Retailers meet over food safety

Major retailers and suppliers will meet the Food Standards Agency (FSA) today to work out how to prevent food becoming contaminated and entering the supply chain.

MP warns of more food contamination cases to come

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee chair Anne McIntosh
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee chair Anne McIntosh Credit: Press Association

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee chairman Anne McIntosh has raised concerns that the recent cases of food contamination discovered by Irish authorities "could be just the tip of the iceberg". Speaking to the BBC she questioned whether the FSA is fit for purpose.

"We have to ask why, so far, the FSA have not found themselves one case of cross-contamination."

She said she was "shocked" to learn that burgers could have been contaminated with horse meat for a year and warned that more cases could yet come to light.

Retailers to meet over food safety

Major retailers and suppliers will meet the Food Standards Agency (FSA) today to work out how to prevent food becoming contaminated and entering the supply chain.

The FSA ordered the meeting last week following a spate of mis-labelled or contaminated food products reaching the public.

Yesterday a company which supplied halal food found to contain traces of pork DNA was named.

Food distributor 3663 identified McColgan Quality Foods Limited, a Northern Ireland-based company, as the source of "the very small number of halal savoury beef pastry products" found to contain pork DNA which it supplied to prisons.

In a statement, 3663 confirmed that all halal products from this manufacturer have been withdrawn from supply.

3663 has not been suspended, but a "sub-contractor" has been suspended, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said. Islamic law forbids the consumption of pork.

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Firm takes 'swift action' after Halal food row

McColgan's can confirm that it is proactively co-operating with the Food Standards Agency and its local representatives following the discovery of trace elements of porcine DNA in a limited number of halal-certified pastry products which are supplied to 3663 as part of its contract to The Prison Service.

McColgan's has already taken swift measures to identify, isolate and withdraw all of the products which are supplied to The Prison Service while an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding this deeply regrettable and unforeseen incident takes place.

McColgan's is keen to stress that at no point has pork of any kind been included in the recipes of any of the halal-certified products it supplies.

– McColgan Quality Foods Limited

Halal food row supplier is named

The company which supplied halal food found to contain traces of pork DNA has been identified as McColgan Quality Foods Limited, a Northern Ireland-based company.

The company was named as the source of "the very small number of Halal savoury beef pastry products" found to contain pork DNA which it supplied to prisons.

In a statement, food distributor 3663 said:

3663 would like to clarify that the very small number of Halal savoury beef pastry products that have been withdrawn from supply were only ever distributed to custodial establishments.

The products in question are from one particular food manufacturer, McColgan Quality Foods Limited, and have not been distributed to any other customer.

All Halal products from this manufacturer have been withdrawn.

Wholesaler 3663 suspends Halal provider's products

British food wholesaler 3663 has removed all Halal products from a manufacturer after testing revealed traces of porcine protein.

In a statement, 3663 said:

Following recent publicity concerning content of horsemeat in the consumer goods foodchain, 3663 recognised a potential connection between a supplier of Halal savoury pie products for the MOJ and one of their Halal beef suppliers mentioned within the FSAI (Food Safety Authority of Ireland) report.

We took immediate steps to inform the MOJ of this potential connection purely as a precautionary measure and together took the decision that these Halal beef products should be quarantined to prevent their use pending DNA testing.

3663 initiated DNA testing on multiple production batches of Halal products from the manufacturer in question.

Disappointingly, we received evidence that within the products tested there were traces of porcine protein. These results shocked us as the manufacturer in question is accredited by the Halal Food Authority.

3663 immediately removed all Halal products from this manufacturer from the supply chain and 3663 will not source any further Halal products from this manufacturer.

Our sentiments echo those of the Ministry of Justice, in that this is a wholly unacceptable situation and one that we deeply regret, we are however relieved that our own prompt actions following identifying a potential risk from the FSA report enabled the earliest possible removal of these products from sale.

– Ian Crawford is Group Commercial Director for 3663

The statement went on to say that 3663 welcome the opportunity to "work with the FSA and others to improve consumer confidence in traceability within the food chain".

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Ministry of Justice suspends supplier after pork DNA found in halal meat

The Ministry of Justice has said that it is suspending one of the suppliers of meat to prisons after it discovered that halal pies and pasties sourced from a properly halal certificated supplier may contain traces of non-halal meat.

The Ministry also confirmed that all products concerned were immediately withdrawn.

A department spokesperson said:

All prisons have been informed about this very regrettable incident and we reported this issue to the Food Standards Agency immediately.

We are taking immediate steps to suspend the contract with the relevant subcontractor.

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. The Prison Service is investigating this as a matter of urgency.

– Jeremy Wright, Justice Minister

Food Standards Agency: Food chain is 'long and complex'

Food Standards Agency director Steve Wearne said it was "completely unacceptable" that pork traces were found in food that had been marked Halal.

He said the FSA had identified who had supplied the meat to the prison in question but, as "the food chain is long and complex," they had yet to identify the offending ingredient and its source.

He said they were still working to confirm whether any other products had been affected.

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