Saudis in the US – Beware of the Pork


Since being back in the US for a short period and with Saudi family members, my eyes are being opened in new ways. I am enjoying seeing my home country through their eyes. And I am also glad to be with them to act as a guide and/or mentor as needed. One such way for example is at the grocery stores or in going out to eat. For those who may not be aware, muslims are forbidden from eating any pork products. Now in Saudi Arabia that is not a problem, for all foods are naturally halal and one does not need to worry or think whether it contains pork or pork products. But that is not always the case in the United States.

In Saudi Arabia one can obtain bacon, hot dogs, sausages and ribs without worrying that the meat is pork. In the States one will see many appetizing packages containing these items as well as what appear to be tasty roasts too. But if one does not look closely at the label for the content (especially when not familiar with the layout and customs of American grocery stores) it can be easy to inadvertently purchase pork or pork products. My advice to a muslim not familiar with shopping in the States is to remember to read the labels carefully if you do not have someone with you to ensure no mistakes are made. With the world becoming smaller and more people from differing countries and religions traveling, I wish meat products would have a picture on them depicting which animal the cut of meat came from. I’m sure it would help eliminate any mistakes!

Restaurants are another place where one needs to be careful of not inadvertently eating any pork. Most restaurants are getting better at the practice in serving salads or baked potatoes without any pork in the form of bacon bits, but not all. It is wise to first ask or request that no pork be provided. Lasagna in the States can often times be made mixed with both ground beef and pork. Some soups may also have pieces of ham or bacon in them. Some restaurants may prepare baked potatoes with small pieces of bacon in them. Be sure to ask when in doubt!


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