Published: 10:00 GMT Standard Time - Tuesday 01 March 2011
Government silence in halal labelling call
Country/Region: United Kingdom
Operation Nehemiah has stepped up its call for proper labelling of halal products and the right to choose non-halal alternatives after an unsatisfactory response from the government.
In September Jim Paice, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, told the Daily Mail that he was discussing labelling with the food industry. In letters to our supporters the government has claimed that they are working with interested groups to address our concerns.
But in the reply of 27 January to Operation Nehemiah's letter the minister stated:
Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention but unfortunately because of other commitments neither the Secretary of State nor I are available to meet you in the near future.
The contradiction between Defra's (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) public and private statements has prompted Operation Nehemiah to question why the government has failed to acknowledge our request to raise the issues with all relevant parties, dismissed our desire to discuss them further and refused our offer to provide additional information.
A reply has been sent to Mr Paice expressing disappointment and stating that since 11,500 thousand people have signed the halal petition so far, we believe this important issue should be given greater attention.
The petition recommends that halal food should always be labelled as such, and that non-halal alternatives should always be available to consumers.
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