The company accused of supplying a halal lamb burger contaminated with pork to Leicester schools is claiming new information shows the product did not contain any pork after all. It is now considering legal action.
Leicester city council last week said a frozen halal lamb burger produced by Paragon Quality Foods had tested positive for pork DNA and was removed from school menus. The council said tests indicated the burger contained between 10% and 50% pork, and was likely to have been contaminated deliberately.
But Paragon today challenged the council’s test results and methodology, and said it was now clear its burger did not contain any pork. Leicester city council’s finding “was not based on a formal controlled sample in which samples are retained for further independent analysis,” MD Metin Pekin said in a statement.
“We have since obtained the DNA data upon which this report was based and sent it to an independent specialist. Based on the conclusion of this specialist, Paragon is satisfied and pleased to announce that the DNA data in actual fact show that the burger should have been declared as pork free.”
Nine formal tests conducted by Leicester city council on other batches of Paragon halal lamb burgers had also all come back negative for pork, he added.
Paragon said its good reputation had been damaged by the council’s allegations, and a spokesman added the company was currently seeking legal advice.
A council spokesman said the council was still waiting for detailed results for a second test on the affected batch of burgers. These results had initially been expected to come in this week but are now due next week.
“We can confirm that we have commissioned our own tests on different batches of the burgers removed from our schools,” he added. “However, as this is part of an active investigation we can’t comment on the findings of those tests, as this may prejudice any future legal proceedings.”