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Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

UAE: Dunkin’ opens doors at Mazyad Mall

70th outlet opens to celebrate the brands 70-year anniversary

IMO News Service

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Shoppers at Mazyad Mall Abu Dhabi can satisfy their coffee and sweets cravings at   the newly opened Dunkin’ located on the ground floor of the Mall serving handcrafted coffee, and iced beverages, over 50 varieties of donuts, and an all-day breakfast that consists of bagels, croissants, egg sandwiches, muffins and other baked goods - their menu has something for every kind of taste bud. 
Sineesh Vaikkattil, Mazyad Mall Manager said, “We are delighted that Dunkin’ opened their 70th UAE outlet at Mazyad Mall for their 70-year anniversary. In addition to their crafted coffee, they also produce over 30M handmade donuts per year locally to ensure every donut is fresh and full of flavour and we hope Dunkin’ Donuts becomes a regular meeting spot for our shoppers.”

Having established itself as a favorite among the discerning clientele of Abu Dhabi, Dunkin’ is known to go above and beyond to make sure that every cup of coffee they serve is as good as the last one.

Spending time with friends and family in UAE often involves a dose of ‘Qahwa’ and favourite among coffee lovers is the freshly brewed hand-crafted coffee made from high-quality, 100% Arabica beans at Dunkin’. They have their own strict coffee specifications, which are recognized by the industry as a superior grade of coffee.

Dunkin’s freshly ground and brewed coffee comes in a variety of delicious flavors, including Mocha, Caramel, French Vanilla, and Hazelnut.

About Mazyad Mall

Mazyad Mall is a full-fledged mall in the “New Downtown” of Abu Dhabi close to Abu Dhabi City, Al Raha Development, Abu Dhabi Airport and Mohammed Bin Zayed City offering patrons a wide range of retail options from fashion, sporting goods, toys, cosmetics, jewellery, books, home furnishing, hypermarket and electronics.

With exquisite open spaces and natural light, Mazyad Mall is a convenient place to shop, dine and socialise in the warm ambience of the mall’s distinctive architecture and design that features a unique spacious environment.

JSC Kazan Meat Factory becomes Official Sponsor of the longest Halal Kebab

IMO News Service

JSC Kazan Meat Factory has become the Official Sponsor of "The Longest Halal Kebab" show which will take place on October 5, 2013 during the International Trade Fair EURO-ASIA EXPO 2013. The expo will be held from October 3-6, 2013.

JSC Kazan Meat Factory is one of the largest enterprises of the meat industry in the Republic of Tatarstan. The company is a major supplier of meat, meat products and canned meat for the people of Kazan city and the surrounding districts of Tatarstan.

JSC Kazan Meat Factory produces meat products, convenience foods, canned stewed in the tradition of Islamic Sharia law, the so-called Halal products. Today the assortment of Halal meat products is more than 60. The process of production is controlled by Halal Standardization Committee.

The Organizing Committee of EURO-ASIA EXPO 2013 is going to set a world record with the longest Halal kebab of 180 m to be cooked in Kazanskaya Yarmarka Expo Centre. The new record is going to be registered in The Russian Book of Records and Guinness World Records.

UK's first ever 3-day Halal Food Festival to be held in London from Sept 27

IMO News Service

London: UK’s first and world’s largest Halal Food Festival will be held at London Excel from 27th to 29th September 2013. The three-day consumer food show is dedicated to foodies, who eat halal or haloodies, as they have been coined by the festival founder.

Aiming to celebrate the range and diversity of halal foods from around the world the ticketed event will offer visitors a never seen before glimpse into the very best that halal has to offer.

Visitors can look forward to over 100 exhibitors from across the globe showcasing the most innovative and delicious halal food and drink products, restaurants and street food stalls as well as a cooking school and live demonstration kitchen featuring top chefs such as Shelina Permalloo (winner of Masterchef UK 2012), Cyrus Todiwala OBE (Patron Chef of Cafe Spice Namaste) and Jean Christopher Novelli (5 out of 5 AA rosette and Michelin award winning chef) to name a few.

