London: Britain’s Ministry of Justice says it has suspended a company supplying meat to prisons after tests found that it may have provided food described as halal that contained traces of pork.
The ministry said on Friday that the products — meat pies and pasties labelled as halal — have been withdrawn immediately after pork DNA was found in them. It said that all affected prisons have been informed.
The Food Standards Agency said that authorities are investigating how the contamination happened and how far the products were distributed in the rest of the country.
Muslims are forbidden to eat pork.
The tests on the so-called halal foods were commissioned after it emerged that some British supermarkets were selling beef burgers that contained horsemeat.
Major food retailers and suppliers were being called for a meeting on Monday following a series of either incorrectly labelled or contaminated food products reaching the public, the Press Association reported on Saturday.
A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said: “People have a right to expect that the food they are eating is correctly described.”
The investigation was launched by the Prison Service on Friday after it emerged that several halal meat pies and pasties, which were supplied to jails, contained traces of pork DNA.
Islam forbids the consumption of pork.
Justice Minister Jeremy Wright was quoted as saying: “This is an absolutely unacceptable situation, and one which we regret greatly. Clearly this must be distressing for those affected and they can be reassured we are doing everything we can to resolve the situation.”
A scandal broke out last month after traces of horsemeat were found in beef burgers sold at supermarkets in Britain and Ireland.