Food delivery company Zomato on Wednesday evening issued a statement defending its policy of using the halal tag on its platform after it was criticised on Twitter for making an extra effort to assist customers wrongly delivered non-Halal dishes. Halal food adheres to Islamic law, and halal meat is prepared by slaughtering the animal quickly with a sharp knife, as mentioned in the Hadith. The Hadith is the record of words and actions ascribed to Mohammad.
The statement came hours after the company refused to resolve a customer’s complaint about being assigned a Muslim delivery executive for his order in the “holy month” of Shravan, and said “food doesn’t have a religion”. While a number of Twitter users praised its response, it was also accused of hypocrisy by a number of right-wing supporters on the social media site.
The company said it provided its customers all possible information about the food available through its platform so that they can make an informed choice. “The halal tag on Zomato is a result of restaurants seeking that distinction – not us as an aggregator,” it said. “Restaurants (whether a Muslim establishment or otherwise) serving meat specifically obtain halal certification by an all-India body. Again, we play no role in this categorisation as we only seek proof of authenticity when a restaurant claims to serve halal food. FSSAI license is mandatory. Halal certification is voluntary.”
The company said it took responsibility when customers fail to find the food of their choice on its app usable “and then mistakenly order a different category of food than what they prefer”.
Zomato pointed out there were no organised units for jhatka meat, which is prepared by causing the least amount of pain to the animal. Jhatka means swift in Hindi and the animal is killed in a single blow. “As a direct consequence of this gap in authentication, Zomato does not yet feature the jhatka tag on its platform – but might do that soon if customers demand that tag from us,” it added.
Corrections and clarifications: The description of halal meat has been edited in this article.