Confused staff at a Leicestershire branch of the fried-chicken chain KFC caused disbelief for one bemused customer after they refused to give him an alcoholic hand wipe for postprandial cleanup as part of a nationwide Halal food trial that has also seen the premium ‘Big Daddy’ burger disappear from 96 UK stores.
Speaking out about his strange experience, customer Graham Noakes, 41 said he was refused hand wipes when buying a meal because they contained alcohol, which the server claimed was forbidden by Islam, reports the Daily Telegraph. Noakes insisted he wasn’t a Muslim, so it wouldn’t affect him, but his pleas were unheeded: “They told me it might offend other customers. I explained that it wouldn’t affect me. In fact, I told them I like alcohol, so it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.
“When they wouldn’t give me one, I was disgusted. They use wipes in hospital – what happens when we start being told we can’t have wipes there? I can’t understand it, I will never be going to KFC again”.
KFC insist the refusal was part of a mixup stemming from their Halal meat trial which has replaced ordinary chicken with that slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law in nearly 100 chicken shops. In the wake of the incident Muslim organisations have even had to explain that using alcohol for cleaning is not forbidden, only consumption is.
The trial, which has targeted shops in areas where KFC “anticipate a strong demand for halal products”, is licensed by the British Halal Food Authority which requires the slaughterman to be a Muslim and to pray over the birds as they are killed, rather than using a tape-recorded prayer. The menu of KFC shops remains largely unchanged except for the withdrawal of the ‘Big Daddy’ burger, which includes a rasher of bacon between a chicken slice and hash-brown.
The incident is reminiscent of an incident last year when a Muslim retail worker refused to sell a customer in London a bottle champagne because they believed it conflicted with their belief, despite most mainstream interpretations of the belief not placing a restriction on handling glass bottles containing alcohol. As reported at the time, Islamic law consultant Khola Hasan called the refusal “ridiculous”.