of sight, then the opportunities for non-halal materials to enter the production process are virtually non-existent,” asserts Vali. “It entails a higher cost, some of which is passed on to the customer, but it raises an important question for the ordinary consumer: what price do you put on the integrity of your food?

“In times of economic hardship, price tends to become an increasingly important factor in the minds of customers and producers generally try to respond by minimising their costs wherever they can. In such a scenario, those with really reliable halal monitoring procedures in place can be faced with a strong temptation to reduce costs by opting for a cheaper inspection and certification system, but that presents a greater risk of failures and allows greater scope for abuse.

“In a sense, the demand for ever cheaper halal food products creates a tension between religious principle and the profit motive. However, just as Muslim consumers must ask themselves how seriously they value the integrity of their food, so producers need to ask to what extent – it at all – they will compromise their principles in the quest for profit. If true religious devotion is what is driving a halal food producer then there should never be a question of trying to bend the rules or circumvent processes. Muslims believe that nothing can be hidden from Almighty God, so in my view, observing the proper processes should be automatic and conducted without compromise.

“We believe that continuous on-site inspection provides the strongest safeguards against the kinds of failures the industry has seen in recent weeks but no system is entirely infallible and if more can be done to drive up standards and protect food integrity more forcefully, then KQF would certainly support any efforts in that direction.”