Food for Thought Blog

Supporting Individuals Following a Halal Diet

October 4th, 2021Awareness, Food

In 2020, 12.9% of households who accessed food assistance throughout Waterloo Region followed a halal diet. Individuals who are part of the Muslim faith follow dietary guidelines that are set out in their holy book, the Quran. The Quarn describes foods that are lawful (“Halal”) and not lawful (“Haram”). Adhering to these strict guidelines when distributing food to individuals following a halal diet is important to ensure they are provided with food that support their religious dietary needs.

Foods Not Part of a Halal Diet
  • Pork and all its by-products
  • Non-halal meat
  • By-products that come from pork or non-halal meat
  • Alcohol (ethanol) and foods containing alcohol

Examples of foods not included in a Halal diet are: alcohol, vanilla extract (alcohol), pork, bacon, ham, lard/shortening (pig fat), gelatin (pig), rennet (some cheeses), blood.

Foods Part of a Halal Diet

For foods to be considered Halal, the meat must be Zabihah, which means it is slaughtered according to Islamic law.

  • Halal meat and poultry
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains – pasta, rice, oats, barley, bread, etc.
  • Some dairy products

How to Identify Halal Food

It is always important to double check that a food item is Halal as many foods may contain additives or ingredients that are not considered Halal.

  1. Any food item that is labeled Halal should carry a Halal symbol and the name of the Halal certifying organization. This is especially important for Halal meat.
  2. Check the ingredients list. Often food items that are not permitted in a halal diet are hiding in the ingredients list. The chart which is linked here was created by Toronto Public Health, lists common ingredients that should be avoided for individuals following a halal diet.




How to Support Individuals Following a Halal Diet?

  1. Consider Making a Financial Donation
    Halal meat continues to be a common request and most needed item for individuals accessing food assistance throughout Waterloo Region. Financial donations allow us to work with community members and industry partners to secure halal meat for distribution.
  2. Donate Halal Friendly Non-Perishable Items
    Some popular items include: rice, flour, plain oats or oatmeal, dried beans, oil, salt, sugar, lentils, canned tuna, nuts and seeds, powdered milk, canned fruits and vegetables, tea, and coffee

Interested in Donating?

Financial donations allow us the flexibility to fill any gaps in our inventory, and purchase items in bulk quantities. Financial donations also keep our delivery vehicles on the road, and helping with the pick up and distribution of food throughout the Community Food Assistance Network.

You can donate online at:

Food donations provide a variety in the food distributed to people in need by the Community Food Assistance Network. These donations can be placed in The Food Bank bin at your local grocery store, fire hall or police station.