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Swedish halal sausages laced with pork

Sweden has found halal-marked salami for sale that contains more than 10 percent pork, which observant Muslims do not eat.

Swedish halal sausages laced with pork

Swedish National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) said on Wednesday that the pork meat came from Slovenia.

“We are now going to inform the EU about our analyses and follow up with the company that sold this wrongly labelled salami in Sweden,” agency spokeswoman Louise Nyholm said in a statement.

“It is unacceptable that products that are labelled halal contain pork meat. There are a lot of people who absolutely do not want to eat pork meat, so it’s important that companies take responsibility and verify that their products are not sold on false grounds,” she added.

Observant Muslims avoid pork as its consumption is prohibited by Islam.

The agency did not disclose how much falsely marked meat had been sold or for how long it had been on the market.

The Islamic halal method of killing an animal requires its throat to be slit and the blood to be drained. The method is forbidden in Sweden because the animals are not anaesthetized before slaughter.

The food agency said the salami contained around 10 percent pork meat, far above the 1-percent level usually considered as contamination.

The agency said it had tested 99 food products for pork DNA, nine of which tested positive. Eight of the samples contained less than one percent pork, and of those, seven had less than 0.1 percent.

European countries have stepped up food controls in response to the recent food scandal which saw millions of frozen ready meals pulled off supermarket shelves after tests showed meat labelled as beef contained large quantities of horsemeat.

AFP/The Local/at

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CLIMATE

Why does Sweden’s love for vegetarianism create an appetite for objection?

A number of schools in Sweden have cut meat from their menus in recent years, sometimes provoking strong reactions, and companies have also experienced backlashes.

Why does Sweden’s love for vegetarianism create an appetite for objection?
File photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The cultural and historical position of meat as a staple of the national diet is a major reason for opposition to modern trends which promote vegetarianism, according to researcher Richard Tellström, an associate professor in food and meal science and an ethnologist at Stockholm University.

“Meat has always had a high status,” Tellström told TT.

When IT company Telavox recently announced it was dropping meat from its events and meetings, it came in for criticism from a number of customers, with some even saying they wanted to cancel contracts.

“This turned out to be a sensitive topic, perhaps more sensitive than I envisaged,” the company’s HR manager Filip Johansson said.

The decision by Telavox was not an attack on the meat industry, but an attempt to raise the issue of the effect of meat consumption on the climate, he said.

“It’s actually quite a soft action, but some people consider it an affront. They react to what they see as pointed fingers and forced changes. But we have also had positive reactions, so you have to weight things up,” the HR manager added.

Some municipalities in Sweden have trialled removing meat from school dining rooms on some days of the week. At a school on Orust, teachers protested that vegetarian lunches resulted in tired children who could not concentrate on lessons, GT/Expressen reported earlier in the year.

In other areas, parents have resisted vegetarian lunches in schools. In Mörbylånga, a mother called for “honest home cooking” in response to a vegetarian day at her son’s school, and reported the school’s headmaster to the local municipality, saying her child had been left hungry by the food that was served, local media Barometern reported in April.

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“If I deprive you of the right to practise your culture, you will naturally feel offended. And food is as culturally loaded as clothes, books, art and music,” Tellström said.

Historically, meat has been in short supply, and this is part of the reason it has a valued status in Sweden, the associate professor said.

Swedes are so secular and rational in their values that they easily forget food is an expression of those values, Tellström also noted, saying this is a reason why banning or excluding meat can provoke strong reactions.

At the same time, there is a growing trend towards opting not to eat meat, particularly amongst young people in urban areas.

“This is an urban phenomenon, and more and more people live in cities. We can also see a clear distinction between the food cultures of younger and older people, and also between men and women, in a way we haven’t seen before,” the researcher said.

“I think we should be careful about limiting people’s cultural expressions and speaking on their behalf about how to create a better world,” he added.

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