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Is Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma Halal? (Explained)

trader joes shawarma chicken thighs

Trader Joe’s is the place for you if you’re interested in private-label products. It is a well-loved American grocery chain and the place to go if you want carefully curated food and beverages from all over the world.

Trader Joe’s focuses on high-quality products from all over the world which are health-conscious and organic. Like many other grocery store chains, they sell halal products. Chicken Shawarma is a popular delicacy in Muslim communities, so checking for a Halal certification becomes important.

Knowing if meat is Halal is an important aspect to consider when marketing to Muslim communities. As of now, Trader Joe’s products do not have a Halal certification, so it is best to inquire the staff if your chicken shawarma is halal. Keep reading to find more information and alternatives!

Understanding the Halal Certification

For the Muslim community, it is important to know if the meat they are consuming is Halal or not. The distinction is made on the fact that the animal was stunned or not stunned before slaughter. If it has been stunned, the food is not permissible to be consumed. It is a highly regulated practice and most Muslims prefer if their food has a clear label or a Halal certification.

The Halal food industry came out to be a whopping 1.9 trillion dollars in 2020. Thomson Reuters has pegged the global market at 415 billion dollars.

Many major corporations incorporate halal meat into their products to attract a more diverse consumer base. Major grocery store chains like Costco, Trader Joe’s, and even Walmart keep them on the shelves.

Halal certifications are labels that indicate that products are made within compliance with Islamic Law and that the products do not contain any materials that are considered forbidden within the law. 

There isn’t a single governing body that is currently overseeing the process of Halal meat, but there are multiple organizations that have set the standard for the slaughtermen to follow. However, the lack of a proper certification leads to Muslims having to trouble themselves in arduous searches online.

Requirements for Halal Meat

For meat to be considered Halal, the animal must be slaughtered in a specific way. The slaughterman should recite his blessings and strike the neck of the animal in a swift blow.

After that, the blood is allowed to drain from the body. This should happen in the absence of other animals.

The blessing that the slaughterman must read is the Tasmiyah, a one-line blessing invoked in God’s name. This has been normalized by the British Halal Food Authority. Orthodox Jews recite a similar blessing for the preparation of Kosher meat.

The ritual also delineates how an animal is handled during its life. It should not be abused. It should also be given adequate clean water, food, and fresh air.

For the process, light stunning is allowed but any voltage at which the stunning can kill the animal is considered to be prohibited.

Trader Joe’s and Halal Certification

As of 2023, Trader Joe’s products do not have halal certification. While Trader Joe’s carefully curates meats for a variety of customer bases, there is no label on the packages to prove that the meat is within the compliance of being halal. This means that you cannot know for sure if your chicken shawarma is halal.

Many schools of thought consider Kosher food to be halal as well. Some foods adhere to both diets. Trader Joe’s does have a label for Kosher food, so you can check in with the present staff to see if the ingredients fulfill the requirements of your chicken shawarma being halal. You can also look these products up on their website.

Some customers however do not consider Kosher as Halal because the Rabbi performs a mass blessing on the animals, instead of each individual animal.

In such precarious conditions, customers believe it is best not to purchase food that does not have a clear indication of being Halal. Your kosher chicken shawarma may not be halal after all.

Alternative Options for the Halal Chicken Shawarma

While the official website does not specifically list which products are Halal, user experiences have made it easier to narrow down what you can buy if you’re on the search.

While it is dubious to see which meats are halal, there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options you can substitute your shawarma with.

Some of these meals are:

  1. Vegan pasta Bolognese bowl: This hearty bowl of pasta has all the richness of meat without the presence! It is a good option to have and packs 30 grams of protein, so it’s a healthy option as well.
  2. Gluten-free mac and cheese: The gluten-free mac and cheese is full of flavor and has four different types of cheeses in its midst. This meal will make you nostalgic and very full.
  3. Kimchi and Tofu soup: This microwaveable soup is a good meal for the wintertime. The vegan soup has 11 grams of protein.
  4. Mini Vegetable Samosas: These samosas are very popular in the Desi communities, especially for Desi Muslims! The veggie-packed filling and the crispy pastry make for an excellent afternoon snack.

Fret not if your chicken shawarma isn’t Halal! Trader Joe’s diverse range of food products will surely have you taking something from the shelves home.

Seafood is a safe option for anyone looking for products that are Halal. For more information, the ground staff is more than happy to help.

Final Thoughts

Trader Joe’s has a good selection of meats. It caters to a diverse range of customers, which include Muslim communities. For these communities, it is important that the food that they consume is Halal, containing no ingredient that is considered to be prohibited.

Trader Joe’s does not have a Halal certification tag on its food, so its chicken shawarma might not be halal. However, lots of alternative options are available which are equally scrumptious. We’ve listed them down so you can find them easily with the help of the staff!


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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