A STRABANE food company last night began withdrawing its halal meat products, after they were found to contain pork.
Tests carried out on halal pies and pastries manufactured by McColgan’s Quality Foods Ltd, Dublin Road, revealed traces of pig DNA.
Under Islamic law, Muslims are required to eat halal food – and eating pork is strictly forbidden. It is understood the pork-contaminated items were supplied to the Ministry for Justice for use in its prisons.
The Ministry of Justice has since suspended its contract with its supplier, identified only as 3663, who also said it “deeply regretted” the situation.
It is understood that supplier 3663 tested the produce after suspecting the halal food may have contained horsemeat.
In a statement yesterday, the supplier said that pork DNA had been found in “very small number of Halal savoury beef pastry products” and that the items withdrawn from supply were only ever distributed to custodial establishments.
The Prison Service said yesterday it was investigating the incident as a matter of urgency.
McColgan’s meanwhile said it had taken immediate action to address the issue, adding that it was co-operating fully with the Food Standards Agency.
A spokesperson said, “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,” added a spokesperson.