Irish Muslims warn over pork scare


The discovery of pork DNA in halal meat will negatively affect the Irish meat industry, Irish Muslims have said.

“The news of this has reached all Muslims residing in Ireland,” said Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland.

On Sunday British food distributor 3663 identified McColgan Quality Foods Limited, a Tyrone-based company, as the source of “the very small number of halal savoury beef pastry products” found to contain pork DNA, supplied to British prisons.

Pork is forbidden under Islamic dietary rules, and Dr Selim called for “serious action to be taken” to restore Irish Muslims’ trust in their food.

“They should be doing tests and there should be visits to make sure that slaughtering is done to the halal way,” he said.

Declining trade

Shops selling halal meat, of which there are 22 in Dublin, face declining trade because “if we know it might have pork in it we definitely will not buy it”, said Dr Selim.

Dr Mudafar Al Tawash, from the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, said contaminated food was “religiously and ethically” unacceptable and would undermine exports.

“We are very disappointed. That affects the market and we are working very hard to convince people from the Middle East market to come to Ireland to buy meat.”

Abdul Haseeb, a former editor of the Irish Muslim magazine, said the discovery raised the question of whether the presence of trace amounts of pork in food was acceptable.

“How small is small? And how permissible is small?” he said, adding that he was waiting to hear from the UK-based sharia council on the matter. The presence of pork DNA in halal products was undesirable but “not the end of the world”, he said.

Prisoners don’t have an alternative. “For prisoners, what we tell them is, ‘look, you don’t really have much of a choice: ask for halal and if they say it is halal then go for halal’.”