Leaders call for halal meat check

Date published: 10 April 2013

MUSLIM leaders want to work with Oldham Council and schools to make sure halal meat served to pupils is authentic.

The move comes after incidents elsewhere in which halal foods have been found to be contaminated with other animal products or mislabelled.

Oldham Mosques Council (OMC) — which represents 35 mosques and more than 27,000 Muslims — is asking to visit suppliers to ensure correct procedures are being followed.

A spokesman said: “The OMC on behalf of the Muslim community seeks assurances and transparency about meat products being served in schools across Oldham.”

OMC has asked the council to provide details of quality assurance procedures and checks undertaken by both the supplier and the council.

Parents and communities are being asked to raise the issue with schools to ensure that they are taking the issue seriously.

OMC founder Basit Shah said checking paperwork wasn’t enough: “We need to make sure that the processes being carried out are in accordance with Islamic law,” he added.

Oldham Council has confirmed that halal meat used by Oldham Council is independently checked at source. The council hasn’t received any complaints.

The council’s catering services provide food for 14,000 pupils and staff in 88 primary, two primary academy schools and four special schools. Secondary schools and other academies organise their own catering.

The service is the only North-West holder of a silver Food for Life charter mark, and all the meat it serves can be traced to the farm and meets the UK legal minimum welfare standards.

A spokesman added: “The service has continued to raise the nutritional quality and provenance of food offered to our customers above and beyond the minimum statutory requirements.