Paragon Foods claims halal lamb burgers pork-free

A Doncaster processor at the centre of the Leicester halal lamb burger contamination claims has said independent testing showed its lamb burgers should have been declared “pork-free”.

In a statement sent to MeatInfo.co.uk, managing director of Paragon Metin Pekin said the council’s discovery of up to 50% pork in one of its halal lamb burgers earlier this month “was not based on a formal controlled sample, in which samples are retained for further independent analysis”.

Pekin said it has obtained the DNA taken from the culprit burger and sent it for independent tests. “Based on the conclusion of this specialist, Paragon is satisfied and pleased to announce that the DNA data in actual fact showed that the burger should have been declared as pork-free,” he added.

He said nine formal tests carried out by Leicester council on other batches of its halal lamb burgers were negative for pork.

Pekin said: “Our good reputation has been unfairly damaged by the publications since 8 May 2013 and we trust that it will now be fully restored.”

However, a Leicester council spokesman said: “We still await the detailed results of the second test on the affected batch of burgers. We can confirm that we have commissioned our own tests on different batches of the burgers removed from our schools. However, as this is part of an active investigation we cannot comment on the findings of those tests, as this may prejudice any future legal proceedings.”