Guests can tuck in to daring and innovative dishes such as green spiced chicken fenugreek or Bengali mutton by Joho Soho, meaning 'whatever happens'. The new Indian street food stall is being launched at the Halal Food Festival by acclaimed chef Vivek Singh (Executive Chef at Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Soho and Cinnamon Club) and Abdul Yaseen (Head Chef at Cinnamon Kitchen). Alternatively they can try their taste buds on sweeter options such as fine Palestinian mejdool dates, stuffed with organic fairtrade nuts and topped with rosebuds by the Datelatiers. The thirsty will find a range of halal drinks on offer including an area dedicated to the making of mocktails in which guests can throw together exotic ingredients, fruit juices and flavours to create their own expertly made drink under the guidance of a professional mixologist and a range of stands for little haloodies to enjoy too.

Accompanying these gustatory pleasures will be live music on the Human Appeal stage with performances including that of one of the biggest stars of nasheed and Islamic music, Mesut Kurtis. His latest album 'Beloved' has been a ground-breaking phenomenon in this genre of music across the Muslim world.

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permissible. It not only covers food and drink but also all matters of daily life. Followers of Islam (Muslims) must follow a dietary requirement that does not permit pork or pork products, alcohol and only allows meat slaughtered in accordance to strict guidelines in the Qur'an. Halal food is not a cuisine or a style of cooking in its own right. Therefore any cuisine or style can become halal provided it is cooked using halal ingredients and prepared in a halal manner.

With a growing UK Muslim population currently standing at 2.7million (Census 2011) with a £20.5 billion a year spending power (Mintel 2002) and expected to rise to 5.5million people by 2030 (Pew Report, The Future of the Global Muslim Population 2011) access to delicious halal food in the UK is becoming increasingly important. It is improving the range, availability and quality of halal foods and restaurants that drives the Halal Food Festival’s founder Imran Kausar.

Imran Kausar says, “The growing British Muslim middle-classes have greater needs and demands from food producers, retailers and restaurateurs and command significant spending power. The Halal Food Festival will bring together consumers and businesses in a festival format that can be used to showcase new brands and to raise the range and quality of halal offerings to the consumer.”

Noman Khawaja, Events Director adds “The Halal Food Festival sets a new standard in food shows aimed at Muslims in the UK. The range of chefs, features, exhibitors and production quality will leave haloodies eager for the show each year.”

Religions asking if test-tube burgers allow them to keep the faith

When the world's first test-tube beef burger was cooked and eaten this week, food critics all asked about its taste. For many Jews, Muslims and Hindus, the first question was whether their faith allowed them to try it. Religious websites were abuzz with questions and opinions this week after biologist Mark Post of Maastricht University presented his innovation to the media in London on Monday.

"Is the lab-created burger kosher?" the Hasidic Jewish movement Chabad Lubavitch asked on its website. Dietary laws exist in many religions, but came about so long ago that not even their prophets could have imagined a ready-to-fry beef patty grown in-vitro from the stem cells of a cow. If religious authorities interpret their ancient texts in a way that allows them to give this new food their blessing, now-banned kosher cheeseburgers and Hindu hamburgers, as well as an undisputed method of producing halal meat, could be possible.

Chabad's Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin wrote the Talmud tells of "miraculous meat" that fell from heaven or was conjured up by rabbis studying a mystic text. Since it was automatically kosher because it wasn't from a real animal, this could be a model for test-tube meat. But he said if the stem cells are real meat, they have to come from a cow slaughtered according to kosher law, which says the animal's throat must be slit while it is still conscious.

Expert rabbis need to study this more carefully "when the issue becomes more practical and petri-dish burgers become and affordable option," Shurpin concluded. The kosher ban on mixing meat and dairy products presents another hurdle for observant Jews considering a cheeseburger. Rabbi Menachem Genack of the Orthodox Union in New York told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that test-tube beef could be considered "parve" (neither meat nor dairy) under certain conditions and so kosher cheeseburgers could be allowed.

Islam's halal laws require ritual slaughter similar to kosher butchering, but with fewer restrictions. "There does not appear to be any objection to eating this type of cultured meat," the Islamic Institute of Orange County in California responded to a questioner on its website. Animal rights activists see the Muslim and Jewish slaughter methods as unnecessary cruelty and calls to ban this kind of butchering have grown in Europe in recent years as halal meat has become increasingly available in shops and restaurants.

