Reps. Hammoud, Wittenberg Propose Clear Kosher, Halal Guidelines to Protect Consumers

Bill would increase transparency, reduce fraud and litigation
Friday, June 8, 2018

LANSING — State Reps. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) and Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods) have introduced House Bills 6119 and 6120, which would revise kosher and halal food service laws in Michigan to increase transparency and address fraud.

“The goal of my bill is to increase transparency and promote truth in advertising. Michigan residents deserve the ability to make informed choices when it comes to the food they buy, and they cannot do that when the business they’re buying from isn’t required to be completely transparent and honest with them,” said Wittenberg. “This bill provides customers the opportunity to read about what they are buying in a way that is not onerous to establishments. If these items are in fact halal or kosher, why not simply disclose that information and mitigate issues before they arise?”

HB 6119, sponsored by Rep. Wittenberg, would require establishments that sell kosher or halal food items to post a disclosure sign with content, design, placement, etc. determined through Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development rules. Additionally, the bill would establish fines for failure to post the sign, and would subject those fraudulently selling food claimed to be halal or kosher to the penalties proposed in the companion bill.

HB 6120, sponsored by Rep. Hammoud, would establish misdemeanor penalties for a person that misrepresents food as kosher or halal or knowingly prepares, distributes, sells, or exposes food falsely claimed to be kosher or halal.

“It has become an unfortunate, recurring problem, including in my district, for customers to be misled by those claiming to sell food that is halal or kosher,” said Hammoud. “This has resulted in confusion, distrust, and numerous lawsuits. These bills seek to provide consumer protections through clearer guidelines, which should lead to a reduction in incidents of fraud and resulting litigation. Families should be able to dine with peace of mind, knowing that the food they purchased is as advertised.”

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