Pork found in halal prison food
After widening its investigation of meat contamination in the UK, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed last night that it has suspended a meat supplier to UK prisons in another episode of mislabelling and contamination of UK meats.
The Food Standard Agency (FSA) has released a statement that prison meats, including pies and pastries, being supplied by a certified Halal supplier have been found to be contaminated with pig DNA.
An FSA spokeswoman said: “A number of meat pies and pasties supplied to UK prisons which were labelled and served as halal 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”.
Islamic law, which has become a highlight of reporting on horse and pig DNA contamination, prohibits the consumption of pig products, making the case especially sensitive for Muslim prisoners and families.
In the last string of episodes Polish contaminated meats in the UK supplied through Associated British Food (ABF), the UK’s biggest beef supplier, led the company to lose multiple contracts. Losses include Tesco, Aldi, the Cooperative and, as of Thursday, Burger King.
Although all prisons concerned have now been informed of contamination, the MoJ refused to release information regarding the supplier for this particular incident.
David Heath, Food and Farming Minister, has stated: “I have made it clear that I want an urgent meeting with major retailers and suppliers first thing next week to get to the bottom of this … We are considering, with the local authority, whether legal action is appropriate following the investigation.”
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, welcomed the MoJ’s immediate apology and investigation and said: “This is not a matter of dietary preference but of Islamic law. This lapse will have offended and distressed high numbers of Muslim prisoners and their families; so apologising, suspending the supplier and investigating the incident are the right steps for the Ministry of Justice to take.”