Gulf News in Dubai quoted Abdul Qahir Qamar of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, as saying in-vitro meat "will not be considered meat from live animals, but will be cultured meat." As long as the cells used are not from pigs, dogs or other animals banned under the halal laws, he said, the meat would be vegetative and "similar to yogurt and fermented pickles." Several Muslim websites left fresh questions about this new meat unanswered, probably because Muslims were more concerned this week with celebrating the end of the fasting month Ramadan.

The prospect of meatless beef has also prompted debate in India, where the Hindu majority shuns steaks and burgers because it considers the cow sacred. "We will not accept it being traded in a marketplace in any form or being used for a commercial purpose," Chandra Kaushik, president of the Hindu nationalist group Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, told the India Real Time blog. Religious websites have been debating the test-tube meat issue for some time now, especially since news about biologist Post's project began circulating about four years ago.

Many Hindus and Sikhs are vegetarians, so several of them posted comments saying they probably wouldn't like the taste of artificial meat even if it was declared permissable. "Who wants to eat a carcass anyways, lab grown or not?" one reader asked on the Hindu Dharma Forums website.

(Courtesy: DNA)

Aussie Muslims Denounce Anti-Halal Stickers

Muslims accused rightist groups of spreading baseless misconceptions about a peaceful Muslim community.

Brisbane: A new sticker campaign linking halal food to terrorism has angered Australian Muslims, accusing rightist groups of spreading baseless misconceptions about a peaceful Muslim community.

"We are speechless, what do we say about this," Islamic Council of Queensland president Mohammed Yusuf told 7News on Wednesday, July 24.

“There is so much misconception about Halal... it is a simple question of us meeting our religious rights, just like the Jewish community.”

Concept of Halal Meat

The Muslim uproar has been sparked by the discovery of a jar of coffee with its seal broken at a Woolworths supermarket at Underwood, south of Brisbane, earlier this month.

The jar had a sticker saying ‘‘Beware! Halal food funds terrorists’’.

After search, the stickers were found to be sold by Restore Australia, Restore Australia whose CEO is Mike Holt, the One Nation Party’s candidate for the federal seat of Fairfax.

Holt, who co-founded the organization, says on the company website that Restore Australia is a non-political organization wanting to restore power to the people.

He added that he stood by his website and that Muslims were “forcing a Halal tax on us” through certification which raised money for terrorism.

“The Australian people should be able to vote in a referendum on whether we want to pay a Halal tax or not,” according to the Restore Australia website.

“Plaster the anti-Halal stickers everywhere and help educate Aussies about the creeping attack on our food supply.”

The police investigation ended up in the arrest of a 27-year-old Kingston woman who will front the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Friday charged with one count of product contamination.

After her arrest, Restore Australia posted an appeal on Facebook asking for the name of lawyers who might help her for free.

"Nestle has decided to fight back against our anti-halal sticker campaign by having a 19-year-old girl in Brisbane arrested for 'product tampering'. Alleging that she put an anti-Halal sticker on one of their jars of coffee and then opened it," Restore Australia said.

"Nestle has just... shot themselves in the foot. Instead of doing the right thing and stop selling us out to Islam, they have decided to pick on a young woman and take her to court."

Hate Mongering

Rejecting claims that sales from Halal food funded terrorism as baseless, the Islamic Council of Queensland announced they will look to see what action they will take.

"We are doing our best to make people understand this process... however people are trying to get political mileage out of this and are trying to inflame the issue at election time," Yusuf said.

"(I) absolutely condemn it in the sense it is highly inappropriate to make these sort of statements when they are not true... the money raised from Halal is funding terrorism is a totally baseless statement," he added.

The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.

Muslims do not eat pork and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.

Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.

Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.

Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.


Ramadan inspired dates index

By Rushdi Siddiqui

I have been fortunate enough to be involved in many interesting conversations over the years from the potentially practical (Islamic stock exchange, Islamic Libor, convergence between Islamic finance and halal industry), to potentially flawed (Islamic inflation, Islamic unemployment, consumer price index, Islamic car, Islamic washing machine), and the potentially feasible (Islamic currency, dinar).

Big Mac index

Today, I would like to speak about the theory of purchasing power, but present it as something relatively simple and relevant that not only attempts to capture the purchasing power of (Muslim country) consumers, but also with something that is closely linked to historical Arabia and referenced in the Holy Quran.

