Halal chicken sausages containing pork DNA were served at St Mary’s Bryanston Square primary school in Westminster
Yet another revelation of non-halal meat has been found in certified halal food. This time in a Church of England School in London.
Westminster Council confirmed that tests have established the presence of pork DNA in halal chicken sausages that have been served in at least one Westminster primary school, on March 14.
A further sample of non-halal minced beef showed that pork and lamb was present. The authority immediately ensured both items were removed from all school menus. The Council has instructed the contractor to temporarily cease supplying meat until this issue is resolved, and to no longer use its halal meat supplier.
The issue only came to light after the authority decided to carry out its own proactive tests on food contamination in the wake of the horse meat scandal. Samples were taken from three schools in the week beginning February 25. In a statement to The Muslim News the Council explained that all tests proved negative for horse DNA, but “a preliminary report was received on March 8 which suggested pig DNA could be present in the halal chicken sausages range.” The evidence was found in one sample taken from St Mary’s Bryanston Square Primary. A further round of tests were carried out and confirmed the preliminary findings.
The Council confirmed that the halal sausages were a menu choice in 15 primary schools; two nurseries; one special school and one pupil referral unit. All these schools take halal only meat. More than 7,000 school meals are served to primary pupils in Westminster every day. Of these 4,400 pupils have halal chicken sausages as an option.
The authority has launched its own investigation to establish how the contamination arose. Westminster City Council’s Tri-borough Director of Children’s Services, Andrew Christie, said: “We also understand and regret the upset that may have been caused to parents and children alike. We are contacting schools, parents and faith group leaders and are offering to meet them to discuss their concerns.”
“The discovery of pork in these sausages came about because of extra tests Westminster City Council decided to carry out. The results were all the more shocking given the assurances about the food we receive from our suppliers,” he added.
Muslims are concerned about the contamination of halal food with pork and are seeking assurances.
Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Shuja Shafi, said: “All consumers have a right to know what they are eating. We are greatly concerned about authenticity and accuracy of food labelling.”