The company which supplied halal food found to contain traces of pork DNA has removed all products from the manufacturer.
Food distributor 3663 carried out its own tests on the products after initially fearing five of its halal products may have contained horse meat. But tests found it was pork DNA traces.
The firm identified McColgan Quality Foods Limited, a Northern Ireland-based company, as the source of “the very small number of Halal savoury beef pastry products” affected.
In a statement the company said: “3663 withdraws McColgan Quality Foods Limited halal pastry products from distribution to Ministry of Justice.”
Islamic law forbids the consumption of pork. All the contaminated products have been withdrawn, the MoJ confirmed.
The row comes after traces of horsemeat were found in burgers sold by some UK supermarkets, including Tesco.
3663 – the numbers in the name corresponding to the letters “FOOD” on a telephone number pad – said in a statement its sentiments echoed those of the Ministry of Justice, and said it was a situation that “we deeply regret”.
“3663 would like to clarify that the very small number of Halal Savoury beef pastry products that have been withdrawn from supply were only ever distributed to custodial establishments.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 All halal products from this manufacturer have been withdrawn.”
A spokesman for the MoJ said that following the discovery of non-halal meat and the traces of pork, all prisons were informed and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) immediately informed before steps were taken to suspend the relevant supplier.
Justice minister Jeremy Wright said: “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.”
The Prison Reform Trust said it welcomed the immediate apology and investigation.
On Thursday Burger King dropped the Irish food processing plant which supplied burgers contaminated with horse DNA.
The Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan, part of the ABP Food Group, has lost contracts with the major fast food chain and also supermarkets Tesco, Aldi and the Co-operative Group.