Muslim convert disgusted after tasting ale in a non-halal steak pie

Janet Franks (left) and Amanda Critchlow (right). Picture: Abby Ruston

A Muslim convert was disgusted after she tasted ale in a non-halal steak pie at a supermarket cafe.

Amanda Critchlow, 56, was tucking into a slice of steak pie in the cafe at the main Asda store, in Holles Street, Grimsby, when her daughter Rebecca noticed that something was not quite right with the meal.

The pie was labelled as being a steak pie on the menu, but after Rebecca sampled a piece she told her mother she could taste ale in its sauce.

The pair confronted staff at the cafe who said the pie did indeed contain ale, and Amanda said there had been no indication of there being so on the cafe’s menu.

Amanda, who has been a Muslim for the past eight years but who does eat some non-halal meat, told the Grimsby Telegraph she now feels guilty because consuming alcohol is forbidden in her religion.

Amanda, of Harrington Street, Cleethorpes, said: “I’m a recovering alcoholic and a practising Muslim – I wouldn’t even eat a wine gum.

“I have been going to that cafe every Thursday for the past few months to have their steak pie.

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“It’s a lovely pie and now I know why I like it so much. I couldn’t believe it when the staff told me it contained ale.”

She added: “Medically, I know it is not going to harm me, but it is the fact that you don’t know what you’re eating.”

Amanda was also dining with her 80-year-old friend Janet, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and her medication specifies that she cannot consume alcohol.

Amanda and her daughter have since lodged a complaint with Asda, who told the pair to contact Compass Group – a catering company which operates a number of Asda’s cafes.

However, Amanda and her daughter said Compass told them that they were not in control of what was sold at the cafes.

Asda told the Grimsby Telegraph that it would be changing the signs and added that it would be contacting Amanda to apologise to her personally.

Amanda added that she had been left feeling frustrated with the discovery in her pie after making the effort to not consume drink for the past 28 years following a past of alcohol addiction.

She said: “When my addiction was at its worst I was drinking 15 bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale a day.

“I collapsed one day and the doctors told me that my liver had had enough.

“I was given the decision: carry on drinking or die.

“I haven’t touched drink from that day to this. I used to work all day each week and drink at the weekends.

“I am delighted to say I took heed of the advice given to me. If I can do it anyone can.

“That’s what makes this whole pie episode so frustrating.”

Amanda and her daughter returned to the cafe at Asda a week later but said the menu had not been altered, despite their requests.

She said they had now received a gift voucher of £25 from Asda as an apology for any upset caused.

Amanda said: “We went back to the cafe and I felt like tapping on people’s shoulders to tell them all about it.

“My friend Janet has been left frightened by the whole experience and it has lost her trust with eating in the cafe.”

Amanda’s daughter Rebecca Powner, 33, of Grimsby, works as a cook at Eastwood House care home.

She said: “It shouldn’t be allowed.

“If Asda was selling a coffee and walnut cake, they wouldn’t hide the fact that it contains nuts.

“It is not acceptable.”

A spokesperson from Asda said: “We only have a small space to display names in cafe and the ale amount in the pie, which is a trace, wasn’t large enough to go in the main title.”

The company added in a statement: “We completely understand the customer’s frustration particularly when they are unable to have alcohol and we are currently working to change our sign in store to state ale as a result of this.

“We’re sorry for any upset caused and we’re in the process of changing the labelling in store.”

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