British Children denied pork because of others religious beliefs
A ban on bangers: Hundreds of school pupils denied pork because of ‘religious reasons’
By Pamela Owen
PUBLISHED: 09:11, 17 June 2012 | UPDATED: 15:24, 17 June 2012
Roast pork and sausages have always been a staple of British diets.
But now hundreds of school children will be denied them for school lunches because of ‘religious reasons’.
Pork, which is not eaten by devout Jews or Muslims, has been banned by councils across the country to satisfy the needs of staff and pupils who are not allowed contact with it.
However, it is thought many schools do not serve halal or kosher meat, so Jewish and Muslim children would not be able to eat it anyway.
The decision has been criticised by MPs who have said the ban will cause unnecessary resentment among pupils and religious leaders who said they never asked for a ban in the first place.
John Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said it was simply not an issue and added that Jews of a certain level would choose not to eat in non-kosher environments.
‘Children at mainstream school who are bothered would probably have packed lunches,’ he said to the Sunday Telegraph.
‘Children who are comfortable with using the same cutlery and crockery as everyone else would choose their dishes from the options available. It is live and let live – we are certainly not calling for this.’
Muslim leaders have only ever asked that halal and non-halal meat be handled separately in an effort to avoid any cross contamination and for clear labelling when serving school dinners.
Haringey Council, north London, recently issued advice to all its schools and recommended a ban to meet the needs of staff and pupils who are not allowed contact with pork for religious reasons.
Figures supplied by school caterer Pabulum, in the south-east of England, show that around 20 of the 48 schools it supplied chose non-pork options.
In Haringey’s infant, junior and primary schools, 37 out of 47 have a no pork rule. In Bradford 24 out of 160 schools choose not to have pork and in Newham, east London, 25 out of 75 opt out.
Luton has 23 out of 57 schools which choose not to supply pork to pupils and in Tower Hamlets, east London, 85 out of 90 do not offer a pork option. All schools offer a vegetarian option.
Conservative MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, Philip Davies, who has campaigned for clearer labelling on meat products said the bans were ‘misguided political correctness’.
He said he fully believed that pupils should be able to choose not to have pork but added that it was unfair to deny those with no objection to the meat.
Mr Davies said decisions like these could cause resentment among pupils and added that he hoped schools would change their stance.
Stewart Houston, chief executive of the National Pig Association said the decision by schools was disappointing and added that sausages and roast pork were a staple of British diets.