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California Governor Signs Bill to Prevent Halal Food Fraud

LOS ANGELES - California's Gov. Gray Davis has signed a law making it a misdemeanor to illegally sell meat or other foods that are falsely represented as meeting Muslim dietary laws, The Associated Press reports.

"Muslim consumers, like any other consumers, deserve protection against false advertising," Davis said Tuesday before signing into law at the Islamic Center of Southern California. "When this law becomes effective, if a product says halal on the outside, it will be halal on the inside."

Halal food meets strict Islamic guidelines on content and preparation. It must not contain ingredients Muslims are prohibited from eating, such as pork products or alcohol. The food also must be stored using equipment that has been cleansed according to Islamic law.

Assemblyman Bill Campbell introduced the bill, which the Legislature unanimously passed. A person convicted under the law faces up to 90 days in jail and a dlrs 600 fine.

"Halal is the Islamic equivalent to Jewish kosher, therefore, a sacred necessity for the Islamic faithful," Davis said. "Observant Muslims should be assured that their halal food is protected."
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