Quelle tragédie! Pork DNA found in halal prison food

THE first news item that caught my eye after I returned from a wonderful birthday dinner of roast goat’s cheese salad followed by delicious pork ribs yesterday was a BBC report about all the handwringing that’s been going on the UK following the discovery of pig DNA found in food served to Muslim prison inmates.

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Editor of the Muslim News, Ahmed Versi, is quoted as saying:

This is very serious because no Muslim would ever eat pork meat – anything to do with pork – and it must be very distressing for those in prison who have been given this meat to realise they may have been eating food which was contaminated with pig.

Ironically, Versi recently had his arsed kicked for contaminating Muslim News by featuring a picture of a pig in a report about an apparent hate crime at a Texas mosque.

An angry reader wrote:

I am sure that non-muslims and muslims know what a pig looks like. Therefore, was it absolutely necessary to publish the story about the Texan mosque with a picture of that animal? The story was fine by itself and did not require the photo. We are continually telling our children to a avoid reading books, or watching tv programmes about this animal as well as being careful about what they eat. My whole family were shocked that a muslim newspaper should publish such a photo. Please be more sensitive to your readers in future.

At any rate, the Ministry of Justice is to suspend a firm supplying meat to prisons after tests found that it may have provided pies and pasties described as halal – but with traces of pork DNA.

Many Muslims will be disappointed that “suspend” in this case does not mean hanging the miscreants.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the local authority involved was investigating, while the MoJ said the products have been withdrawn.

Justice minister Jeremy Wright said the incident was:

Absolutely unacceptable.

He added that the Prison Service was investigating the incident:

As a matter of urgency. This is an absolutely unacceptable situation and one which 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.

Steve Wearne, an FSA director, said it had called an urgent meeting “of a range of suppliers” on Monday where it would:

Stress again the responsibility of all food businesses to ensure the food that they sell contains what it says on the label.

The MoJ said it had commissioned tests after the “recent high profile incidents” in which beefburgers sold by some supermarket chains were found to contain horsemeat.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust charity, said:

This lapse will have offended and distressed high numbers of Muslim prisoners and their families so apologising, suspending the supplier and investigating the incident are the right steps for the Ministry of Justice to take.

Note: The number of young Muslim men in youth jails in England and Wales rose by more than a quarter last year, according to recent figures.

One in five males (21 percent) in young offender institutions (YOIs) identified themselves as Muslim in 2011/12, compared with 13 percent in 2009/10 and 16 percent in 2010/11, the annual review of children and young people in custody showed.

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Meanwhile, it is reported from Malaysia that the Crystal Crown Hotel has signboards erected next to three elevators which state that only “halal” goods can be transported in the lifts. The Islamic Consumer Association of Malaysia (PPIM) had an explanation:

The hotel definitely will do everything they can to prevent losing their halal certification as it would mean a huge loss of business for them.

Hat tip: Agent Cormac & Pete H.