Halal testing scheme planned by Redbridge Council after pork contamination found in other parts of UK

Redbridge Council is planning to test halal meat in shops and restaurants after pork contamination was discovered in parts of the UK.

Pork was found in chicken burgers in Birmingham, sausages in Westminster schools and “halal” meat pies in prisons during horsemeat tests earlier this year.

Eating pork is forbidden in Islam as well as in Judaism and other religions and cultures.

The council is planning a project to test halal meat “in some premises”.

A spokesman said it would include “formal sampling and a review of findings”.

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She added: “At this time, the council’s trading standards team have not withdrawn any products from sale.”

The council is responsible for ensuring food sold in the borough complies with regulations and said it investigates all complaints.

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Officers check documentation and the chain of supply at premises where there is an allegation that food is incorrectly labelled.

Barkingside resident Khalid Sharif, who owns halal confectionary company Ummah Foods, said: “We’ve got 65,000 Muslims in Redbridge and we can’t leave it.

“I think there have got to be tests at schools and hospitals to put the community at ease.”

Mr Sharif said that although his own company does not deal with meat, it checks ingredients and packaging are halal.

“I know the halal industry so I’m more worried,” he said.

National body the Halal Food Authority is campaigning for mandatory DNA checks during processing at factories.

A council spokesman said local authorities had been contacted for information on contaminated products found.

If residents have any concerns or information about mislabelled products, they are encouraged to call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06.

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