Rushanara Ali MP calls for more action on safeguarding halal meat

Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali has strongly questioned the Government’s response to pork DNA being found in halal meals served to students in London.

In March, Rushanara wrote to the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, Rt Hon David Heath MP, calling on the Government to take “immediate steps to ensure high standards are maintained in our food supply chain.” Yesterday, the BBC reported that Halal lamb burgers had been removed from schools in Leicester after tests on a sample burger found traces of pork.

In his response to Rushanara Ali, the Minister said: “In light of the recent incidents of food adulteration, including pork in halal products, retailers and industry bodies have agreed that more and tougher testing of products will take place.”

Rushanara said: “While I welcome the Minister’s response on principle, I am also very keen to ensure that any new testing regime really will be as tough as the government is promising.  My constituents are rightly concerned about the standards of meat being served to their children and I will continue to hold the government to account on this issue, which is of critical importance to so many of British Muslims.”

Rushanara had also tabled a PQ asking the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, what assessment his Department has made of the halal meat being served in schools. Education Minster, Elizabeth Truss MP, responded by ensuring that the Department for Education had been in contact with the Food Standards Agency to provide advice to local authorities who work with schools to withdraw contaminated products as investigations continued.