Red Lea butcher replaces all pork products with Halal-certified bacon-flavoured CHICKEN - to attract more customers in Sydney's Muslim heartland
Chicken supplier and restaurant chain Red Lea has removed bacon from menus
Wholesale customers now receiving flavoured chicken instead for key dishes
Sydney-based chain operating since 1957 has recently changed ownership
Restaurant owner described fake bacon in chicken mignon as like shoe residue
By Stephen Johnson For Daily Mail Australia (UK)
9 October 2017
A Sydney chicken supplier and restaurant chain has abruptly stopped delivering non-halal products including pork-based bacon and ham to attract more Muslim customers.
Red Lea sent out a letter to its franchisees and wholesalers telling them pork products would be taken off the production line.
This heralded an end to bacon-wrapped chicken mignon and bacon twists, with bacon-flavoured chicken used instead of cured pork.
'The benefit will be to improve the ability to achieve better halal compliance and competitive opportunities,' the memo said.
'There may be some issues with the transition but hope these are minimal.'
Half of the chicken chain's 38 stores are in western Sydney including in the suburbs of Auburn and Bankstown, which are home to a higher proportion of Muslims than any other part of Australia.
The change will see products that previously contained bacon substituted with bacon-flavoured chicken, including chicken mignon and cordon bleu.
The Bacon Twist is being renamed to Chicken Twist while Bacon and Cheese Deboned becomes Cheese Deboned.
Bobby Bradford, the owner of The Major Oak Theatre Restaurant at St Marys in Sydney's west, was upset at Red Lea's abrupt change to his chicken supplies after 20 years as a weekly, wholesale customer.
'We found out only two weeks ago that he decided to remove all pork products from the entire range of Red Lea,' he told Sydney radio 2GB presenter Ben Fordham on Monday.
'When we received them in the afternoon and opened up the mignon, it was like something from the sole of your shoe wrapped around a piece of chicken. It was like spam.'
Mr Bradford said just '0.001 per cent' of his customers requested halal products.
'It's certainly not a racist thing. They've taken away the opportunity for Australians to eat which they love which is pork or bacon,' he said.
He added he had taken chicken mignon with fake bacon off the menu, and is instead serving the halal chicken Kiev, after serving chicken mignon with real bacon as one of his main dishes for many years...