Thursday, May 19, 2022

Impact of the BC Flood: Halal meat is expensive and hard to find in Fort McMurray CBC News

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In Fort McMurray, obtaining halal meat is becoming more expensive and difficult as transportation costs increase and the supply of specially prepared meat decreases.

When Muhammad Hayder opened an honest butcher shop in the northern Alberta community in November, he planned to bring in various pieces of halal meat from farms in British Columbia.

But the big flood that month meant he had to find new supplies from Alberta farmers, and there were almost none.

Fresh chicken is especially rare, he said.

“If I order 20 boxes, we get five or six,” said Choder Meat House owner Hayder. “They can’t meet the demand in a minute.”

Bringing meat to the store is expensive, he says. This cost passes to customers in the form of higher prices, which means they turn away.

In his first month, he earned $ 33,000, not $ 40,000 to $ 50,000.

“If I have a product, I can be a target,” Hayder said.

Haider began delivering to customers who couldn’t make it to the store in order to keep their business afloat.

“We’re also doing home delivery, just to make it happen,” Haider said.

He said people come to buy chicken, but when they see it sold, they go to Save On.

But there isn’t a lot of halal chicken in the chain of stores either, he says.

“Not everyone is getting their product.”

Halal is an Arabic term meaning “permitted” or “halal” in Islam. For religious reasons, Muslims are only allowed to eat halal meat.

Mo Hamayed, manager of Cedars Bakery and Restaurant, usually orders halal chicken wholesale, but since the flood he has not been able to get anything from BC.

Now he pays $ 1,400 for two ounces of chicken from Montreal, otherwise it’s higher than the $ 450 he paid.

“We can’t do much about it. We just have to keep going,” Hamayed said.

Last year, he was forced to raise prices due to COVID-19, much to the chagrin of his customers.

He is again worried about rising prices.

“Some people can’t afford it anymore,” Hamayed said.

Ken Huttema, owner of Farm Fed Poultry in BC’s Fraser Valley, said road closures and a sharp rise in transportation costs forced him to raise the price of honest chickens.

During the BC flood, the Farm Fed lost two of its 30 chicken farms.

“I don’t see this going to improve anytime soon, especially in the transportation sector,” Huttema said. In his company, transportation costs increased from 600 to 700 percent.

It also deals with staff shortages. For a few days last week, the plant was operating at half speed due to a low number of workers.

On top of that, he said it is becoming more expensive to be a certified honest chicken producer.

“We have to cover our expenses so the price goes up,” Khuttema said.

Fort McMurray’s imam, Abdurrahman Murad, said he has noticed changes in recent months as he enters grocery stores.

“You can find the whole section empty or very sparsely wrapped,” Murad said.

Because of the selection in the city, some went to Edmonton to stockpile, Murad said.

Murad says his family has switched to seafood because it has more.

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