CHICKEN has been pulled from the menu for Muslims in police custody over fears it had been contaminated by pork products.

Police have now taken all meat off the table for Muslims as food was being labelled as 'produced in accordance with Muslim law' but was not Halal.

Lancashire Police Authority bosses insisted that no Muslim had been given one of the microwave meals on the premise and the decision to scrap the meals was taken to remove any confusion.

The new system, where only vegetarian meals are offered to Muslims, was introduced towards the end of last year.

But chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, Hamid Qureshi, said: "Taking meat totally off the menu is not right. They should be trying to provide Halal meat."

The issues came to light after it was reported to the Lancashire Police Authority by members of Independent Custody Visiting Scheme, which monitors standards in police cells.

It was raised after reports that imported chicken from Holland contained pork in order to retain moisture.

ICV scheme administrator Ian Dickinson said: "We are happy that the constabulary has reacted and looked in to this for us. "This was raised by the panel that inspected Greenbank Blackburn.

"What they noticed was that some of the food packaging said produced in accordance with Muslim law.' It was pointed out that this was not Halal.

"It refers to some of the utensils used to put the meal together as opposed to how the meat is slaughtered.

"We know that officers did not give these meals to Muslims on the premise it was Halal.

"No Muslims were told this food was Halal, but we wanted to take away any confusion.

"We tried to get assurances from the supplier that this type of chicken was not being used, but this was not possible."

He said that to avoid any confusion or uncertainty the constabulary introduced the new system.

The current stock of microwave meals will only be provided to non-Muslims until the stocks are used up.

Meals labelled 'produced in accordance with Muslim law' or similar will no longer be ordered and Muslim detainees are made aware that the faith compliance of any meals cannot be guaranteed with the exception of the vegetarian option.

If a detainee is in custody for more than 24 hours, consideration is given to providing a variety of appropriate meals from other sources.

A police spokesman said the member of staff who managed the contract was on leave and a comment could not be given.