The Sharia Halal Board has held a meeting to discuss a “recent lapse”, which saw pork-contaminated halal products being supplied to UK prisons and government organisations in England and Wales.
The products were distributed by meat products supplier 3663 and certified as halal by the Halal Food Authority. According to Sharia Halal Board (SHB) spokesman Allama Qazi, the fact there was pork DNA in the products was an act of abuse. He said: “It is most regretful once again to see Muslims at the end of another act of abuse. This is what we have been saying and warning the general public about for several months now.”
At the meeting Qazi condemned the “appalling” actions of 3663 for mishandling and mislabelling haraam (sinful) products as halal. He added that the SHB also held the Halal Food Authority “equally liable for allowing this disgraceful behaviour to continue”.
The issue came to light on Friday (1 February) when the Food Standards Agency (FSA) released information that a number of “halal” meat products intended to be consumed by Muslim prisoners in England and Wales were contaminated with pork DNA.
Following the FSA’s statement the food distributor 3663, which distributed the food to the prisons, identified the Northern Ireland processors McColgan’s Quality Food as the original supplier of the pork DNA-tainted beef pies and pasties it was distributing. As a result, 3663 removed the products from distribution while an investigation was carried out.
Following this, the SHB stated that it held the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), alongside 3663 and the HFA jointly responsible for the major errors and ill action. It said: “The Ministry along with any other governmental organisation should immediately suspend any dealings with not only 3663 but equally with the Halal Food Authority.”
Of the incident Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said: “This is an absolutely unacceptable situation and one 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. The Prison Service is investigating this as a matter of urgency.”
Qazi continued: “This is a major sin against Muslims and the companies should not try to weasel out of the error by labelling it an “innocent mistake”. This is not a mistake, but more a calculated effort to reduce costs by ignoring the rules of Sharia.”