A purchasing power theory index has been around since 1986, and it’s linked to one of the most recognised global brands around the world. McDonald’s, the golden arches company, has made the ‘Big Mac’ into a trademarked asset class, much like ‘Xerox’ equated to photo-copying. Its signature product, Big Mac, is known worldwide and is often used as a symbol of American capitalism.

Why doesn’t the Muslim world, consisting of 57 countries and nearly 25 per cent of the world’s population, have something comparable? Are brands like Mecca Cola fit for purpose or is it pushing religion and confining to only Muslims?

In 1986, The Economist published the oversimplified burgernomics, as a tongue-in-cheek example of Big Mac PPP. It examines the purchasing power parity between nations, using the cost of a Big Mac as a benchmark. Obviously, this is the language utilised by a layman and not an economist, but it conveys the essence of the index intent.

Put differently, the Big Mac index is about the amount of time that an average worker in a given country needs to earn to purchase a Big Mac. But, the Big Mac may not be applicable to many Muslims, be it costs, halal certification, taste, or availability.


The million dollar question has two parts: 1. Does the Muslim world need to develop a halal Big Mac equivalent index? 2. If so, what type of ‘food’ could command the same brand recall as the Big Mac amongst Muslims?

Yes, there is a desire to have a comparable (food) index that relates ‘more’ to the Muslims due to its availability, acceptability, historical and religious significance. More importantly, it neither requires detailed explanation nor justification of the chosen ‘food’.

In going through the process of selecting the right food for the proposed index, obviously, it is worth looking at the various options considered to rival the Big Mac.

A Rojak or oxtail soup index lacks the universality, as such cuisine may not be available or in demand outside of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Biryani is probably a better bet than Rojak or oxtail at a global level, but should it be chicken, lamb, beef, or prawns based?

Honourable mention needs to be made for Bukhara rice, shawarmas, baklava, curry, bread and lentils as index barometers, but somehow they do not quite encapsulate the notion of halal Kebabnomics.

Dates index

Hence, the closest Big Mac match for Muslims could be the date. Obviously, there will be disagreements on comparing dates (natural food) to processed food (Big Mac) and the relevance of dates outside of the holy month of Ramadan.

Dates are mentioned in the Holy Quran as most beneficial for health, encouraged to be consumed at Iftar (breaking of fast) during Ramadan, used as an ingredient in a variety of foods, and are subject of economic scientific discussions, as its health components strike discourses at conferences and festivals.

It is in the holy month of Ramadan that the sale of dates reaches its peak as Muslims worldwide abide by the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to break fast with dates or water — as he said, this is undoubtedly the best thing for the health of our bodies. The variants of date products include pickled dates, date ice cream, date cola, etc, modelled into different delicacies. The utilisation of dates today has grown by leaps and bounds as it was once a upon a time used as a provision to nourish prophets and messengers in their long missions and nomadic lifestyle.

The proposed dates index may be stated as: how much time is required for a person to work to purchase five kilogrammes of Madinah dates. In knowing fellow Muslims, there may be differences of opinion of the appropriate dates, but we need to have an indicator, which we can call our own.

The dates index is more relevant than a Big Mac as it rhymes with all Muslims regardless of their race/ethnicity, geographical and/or cultural differences.

[The writer is co-founder and MD of Azka Capital, private equity advisory firm focused on halal industry initiatives, and he is an advisor to Thomson Reuters on Islamic finance and halal industry.]

(Courtesy: Khaleej Times)

Jewish groups assail Polish ban on kosher slaughter

'For a country still struggling to come to terms with its past treatment of Jews, it is outrageous to strike such a blow to the future of Jews in Poland,' Anti-Defamation League says.

Jewish groups voiced outrage on Friday after Poland's parliament rejected a government-backed bill that would have allowed slaughterhouses to produce kosher meat, angering Jewish groups who said the decision violated their religious rights.

Lawmakers who opposed the bill said they did so because kosher slaughter is cruel to livestock. Jewish groups said prejudice about their faith – a sensitive subject in a country where occupying Nazis killed millions of Jews – had played a part.

"Populism, superstition and political interests won out," said Piotr Kadlcik, who heads the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland. "It looks like we've made a full circle and are heading back to what happened in Poland and Germany in the 1930s."

