A discovery of pork meat in halal lamb burgers served in city schools in Leicester has been slammed by a council official.
The meat products have since been withdrawn follow a series of DNA tests that found that the burgers were contaminated with pork. The halal foodstuffs were manufactured by Doncaster-based Paragon Quality Foods in January and has added to the long-running issue of mislabelling of meat.
It has been highly criticised by the local authority in the East Midlands city and the council confirmed that other halal products used in its kitchens, which includes 24 other city schools, are supplied by a different company. Officials also stated that they have been DNA-tested and be found to be compliant.
Since the turn of the year, the issue of other animal DNA being found meat products has been put increasingly in the public eye. The horsemeat scandal saw a number of major retailers and brands such as Tesco, Ikea and Findus being found to be selling products that contained traces of equine DNA. One of the latter's beef lasagnes was discovered as being 100 per cent horsemeat and forced the company to issue a recall of all of its products.
This latest discovery in Leicester has been branded as "disgraceful" news by the council and assistant mayor Vi Dempster apologised to parents of the pupils of the school in question.
"I am appalled by this situation. It is disgraceful that none of us can have confidence in the food we eat. We regret any distress this will cause families and staff, and would like to reassure them that robust action is being taken to address this serious matter," councillor Dempster said.
Paragon Quality Foods issued a statement on Thursday (May 9th) explaining that it had "never knowingly bought or handled pork". It went on to say that the company is a pork-free organisation and that it had carried out a "full traceability" on the product in question which information was then provided to the relevant enforcement authorities.