Plans to allow London students to study in Sussex were met with "totally unacceptable" comments from a local Conservative Councillor.
Tens of thousands of extra school places will be needed by next year, according to the National Audit Office
Havering awarded the highest number of first choice places while Hammersmith & Fulham gave students the fewest.
Butcher Nigel Fredericks, the company which supplied Halal meat to schools in Westminster, has made the following statement following the discovery of traces of pork in chicken sausages:
"Further to media speculation, we would like to clarify our position regarding the matter of Pork traces found in Halal Chicken Sausages supplied to a School in Westminster.
"This product was sourced from Brook Farm Sausages, and then supplied to the school in question through a 3rd party distributor.
"We have used Brook Farm Sausage for many years, and can only think that this was an isolated incident involving some element of human error.
"We are currently investigating the cause of this unfortunate and regrettable incident as a matter of utmost priority, together with Compass UK and Brook Farm Sausages.
"We are very sorry that we have had a product come through our supply chain that has failed to meet the high standards we and our customers expect, and extend our apologies to any person who has potentially eaten this product.
– Nigel Tottman, Managing Director, Fredericks
"Since media speculation started in January concerning the integrity of meat labelling, we have had over 15 samples taken from our premises and/or our customer’s premises, mostly at random, and many without our knowledge.
"So far, with the exclusion of the sausages named in this incident, every result that has come back has been certified as completely clean from anything other than what was stated on the label.
"We are continuing to send more products for testing, to help satisfy all customers and potential end users that our product traceability and safety is robust."
Responding to today’s report by the NAO, Cllr Peter John, Executive Member for Education at London Councils says:
– Cllr Peter John, Executive Member for Education, London Councils
“We welcome today’s report from the NAO. It is a wake-up call for Government. London boroughs have been warning for years of a chronic shortfall in school places as a result under investment by Government. Despite this the shortfall remains at over 90 000 places by 2015/16. The Government needs to focus all of its energies on working with councils to ensure that all London’s children are able to access a high quality school place as near to home as possible”
Test results show pork was present in a sample of halal chicken sausages which may have been supplied to 19 schools and nurseries. A further sample of non-halal lean mince beef shows that pork and lamb was present, potentially affecting 17 schools and nurseries
Schools serving halal chicken sausages:
- All Souls
- Churchill Gardens
- College Park
- Edward Wilson
- George Eliot
- Millbank Academy
- Paddington Green
- Queen's Park
- St Augustine's CE
- St Barnbas CE
- St Peters CE
- Mary Paterson Nursery
- Portman Childhood Centre
Schools serving halal chicken sausages and non halal lean mince beef:
- St. Mary’s Bryanston Square
Schools serving non halal lean mince beef:
- Barrow Hill
- Burdett Coutts
- Hampden Gurney
- Our Lady of Dolours
- QE II
- St Clement Danes
- St Edwards
- St Gabriel’s
- St George’s
- St James & St Michael’s school
- St James & St Michael’s nursery
- St Joseph’s
- St Mary Magdalene
- St Matthews
- St Vincent de Paul
- Westminster Cathedral
- Tachbrook Nursery
Any parents worried about their children's school food is asked to call Westminster City Council's advice line, which is open from 8am today.
The number is 020 7745 6401
Any parents worried about their children's school food is asked to call Westminster City Council's advice line, which is open from 8am tomorrow.
The number is 020 7745 6401
A Defra spokesman said: "It is totally unacceptable if food labelled as Halal has been found to contain pork.
"Today Defra, the FSA and the Department for Communities and Local Government met with organisations involved in Halal and Kosher food to discuss labelling and certification.
"Food manufacturers and suppliers have a responsibility to make sure that the food they serve is what they say it is. The FSA is working with Westminster City Council to establish what happened."
Official statement from the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre:
"The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre isdeeply concerned about the discovery of pork DNA in ‘Halal’ school meals servedto Muslim primary school children in central London.
Whilst we welcome Westminster City Council’s swift response over this matter, this latest revelation over contaminated food supply chains will be hard for parents to ‘stomach’.
As consumption of pork or meat that has not been slaughtered in accordance with their faith is strictly prohibited, there will be serious issues of concern and mistrust between Muslim parents and schools across London. We hope a resolution can be sought quickly and effectively as possible.
Any subsequent investigation will need to rigorous and transparent to restore the confidence of the Muslim community. Any acts of criminality and negligence by its contractor will have to be answered.
We trust the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will make their own enquiries and take appropriate action, especially if a supplier has been found to be deliberately supplying pork meat but labeling it as chicken meat.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has added: "This discovery underscores the dire need in this country to establish agreed standards, processes and regulations amongst our halal meat suppliers. We need a collective approach to ensure these expectations are realised."
An authentically credited Halal meat supplier registered with the ‘Halal Monitoring Committee’ should be used to source meat and supplies."