Pizza Haven - Bacon On Vege Pizza Allegations
Statement From Colin Mellar, National Operations Manager Of Pizza Haven (New Zealand)
Allegations were made by Mr Mohammed Sameem, of Hastings, on Friday, July 13, that traces of bacon had been found in a vegetarian pizza ordered and delivered from the Pizza Haven store in Hastings that evening. Mr Sameem, a Muslim whose religious beliefs prohibit contact with pork, subsequently complained to the Hastings police and to the Pizza Haven Hastings store. He also approached news media suggesting that Pizza Haven should pay costs for him and his family to go to Mecca to be ‘cleansed’.
Pizza Haven respects Mr Sameem’s religious beliefs and, on being informed of his complaint, immediately undertook to investigate further. However, we are still waiting for Mr Sameem to deliver the pizza in question back to us. With regards to atonement, we understand expert opinion on Islamic religious protocol suggests there is possibility for forgiveness without visiting Mecca. The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand made this point in a media release yesterday, saying “A Muslim can seek Allah’s forgiveness from anywhere in the world, at any time. The only requirement is that one should do so with a sincere heart.” The Federation “humbly” suggested Mr Sameem contact its office for clarification.
All Pizza Haven pizzas are made by hand and the company operates strict internal quality controls. It is also bound by health and safety legislation. Each year Pizza Haven prepares more than 14 million pizzas and serves 500,000 customers nationwide. This is the only complaint we have had of this nature in six years of operation.
The pizza delivered to Mr Sameem was prepared, by hand, as a Vegetarian Pizza. If bacon traces had inadvertently appeared in the pizza we can only apologise for this human error and any distress this has caused. However, we cannot comment further until we have had an opportunity to examine the pizza. It is also worth noting we have not at any stage been approached by or had dialogue with the lawyer reported to be acting for the Sameem family.