Whitbread has rebutted national press stories that it has been misleading diners by secretly adding pork to its beef lasagne.
A story in The Sun suggested that the group had added pork to lasagne that was still being listed on menus as containing solely beef.
But a spokeswoman told The Caterer that printed menus were corrected when the constituents of the dish were changed last September.
A statement from the Brewer’s Fayre, Table Table and Premier Inn owner said: “We strongly refute The Sun’s claim that we have added pork to our lasagne recipe at our restaurants without telling customers. We believe that The Sun [is] using an old menu which has not been in use in our restaurants for some time.
“We changed the menu from ‘beef lasagne’ to a more authentic ‘lasagne’ recipe that includes pork, in September last year and, at that point, we updated the menus in all of our restaurants to reflect the change,” it continued. “As most people will be aware, a traditional Italian lasagne recipe would typically include a beef and pork ragu. We are confident, therefore, that our customers would have been presented with the correct menu when ordering their meal.
“We mistakenly, and with no ill intent, missed updating the website/online menus for our Table Table and Whitbread Inns brands, but as soon as we were alerted to this we corrected them. This was a genuine mistake on our part and we sincerely apologise to customers if this resulted in any confusion when they were presented with the correct menu at the restaurant.”
The online menus state the dish is made with a beef and pork ragu, but the printed menus handed to customers just say lasagne without explanation of ingredients.
The Sun and other nationals have alleged that the inclusion of pork would potentially outrage members of the Jewish and Muslim communities. However, a spokesman for the Chief Rabbi’s Office said: “This is an issue which does not really affect members of the Jewish community who observe the laws of ‘Kashrut’. This is because for any food item with meat content to be considered kosher, it must supervised by the proper authorities throughout the production process. Since [Whitbread] does not have this unique, kosher supervision, there is no danger that an observant Jewish person would have purchased any of their products.”
The Muslim Council of Britain was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.