Islamic halal meat has been served to politicians in the House of Commons’ restaurants without their knowledge, prompting MPs to call for tougher laws on food labelling.
Halal meat is prepared in accordance with Islamic law by cutting an animal’s throat while a Muslim butcher recites a religious verse.
Officials have admitted that the Commons catering service had “unknowingly received” halal poultry from its supplier, and that this had been served to unwitting customers.
The revelation has outraged politicians who have called for the Government to impose stricter laws on food labelling.
Greg Knight MP said: “This underlines the need to have proper labelling in place so people actually know what they are eating. It seems to me that there has been this drive in the food industry to do everything halal so it doesn’t offend people.
“But as a consumer I would like to know what I am eating and how it was killed. The issue needs to be addressed and I hope it is something the Coalition does shortly.”
Fellow Conservative Philip Hollobone said: “I am angry because I don’t think it is that difficult a problem to solve. It just needs the political will to do it.
“We are waiting for Europe to do something rather than taking the initiative ourselves or maybe the Government is frightened about upsetting ethnic minorities.”
And Andrew Rosindell, the secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, said that consumers had a right to know what they were eating.
The Commons catering service is now looking for new food suppliers who can tell them how the meat they sell is killed.
In September it was revealed that Britain’s biggest supermarkets were selling Islamic halal meat, without marking it as such on the packaging.
A Mail on Sunday investigation found that Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield, the Co-op, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer all stocked halal meat.
The investigation also revealed that fast food chains Domino’s Pizza, KFC, Pizza Hut, Nando’s and Subway all currently sell halal meat without telling customers.
Last month it emerged that Waitrose was set to introduce non-halal lamb in the Prince of Wales’ Duchy range following complaints from customers.
Prince Charles launched the Duchy Originals range in 1990 to raise the profile of organic food, but in September a newspaper revealed that all of the lamb sold by Waitrose was halal.
A spokesman for Prince Charles, who will become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England when he becomes King, said he was unaware that the Duchy Original Lamb was being killed in accordance with Islamic law.