Halal Foods Expand Reach In France

September 8, 2010

Author: Maia de la Baume

Source: The New York Times


For years, Anissa Benchamacha bought her meat in a parking lot, from vendors hawking near-expired products to Muslims eager to find food that met their religious requirements.

But on a recent afternoon, Ms. Benchamacha stood in quiet wonderment before the tidy rows of packaged cold cuts in Hal’Shop, a new supermarket in this middle-class Paris suburb, a few aisles away from the cans of foie gras and bottles of nonalcoholic champagne — all of them halal, or permitted under Islam.

“I came here on the first day of its opening,” she said. “It’s good that things are changing in this country.”

France has the largest population of Muslims in Europe, about six million, and even as they listen to the country debate the terms of their integration into French society, they are having a major impact on the food culture.