Pork DNA In Halal Chicken Sausages At School

Pork DNA In Halal Chicken Sausages At School

Pork DNA has been found in Halal chicken sausages served in at least one primary school.

Westminster Council named it as St Mary's Bryanston Square, a Church of England school in west London.

Tests by the authority also revealed lean minced beef supplied to the council showed evidence of lamb and pork DNA.

The council said it immediately ensured both items were removed from all school menus.

It also said it had instructed its contractor Chartwells to temporarily cease supplying meat until the issue was resolved. The council added it had asked the firm to stop using its Halal meat supplier.

Halal foods are foods that Muslims are allowed to eat under Islamic dietary guidelines. Pork is among the foods that cannot be consumed.

The pork DNA in the Halal chicken sausages was discovered after the council decided to carry out its own proactive tests on food contamination in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The authority said officers took seven samples from three schools in the week beginning February 25, adding the tests "were carried out on our own initiative and not carried out as the result of any specific concerns about school food standards".

The testing, which involved analysis for the presence of DNA from beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, goat and horse, all proved negative for horse DNA.

The Halal sausages were a menu choice in 15 primary schools, two nurseries, one special school and one pupil referral unit, all of which took Halal-only meat. The lean minced beef was used in 18 schools.

The council said it had launched its own investigation to establish how the contamination arose.

A spokesman for Chartwells said: "This product was supplied to Chartwells by butchers Nigel Fredericks from whom we sought and received written assurances that the product was correctly certified as Halal chicken.

"Nigel Fredericks has taken full responsibility for this breach of our supply chain and we are conducting our own investigation into how this happened."

Nigel J Tottman, the managing director of Nigel Fredericks, said it sourced the sausages from Brook Farm Sausages.

"We have used Brook Farm Sausages for many years, and can only think that this was an isolated incident involving some element of human error," he said.

In a separate development, supermarket chain Aldi said a random sample of its Oakhurst Frozen Meatloaf had been found to contain horsemeat and customers could return the product to their nearest store for a full refund.

An Aldi spokesman said: "Aldi has been contacted by the FSA (Food Standards Agency) to alert us that a random sample of our Oakhurst Frozen Meatloaf tested by a local authority has been found to contain horse meat.

"We are surprised and deeply disappointed at this news. Our DNA testing, carried out last month in accordance with FSA guidance, also tested samples of this product and found it to be clear of horse meat.

"The product is not part of our main range of everyday products and was stocked on a limited availability basis.  However, we have immediately withdrawn any of the remaining stock from our stores."