Investigation into Halal Meat Products Tainted with Pork

UK - An emergency meeting of meat processing suppliers, wholesalers and retailers was taking place with the British Food Safety Authority today (Monday) following the discovery of traces of pig meat in Halal meat pies.
calendar icon 4 February 2013
clock icon 2 minute read

The tainted products were supplied to the prison service by catering company 3663, which was supplied with the products by Northern Irish meat processor, McColgan's Quality Foods Limited.

The meat pies and pasties supplied to prisons in England and Wales were labelled and served as Halal but contained traces of pork DNA.

The local authority is investigating how this contamination came about and whether these products have been distributed further across the UK.

The FSA said: "This is an unacceptable situation and people have a right to expect that the food they are eating is correctly described. "We have called an urgent meeting of major retailers and suppliers on Monday 4 February, to ensure that everyone is fully aware of their responsibilities.

"It is the responsibility of food businesses to ensure the food they sell contains what it says on the label.

"We are considering, with the local authority, whether legal action is appropriate following the investigation."

The Muslim Council of Britain has welcomed the suspension by the Ministry of Justice of a supplier after it discovered that halal pies and pasties sourced from a properly halal-certificated supplier may contain traces of porcine DNA (pork).

Dr Shuja Shafi, Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: "This discovery underscores the dire need in this country to establish agreed standards, processes and regulations amongst our halal meat suppliers.

"Muslims seek to fulfil their religious obligations by consuming halal-certified food and a lot of trust is placed in this industry.

"We need a collective approach to ensure these expectations are realised.

"We call upon the Food Standards Agency to identify where else the product may have been supplied and remove it from the halal food chain by enacting their 'food alert' product 'recall' procedures.

"There is a need for strengthening the partnership between the community, suppliers, government agencies and consumers.

"The Muslim Council of Britain is initiating the process by sending a questionnaire to Halal Certification bodies and calling a meeting of stakeholders."

Animals intended for halal meat are traditionally slaughtered by hand in accordance with Islamic law.

The discovery of traces of pig meat in products labelled as Halal follows only days after teh discovery of pork and horse DNA in beef burgers produced in factories in the Republic of Ireland and the UK.

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