A father-and-son business is on track to become Queens' third federally approved slaughterhouse, once the $5 million Ozone Park facility is completed next month.
Madani Halal is waiting for one last piece of custom-built equipment to arrive to cap a five-year expansion project that transformed a neighboring auto-body shop into a state-of-the-art halal slaughterhouse.
The new facility will allow the business to tap into the growing demand for halal products, owners said.
"It's exciting, yet nerve-wracking," said Imran Uddin, 32. "We're spending a lot more money to open a USDA facility, but it allows me to sell to supermarkets, butcher shops, across state lines and even internationally."
His father, Riaz Uddin, 77, started the family business in 1997, selling a wide assortment of freshly killed poultry, goats and lambs to immigrants.
"Muslim people in our community need a place like that," Riaz Uddin said of expanding the business. "There's a demand for halal products, and the Muslim community is growing very rapidly."
His customers choose from exotic chickens and ducks, along with uncommon birds like guinea hens, partridges and squab raised in Pennsylvania. Imran Uddin said they are free of hormones. The animals are killed humanely on the premises, following Muslim law, and drained of blood.
Halal is "an ancient tradition. However, it's new here - especially in New York City," the younger Uddin said. "Most people associate it with the food carts they see all over the city."
"For me, it's about the freshness and the quality of the bird," Dickson said. "[Imran] can deliver the freshest product available."
The popularity of halal products appears to be on the rise.
"The U.S. is starting to see the potential of the halal market," said Salama Evans, managing editor of HalalFocus, a United Kingdom-based halal news site. "The demand is there, but now what's needed is a reliable supply of halal-certified products."
There are about 200 slaughterhouses in New York City, but only seven are federally inspected. Seven more, not including Madani, have applied for USDA approval this year, federal agriculture officials said.
Additional Info:Madani Halal - 100-15 94th Avenue, Ozone Park, NY 11416