Safeguard against halal product contamination, warns Eblex

Trace contamination in halal meat products can be safeguarded against if processors across England work with religious communities, Eblex has said.

According to Eblex, in light of the recent horsemeat issue, it has been highlighted that there are some cross-species DNA “carryover” when the same processing lines are used for different species.

“The red meat sector is mindful of the potential for concern and is urging all those involved in the halal sector to develop mechanisms to ensure there is no cross-species contamination, even at the smallest trace level,” said senior regional manager for Eblex Phil Hadley.

He also explained that good practice, linked with businesses working with ethnic communities, can help to avoid the issue.

“The horsemeat scandal has brought into sharp focus the integrity of supply chains and proteins being present in products, but not listed as ingredients. The secondary issue is where forensic levels of a second species have been found in some meat products,” he added.

“The Food Standards Agency believes that trace elements of less than 1% of other proteins are acceptable in some cases, but this is clearly not the case when dealing with religious communities. The halal sector is one example where nothing less than 100% product integrity must be maintained, and there are other faith groups also affected by this.”

He explained that Eblex was urging the processing sector to be “mindful” of the problem and to work with religious communities to ensure minimal risk to the integrity of fresh meat.

Hadley added that plants processing meat for halal on the same lines as other markets should, where possible, clean down the whole line before processing meat destined for religious outlets, with testing undertaken to ensure no residue was left.

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