Usually, slaughterhouses stun livestock before killing them, while kosher rites demand an animal is killed by slitting its throat while it is alive and allowing it to bleed to death. The halal meat consumed by observant Muslims is killed in a similar way.
The government had hoped the proposed law would allow Polish abattoirs to resume production of kosher meat, which was forced to stop last year by the constitutional court.

Some Jewish community leaders said the tone of the debate around the issue echoed the kind of anti-Semitic rhetoric seen in Europe before World War Two.

Poland was home to Europe's largest Jewish community before the outbreak of war in 1939, but the Holocaust all but wiped it out. Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz and Treblinka were located on Polish soil.

"The majority of Polish MPs gave the Polish Jewish community three choices: don’t practice your religion, don’t eat meat, or don’t live among us," said Abraham H. Foxman, director of the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League.

"For a country still struggling to come to terms with its past treatment of Jews, it is outrageous to strike such a blow to the future of Jews in Poland.

"This vote was a clear violation of religious freedom, supported by the ignorance of some and the bigotry of others," Foxman added in his statement. "The debate demonstrated acceptance of the false premise that kosher slaughter, which involves a single cut with a razor-sharp knife to minimize pain, is less humane than slaughter with pre-stunning by electrocution, gassing or a bolt shot to the animal's forehead."

Activists have challenged religious slaughter customs in France and the Netherlands, mostly concentrating on halal slaughter by Muslims.

Industry groups in Poland have said banning halal and kosher meat production would stop firms from exporting to markets in Israel and the Middle East.

Opponents of the practice said that was no justification. "Even if we were talking about significant losses – and we're not – there is no permission for animal cruelty in the name of money," said Andrzej Rozenek, a leader of the leftist Palikot Movement.

The bill's defeat is a setback for Prime Minister Donald Tusk after 38 deputies from his own Civic Platform (PO) joined the opposition to defeat it.

"We urge Poland's legislative and judicial authorities to move expeditiously to recognize by law the Jewish community's right to prepare kosher meat according to Jewish tradition," David Harris, head of the American Jewish Committee, said in a statement.
"It would be beyond shocking if a democratic Poland prevented kosher slaughter, which is so integral to Jewish life in the country," Harris added.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group, also voiced solidarity with Poland's Jewish community, and called on the government in the country to reaffirm the 1997 law "that protected schechita (Jewish ritual slaughter)."

The organization experssed “deep chagrin and dismay at the vote of the Sejm, the Polish Parliament, which upheld the ban on Jewish ritual slaughter, necessary for those who observe kosher dietary laws as well as the needs of the Muslim faith …The placing of restrictions and requirements that violate religious law denies the Jewish community its fundamental necessities."

(Courtesy: Haaretz)

Dr V Kurien Academic Centre of MIDFT inaugurated at Mehsana

By Joseph Anthony Purathur

There could not have been a more suitable person than Ms Nirmala Kurien, to inaugurate the ‘Dr V Kurien Academic Centre’ of Mansinhbhai Institute of Dairy & Food Technology (MIDFT), managed by DURDA, at Dudhsagar Dairy, Mehsana, on Sunday, 30th June, 2013. Two years ago, Dudhsagar Dairy had become the first Cooperative Dairy in the country to set up a Dairy & Food Technology Institute (MIDFT) without any outside grant or assistance. The Institute offers a 4-year B.Tech (Dairy Technology) programme. It is affiliated to Kamdhenu University, Gandhinagar. The Academic Centre has been set up for the benefit of the students and faculty of MIDFT.

Dr Kurien was an institution builder of international standards. One of his creations is the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). It was set up in 1979 with a view to make available professional managers committed to rural development, and to meet the managerial requirements of dairy cooperatives in particular. Thanks to IRMA, the dairy cooperatives have no difficulty in finding professionally trained and committed managers for its ever expanding operations.

With the setting up of MIDFT, it will now become the prime source for trained Dairy Technologists for the dairy industry which is playing a vital national role in providing large scale rural employment, empowerment of small and marginal farmers and landless labourers engaged in cooperative dairying, besides making available to India’s large population high quality milk and milk products at reasonable prices, round the clock. “The inaugural function was presided over by Dudhsagar Dairy & GCMMF Chairman, Shri Vipul Chaudhary. Shri R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF was the Guest of Honour.”

