There are many types of halal fast food ranging from Western-style burgers and chicken to Chinese takeout, pizza and even, in Britain, fish and chips. The prerequisites for any halal fast food is that the meat meets Islamic standards, that banned ingredients are not used and that the products used to cook and prepare the meat are not contaminated by banned products such as pig products. The animals must also be slaughtered according to Islamic law. Accordingly, all fast food that meets these requirements can be considered halal fast food.
In order to be considered halal, the animal must be slaughtered in the name of Allah and must be slaughtered by a person of the book. This means a person who uses the Old Testament, so it can be a Jew or Christian in addition to a Muslim. There cannot be any blood left in the meat, the animal must not be a pig and it must not be carrion.
The most common form of fast food is the burger. Burgers made from chicken and beef are halal, but those made from pork are not. Similarly, the burgers that include strips of bacon or ham are also not halal. Halal burgers may contain cheese, lettuce and other ingredients in line with halal law.
The burger may be combined with other halal fast food including fries, potato wedges or chips. In order to be halal, these potato-based products must have been deep fried in vegetable oil. Any fries fried in pig-fat oil will be non-halal or haraam under Islamic Law. The burgers must also be fried without using pig fat such as lard or oil.
The same rules apply to halal fast food using chickens. There are a number of branches of well-known chicken fast food outlets that have gone over to halal. For example, there are branches of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in London that serve halal chicken. This means the chicken has been killed according to dhabiha and has been fried in non-pig fat.
So long as companies avoid using pig or blood products, their fast food may be considered halal. This means it is possible to find halal-friendly Mexican food such as tacos, Italian fast food such as pizza and also Chinese takeout. In most cases, the fast food outlet will advertise that it is halal; if there is no advertising the company will probably know if the menu is halal or not.
The number of halal fast food joints is increasing around the world, particularly as Muslim populations grow in Europe. This is also the case in America and countries like Australia. In Muslim countries, it is safe to assume that all meat is halal. The production of halal meat, however, has caused a backlash amongst animal welfare groups who believe slitting a cow's or chicken’s throat causes unnecessary pain to the animal.