New agencies – February 21, 2012
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his far-right election rival Marine Le Pen traded blows on over claims that all meat in the Paris region is prepared using Islamic halal methods. Le Pen, trailing both Sarkozy and Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande ahead of the April 22 elections, made the claim at a rally and pledged to file a legal complaint for “misrepresentation of products”.
Campaigning on in Rungis, home of the main wholesale food market serving the Paris metropolitan area, Sarkozy accused National Front leader Le Pen of getting her facts wrong and creating an artificial controversy. “There is no controversy here. Every year we consume 200,000 tons of meat in the Paris region and 2.5 percent of it is kosher or halal,” Sarkozy said. Le Pen’s claim is “absolutely false”, Interior Minister Claude Gueant said, noting that, while there are halal slaughterhouses in the region, their products are clearly marked.