In her speech, Ms Nirmala Kurien expressed her great sense of satisfaction and joy to see that the Academic Centre of MIDFT is named after her father, fondly called the Milkman of India. She thanked the Chairman and Board of Mehsana Union, MIDFT, and the cooperative dairy farmers of Mehsana Union for their kind gesture, and for inviting her to inaugurate the Centre.

Vipul Chaudhary recalled the great contributions that Dr Kurien had made for India’s dairy industry and to the development of Mehsana Union in particular. Even after stepping down from the Chairmanship of GCMMF in 2006, Dr Kurien had consented to be an Honorary Adviser to Mehsana Union which showed his love for the dairy farmers of Mehsana. Mr. Chaudhary said that he derives huge motivation and inspiration from the lifelong work of Dr Kurien which was hundred per cent committed to the welfare of cooperative dairy farmers.

Mr. Sodhi thanked the Chairman and Board of Directors of Mehsana Union and the Management of MIDFT for inviting him to be the Guest of Honour at a function that was giving respect and honour to the founder-chairman of GCMMF. He said that he was privileged to study in IRMA and work in GCMMF, both of which were the brain child of Dr Kurien.

Mr. PR Patel, Executive Director, In-charge of MIDFT recalled his association with Dr Kurien over a period of 20 years. He particularly mentioned about an incident when Mr Patel was with Sumul Dairy. In response to a veiled complaint that Dr Kurien was not coming for the Programming Committee meetings of GCMMF very often, he replied “Do you want me to take care of the Union Chairmen of GCMMF, or the Managing Directors also”? Dr Kurien was clear in his mind what his primary responsibilities were. He was a thorough professional, a man of highest integrity.

The function was attended by thousands of cooperative dairy farmers who had assembled at the dairy for their Annual General Meeting, besides the invited guests, media personnel and dairy employees. The dairy farmers were so happy that the Academic Centre has been named after the legendary Dr V Kurien who had done so much for the dairy development in Mehsana, the fruits of which the farmers are enjoying now. The function was a grand success.

For more information you may visit:

[Joseph Anthony Purathur can be contacted at]

Pitfalls and Perils of Politicized Food Insecurity

With food and hunger being basic human issues, there is an urgent need to extensively work at grass-root levels like neighborhood and community-based support projects that would help in achieving a hunger free and sustainable world in a short period of time, says QUREISH RAGHIB

Disturbingly provocative as it may sound, it is amazing how national and international institutes and governments make use of human hunger for its own survival.

Approximately 870 million people, or one in eight of the people in the world are challenged by hunger, of which 852 million people are from the under-developed countries. This sums up to16 % of its population according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) recently released statistic reports. It deliberately declares 15 million people to be under nourished in developed counties which factually, considering the global financial recession, seem far too minimal.

Nevertheless, policy makers, captains of industry and professionals from diverse fields from world over have on numerous occasions gathered and pledged to eradicate the rising food insecurity and hunger menace prevailing in human societies.

On the backdrop of the recently concluded 38th FAO Conference held in Rome, the first of the eight UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG 1) - to halve the proportion of hungry population and the more audacious goal of the World Food Summit’s (WFS) to reduce under nourished people by half before 2015 has since long been predicted by experts to be too challenging.

At the well attended FAO Conference, the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), an NGO diligently working for the social uplift of extremely poor women in India shared the award presented at the Conference with none other than the European Commission (EC) for its contribution of 1 billion Euros in response to the food price crisis in 2008-11. Ironically, it is a known fact that this EU initiative was but a mere desperate attempt to minimize the EU’s increasing unpopularity in Europe as some of its members were facing serious challenges from its own people for introducing disastrous economic policies.

The impact of such misadventures has greatly diminished the birth-right of provision of food of any human-being living in a developed or under-developed nation.

Sufficient natural resources have always been there for human consumption. Not giving access to the available resources or services required by people to produce, purchase or otherwise procure enough nutritious food has thus given way to global food insecurity. Globally, one-third of food production is lost annually due to negligent authorities. India alone loses some 21 million tonnes of wheat per year even while it has 200 million food-insecure people in the nation. Evidently, it is the serious apathy in governance that tends to be the spoil-spot between food and consumers that has given rise to the prevailing crisis.

