Need To Find A Selection Of Halal Meat? Check Out Costco.

Islam is the largest religion in the world, but people who follow the religion's dietary guidelines may still have difficulty finding food in the U.S. About 2 billion people, or about one-quarter of the global population, are Muslim, and many choose to eat foods that are certified as halal.

Islamic rules prohibit foods such as pork, carnivorous animals like birds of prey, and intoxicants like alcohol. For those who didn't grow up in devout homes, foods prohibited by the Bible might seem unexpected. When it comes to halal, even animal products that are not expressly forbidden — beef, for example — need to be slaughtered or prepared in a specific way to earn an official halal stamp of approval.

And halal food can sometimes be difficult to find. Out of more than half a million restaurants in the U.S. — though estimates are hard to verify — halal restaurants make up a small fraction. The website Zabihah, which brands itself as the "world's largest guide" to halal eateries, tracks about 13,000 in America. And this is a significant improvement compared to the 200 spots listed when the site launched 25 years ago.

Some restaurateurs, like those who run the fast-growing spot The Halal Guys, make it obvious, but many do not. And in fact, one place that stocks an impressive selection of halal meats might surprise you: Costco.

Costco usually has halal meat, but their inventory changes

If you're looking for meat that's consistent with Islamic dietary guidelines, you might want to check out your local Costco. As of Spring 2023, the warehouse retailer is stocking beef oxtail, chicken nuggets, ground beef, and even whole turkeys that are certified halal.

But before you make the drive, be sure to double-check with your local location, because it's often hard to find the same products at every Costco. Despite their massive size, Costco warehouses typically carry only a fraction of the individual items a traditional grocery store does, so their inventory tends to rotate.

As demand for halal food grows, more stores and restaurants are trying to adapt — but they're not all getting it right. Aldi, which has made some pretty bad decisions, once sold a product they labeled as halal that contained traces of pork blood. And McDonald's once had to pay $700,000 after they lied about what was in their food and claimed certain chicken meals were halal.