UK: Paragon Quality Foods denies its halal burgers contained pork

_67523459_paragonqualityfoodsA company accused of supplying halal burgers containing pork to schools across the city has said independent tests have revealed it has done nothing wrong.

Leicester City Council withdrew a lamb burger supplied to 19 schools by Doncaster-based Paragon Quality Foods last month after it claimed that tests showed up to 50 per cent pork in a sample burger.

Leicester firm ESPO conducted the tests on behalf of the city council.

However, a spokesman for Paragon Quality Foods said today that results from an unnamed independent specialist showed that the burger did not contain any pork.

He said: “The finding was not based on a formal controlled sample in which samples are retained for further independent analysis.

“We have since obtained the DNA data upon which this report was based and sent it to an independent specialist.

“Based on the conclusion of this specialist, Paragon is satisfied and pleased to announce that the DNA data in actual fact showed that the burger should have been declared as pork-free.”

The spokesman also said that nine further tests on various batches of the burger manufactured by the company between October 2012 and March 2013 had shown that they were also clear of pork.

Leicester City Council had only been using the burger on its menus since January this year.

The spokesman said: “Our good reputation has been unfairly damaged and we trust that it will be fully restored.”

He added that the company was seeking “legal advice”.

A spokesman for ESPO said: “Paragon Quality Foods has challenged the test results and on behalf of the city council we are in the process of seeking verification on the second result.”

A city council spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have commissioned our own tests on different batches of the burgers removed from our schools.

“However, as this is part of an active investigation we can’t comment on the findings of those tests, as this may prejudice any future legal proceedings.”