Halal meat will be back on the menu in Lancashire schools at the end of the month.
The new range has been tested for quality by the county council’s menu planning team, and all the appropriate food safety, traceability and Halal accreditations are in place.
Roger Eakhurst, Lancashire County Council’s assistant director for catering, said: “We’d like to thank schools, pupils and families for their co-operation during the past month.
“We are pleased to have sourced products which meet the food standards and Halal accreditation requirements, and schools will be making a smooth transition to these new products during the next fortnight.”
Original story 22/10/12
Halal meat off school menus in Lancashire
THOUSANDS of Muslim children have been left without meat in their school meals after the county council suddenly axed its contract with a halal products supplier.
Education chiefs admitted it could take months before a replacement for KQF Foods is found – prompting the Council of Mosques to warn that youngsters’ diets could suffer.
A total of 68 Lancashire County Council schools are affected, including 45 in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale.
Five schools in Blackburn and Darwen, which still receive produce through the county’s central catering unit, have also lost their halal meat supplies.
Lancashire Council of Mosques chairman Salim Mulla said: “With the amount of Muslim children in schools under the local authority’s care we are concerned about where they will source their meat in the future.
“We want to see this difficulty resolved quickly. We are worried about our children being left without meat in their diet for any long period.”
Halal is the description of food and drink Muslims are allowed to consume under Islamic dietary laws, as defined in the Koran.
Classifying of halal food, including meat which must be slaughtered in a certain way, can only be carried out by a Muslim expert in the laws.
Confusion surrounds why KQF lost its contract, which started in May 2009 and was renewed in April.
The move follows an unexpected county council food standards inspection into the composition, labelling and quality of the meat on October 9.
The company, based in George West Street, Blackburn, said it had not been given full details of the justification for the decision but believes it relates to paperwork.
A spokesman added the firm was seriously concerned about damage to its reputation.
The county council has refused to disclose the reason but stressed it did not relate to the meat’s Halal accreditation or health and hygiene.
The most recent Blackburn with Darwen council food hygiene inspection gave KQF a clean bill of health and the borough has not advised its schools to stop using the company.
It is understood that the decision to end the contract concerns the precise legal terms between the two parties over the proportion of meat as opposed to water and other bulking products in the halal products following a complaint.
A Lancashire County Council spokeswoman said that it was seeking an emergency temporary supplier of halal products but could give no timescale for securing a new deal.