Ban on pork in Islington’s primary schools

Banned: Pork products are off the menu at primary schools

Banned: Pork products are off the menu at primary schools - Credit: Archant

Sausages, chops and bacon off the menu due to cost of monitoring cultural restrictions

The Great British banger is off the menu for Islington children as pork has been banned in all the borough’s primary schools.

Islington Council has been criticised by the pork industry for refusing to dish up chops, sausages and bacon to youngsters, although the meat is served in secondary schools.

Despite pork being a cheap meat, the council claims it is too expensive to serve because the authority has to monitor what every child eats in case those whose cultural or religious beliefs forbid pork, eat it by accident.

Chris Godfrey, from the 100-year-old Godfrey’s butchers in Highbury Park, said: “I feel quite strongly about this.

“I don’t really feel we should pander too much to other religions. It’s not a bad thing to show consideration, but that shouldn’t restrict the choice of everyone else.

“The kids deserve to have a choice. I don’t think this helps anyone.”

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Dr Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, said: “This is something we are particularity concerned about.

“It’s something we have heard of but we wouldn’t say it’s common. It tends to happen in areas where there are large numbers of children from, for example, a Muslim background who wouldn’t eat pork.”

“But we would like there to be a choice. Pork is a very affordable and nutritious meat.

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington council’s executive member for children and families, said: “By not having pork on the menus in our schools, we can keep down costs and reduce food waste, maximising the schools meal budget in tough financial circumstances. We meet regularly with our catering contractor and stakeholders, and feedback is that schools are very happy with the food offered by the service.”

A council spokesman added: “Young children, some as young as 4-yrs-old, of different religious and ethnic backgrounds may not know which foods contain pork, or may not realise the importance of avoiding it due to their culture or beliefs.

“Monitoring each child, every day ensuring they are avoiding pork, is an unnecessary cost at a time of tight budgets.”