Three-quarters of schools under Waltham Forest Council control serve only Halal meat, the Guardian can reveal.
A total of 46 schools and academies supported by the local authority order only Halal meat from Waltham Forest Catering, their supplier.
Just one school serves both Halal and non-Halal meat and 15 serve meat from animals slaughtered using ‘standard’ methods, a Guardian enquiry has discovered.
The news comes after a row erupted at Larkswood Primary School in New Road, Chingford, last month when parents were informed meat served there would be replaced by food prepared according to the rituals of Islam from mid-April.
Parents said they had no issue with Muslim children practicing their faith and eating Halal meat but did not want these religious beliefs imposed on their own sons and daughters.
A council spokesman said: “All meat provided to local schools is certified by the Halal Food Authority. HFA certified meat is from animals that are stunned prior to slaughter.”
But grandmother Lin Walton, 63, of Forest Drive East in Leytonstone, said many parents might object to the way in which the animals die.
Halal meat is prepared by draining all the blood from the animal, and workers must recite the name of Allah during the slaughtering process. Pork is also forbidden.
The vegetarian, whose two grandchildren attend Barclay Primary School in Canterbury Road, Leyton, said: “People should be aware of what they are eating. There are ethical issues.
“It’s a very inhumane way of killing animals. I’m sure a lot of parents would object to it. The stunning doesn’t do much good. [If a school just serves Halal meat] it should be clear on their website.”
Waltham Forest is home to around 33,000 Muslims, equivalent to 15 per cent of the population, according to the latest available figures.
The Guardian has asked the council to list which schools do and do not serve Halal meat.
There are also 14 schools outside of the authority’s control which make their own meal arrangements.
A spokesman for the council said: “Waltham Forest Catering supplies Halal meat to 46 of the borough’s schools. Whether or not we provide them with Halal meat is a decision for each individual school.
“This is not an issue of cost, and more often than not comes down to simple logistics as many school kitchens simply aren’t big enough to allow staff to store and prepare two types of meat.”
Are you a parent in Waltham Forest? What do you think about the issue? Contact Joe Curtis on 07824 530 127 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.