Reuters, Mar. 12, 2003
LONDON (Reuters) – Muslims may be unwittingly eating pig DNA because processed chicken is not properly labelled, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) says.
Islam forbids the eating of pork and Muslims look for the label “Halal” on food to see whether they can eat it. “Halal” is an Arabic word for lawful.
Twelve out of 25 samples of chicken from EU plants were found to contain pork traces. Eleven of these were marked “Halal”.
Jews also avoid pork but the FSA said it had not come across any scam of false “kosher” labelling. Food is described as “kosher” if it is prepared in a way acceptable to Jews.
The FSA said most of the processed meat it tested had less meat than was indicated on the label and was often bolstered with water and undeclared animal proteins.
“What is even more unacceptable is the total disregard as to how offensive this is to Muslim communities who may be eating food which is forbidden by their religious beliefs,” said David Statham, Director of Enforcement at the FSA.
The FSA pledges to stamp out malpractice by giving their findings to local authorities who can prosecute offending manufacturers. It has also revealed misleading brands to Muslim communities so they can avoid them.