The UK's Food Standards Agency launches an investigation and calls for urgent meeting of food suppliers and retailers following discovery of traces of pork in halal prison food.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FEBRUARY 2, 2013 (ITN) - Investigations began and an urgent meeting with major food suppliers was called following the discovery of traces of pork DNA in halal meat pies and pastries supplied to prisons in the UK, the director of the country's Food Standards Agency (FSA) said on Saturday (February 2).
Earlier on Friday (February 1), the justice ministry said it was suspending a firm supplying meat to prisons after discovering that food products may have contained traces of non-halal meat, despite being sourced from a properly halal-certified supplier.
On Saturday the FSA said that it was at a very early stage of the investigation to be able to confirm the extent which halal food products may have been containing pork traces, but that determining the extent of the contamination was a priority in the ongoing inquiries.
"What we will be doing with the local authorities and our eyes and ears on the ground, is tracking back to the food chain to find the source and then to identify weather any other products may have been affected. That's a key part and an urgent part of our investigation," said one of the FSA directors Steve Wearne.
"It's completely unacceptable that people from certain faiths have unknowingly eaten food containing ingredients that are prohibited by their religious beliefs," said Wearne in reference to Islamic laws which forbid the consumption of pork.
"It's absolutely the responsibility of the food industry to make sure the food they sell it's what's on the label which is why one of the things we have done is to call an urgent meeting with suppliers and with major meat retailers on Monday," he added.
The revelation follows the recent scandal over horsemeat contamination in burgers sold at supermarkets.
"As gradually prices are driven down by consumers and by supermarkets there is always going to be someone at the bottom looking to cut corners," said butcher Will Woodward.