An interesting observation is, unlike its counterparts in the West and in Africa, leaders and governments in South Asia sans the high population have been fortunate to have the advantage of a strong food culture in the region. The comparatively high level of religious and social conscience to share and distribute food amongst fellow-beings is pivotal in reducing the dilemma of insufficient food availability in most Asian countries thus, minimizing the disastrous effects of food polity and policy blunders to great extent.

In India, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UAP) government desperately endeavors to pass the five-year delayed Food Security Bill/Ordinance in Parliament that was factually to be introduced within its first 100 days in power.

Not surprising, the UPA government has kept this important Bill in reserve to deliberately use it as a stick and carrot poly to arrest the slither of its popularity as the next General Elections approaches nearer.

Nonetheless, with food and hunger being basic human issues, there is an urgent need to extensively work at grass-root levels like neighborhood and communitybased support projects that would help in achieving a hunger free and sustainable world in a short period of time.

An excellent case study is the community-centered hunger elimination and food security initiative of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims largely based in South Asia.

Taking into consideration the community members’ physical wellbeing, its spiritual leader, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin directed to organize a worldwide campaign to collectively provide healthy meals prepared in community kitchens.

The community’s Faizul Mawaid il-Burhaniyah (FMB) initiative ensures holistic community health as it daily distributes highly nutritious, hygienic food to over 100,000 Dawoodi Bohra families. Under the supervision of the spiritual leader’s heir apparent Maulaya Mufaddal Saifuddin, this collective beneficence reaches out to over 80% of the families across 700 villages, towns and cities in some forty nations resulting in a high percentage fall in malnourishment within the community.

Apparently, the need of the hour is to recognize and utilize one’s own available reserves and resources rather than wait for handouts from governments and institutes – including legal entitlement of food in form of cobwebbed Acts and enforcement of related laws endorsed only after many more human lives are lost by hunger death.

However, it also needs to be understood that on the one hand, not all sections of society have the capacity or capability to be self-sustained in procuring long term balanced food diet. On the other hand, a good number of community groups depending on others are aware or unaware to have the necessary technical and tactical equilibrium in place for collective self-help. The tribal communities in the mountainous Har’az region in Yemen have seen plentiful agriculture outputs through sustainable practices after decades of misuse of natural resources. The community mobilized initiative to up-root hundreds of thousands of noxious Catha edulis (qa’t) trees and replace it with productive vegetation has given way to a phenomenal growth in food security in this highly fertile western highlands of Yemen. Visited by international institutes for research, Ralegan Siddhi a tiny village once affected by drought and poverty in the interiors of western India today has a grain bank, milk bank and year-round uninterrupted water supply subsequent to the local community’s efforts in utilizing its mere resources collectively and constructively. Working affectively on such lines would considerably arrest the gross food insecurity at both micro and macro levels.

[Qureish Raghib is a Mumbai based commentator on current socio-political affairs in South Asia. He can be contacted at or on his Mobile # 09819094023]

Muslims advised to avoid a life of extravagance

By Matovu Abdallah Twaha

Dubai: Muslims have been advised against change in their lifestyle, particularly on use of water and food.

The warning during the Friday sermon comes two days after marking the World Environment Day (June 5), which was marked under the theme “Think. Eat. Save”, and barely 30 days to the beginning of fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The Muslim clerics told their followers that life should be lived by following a middle course in everything. “What goes beyond is excess and Allah loves not extravagance.”

An Imam at Al Majaz mosque narrated that the message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed by one of his disciples, Saad, when he was performing ablutions, said, “What is this extravagance?” Saad said, “Can there be any extravagance in ablutions?” the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Yes, even if you are on the banks of a flowing river.”

Regarding food and other lifestyle, the Imam said that the extravagance is “seen while buying things he has no need of and increase in the consumption of food, more than he needs. Thus he hurts himself and disregards our Prophet’s (PBUH) instructions.”

While marking the World Environment Day, the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (EAD) organised a number of activities to increase the community’s awareness on the environmental impact of the food choices and encourage public to make wise decisions while buying their groceries and cooking their meals in order to waste as little food as possible.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year.

Quoting a 2011 report by the Centre of Waste Management - Abu Dhabi (CWM), the Director of Environmental Outreach Division, EAD, Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, said, “Around 39 per cent of the Emirate’s municipal solid waste is organic material.”

(Courtesy: The Gulf Today)