Leicester

Paragon Foods denies halal burgers contained pork

Paragon Quality Foods Limited in Doncaster
Image caption The halal lamb burgers were supplied to 19 schools in Leicester

A company accused of supplying halal food containing pork to schools in Leicester has said it is "completely innocent".

In April, Leicester City Council said a lamb burger from Paragon Quality Foods contained between 10% and 50% pork.

But the Doncaster-based firm said the sample tested by the council did not come directly from the factory.

A council spokesman said it would not comment further until the results of a second set of tests were completed.

The company said it was now considering legal action against the city council.

The original discovery was made on 18 April and the product was withdrawn.

A DNA test found the lamb burger contained between 10% and 50% pork.

Paragon spokesman Metin Pekin said: "These allegations have upset us beyond belief. I am from a Muslim family and we have never ever entertained pork on site.

"It is paramount that we get our reputation restored.

"This initial sample was a customer test... and we did not have a retainer sample and we could not test it anywhere else."

Leicester City Council said in an earlier statement: "Because it was only one burger that was tested and the findings were so wide-ranging, we have ordered further samples of more burgers and when we have these results we will publish them."

The authority said it "hopes to be able to make a fuller statement next week".

Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO), which is responsible for testing the samples, said: "Paragon Quality Foods have challenged the test results and, on behalf of Leicester City Council, we are in the process of seeking verification and a second opinion of the test results."

The lamb burgers were served at 19 schools around Leicester but were withdrawn after the discovery was made.

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