Circulating reports claim that some Subway stores in the UK do not serve ham and bacon and offer only halal meat.
The claims are factual, although some of the media reports on the issue are typically sensationalist. In fact, Subway UK has had a programme in place since 2007 that considers population demographics when opening new stores. If the company ascertains that there will be a large demand for halal meat at a particular location, pork meat may be removed from that store’s menu and other meats served will be halal. The company maintains that due to the cultural diversity of the UK and Ireland, it must balance the values of different religious communities.
Subway removes ham and bacon from nearly 200 stores and offers halal meat only after ‘strong demand’ from Muslims
Almost 200 branches of Subway have cut ham and bacon from their menus, serving halal meat in response to calls from their Muslim customers.
According to various reports that are circulating via social media, some Subway stores in the UK do not serve ham or bacon and offer a halal-only menu due to demand from Muslim communities.
The core claims are factual, although the sensationalist reporting style of some of the stories perhaps overstates the significance of the issue.
In fact, Subway has had a policy in place for several years that caters to Muslim communities by offering halal menus in some stores. The company has published the following statement about the issue on its website:
Due to the growing popularity of the SUBWAY® chain, with the diverse multicultural population across the UK and Ireland, we put a programme in place in 2007 to ensure that the population demographic is taken into account when new store openings are considered in order that we meet consumer demand in each location.
All our suppliers comply with EU animal welfare legislation as a minimum and we require suppliers of Halal products to adopt the stunning of animals prior to their slaughter. All Halal meats are certified by the appropriate Halal authorities.
All Halal SUBWAY® stores have numerous signs stating that they serve Halal food. These are situated on the menu panels, nutritional information and in the front window of the store. Details about the locations of Halal stores can be found on the store finder at www.subway.com
An April 30, 2014 article in TheBlaze notes:
A Subway spokeswoman confirmed to TheBlaze Wednesday that the company has responded over the past few years to an increasingly diverse population by providing halal meats, but declined to comment directly on whether ham and bacon have been removed from the menu at select locations.
But, the Bristol Post suggests that at least some stores have indeed removed ham and bacon from their menus and serve halal foods only:
TWO Subway stores in Bristol have cut ham and bacon from their menus in response to calls from Muslim customers.
A city centre branch of the sandwich shop in Hamilton Court, Montague Street has removed pork from its menu and supplies customers with halal-only meat, along with the branch on Stapleton Road, Easton.
Certainly, the store’s halal food policy might irk some non-Muslim customers in affected areas. But the program is not something new as implied by some media reports and not all UK Subway stores are moving to a halal-only menu. Another page on the Subway UK website notes:
Do all SUBWAY® stores serve Halal meats?
No. Only a limited number of SUBWAY® stores serve Certified Halal meats.
And, despite claims by a few more wide-eyed commentators, the policy is not an indication that Sharia Law is about to be implemented in the UK.
Such religion-related food policies are, of course, not unprecedented. Subway in the United States has a number of kosher stores, as do other US food chains.
In reality, it could be effectively argued that Subway is simply doing what businesses have done since commerce began. Catering to consumer demand with a view to maximizing profits.