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Halal meat in Paris: Marine Le Pen

All meat in Paris is Halal remarked French far-right leader Marine Le Pen in her presidential campaign back to immigration on Sunday.

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Halal foods are foods that are allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines.Le Pen is third in opinion polls behind Socialist candidate Francois Hollande and Sarkozy. The first round of the presidential election is on April 22.

At a weekend congress of her National Front party in the northern city of Lille, Le Pen returned to familiar anti-immigration territory, asserting she had evidence that all meat in Paris was halal. Le Pen added that she would lodge legal complaints against distributors for misinforming consumers.

Le pen interacting with media said the state of affairs were an actual dishonesty and the government had been fully aware of this situation for months.

The main meat industry association, Interbev, denied the allegation saying the huge bulk of the meat in Paris was not butchered under halal or kosher practices.

The association's president Dominique Langlois said though some halal and kosher meat does found its way into other distribution channels that did not have any influence on the quality of the product in any way.

Taking advantage of dissatisfaction over globalisation and the money owing crisis in Europe, Le Pen had sought to attract voters by moving from a traditional importance on immigration and French identity to leaving the euro and imposing protectionist barriers.

Her viewpoint struck a chord, especially among working class voters suffering economic hardship.But most analysts consider her economic program as not believable and have questioned the plan of shifting from the party's core message.

Criticism of her economic policies has provided an opportunity for conservative Sarkozy to poach far-right voters as he did in 2007 when he ran on a strong security and immigration platform.

At one point in January, Le Pen was cracking at the conservative leader's heels, but a BVA poll Friday showed Sarkozy had an 11 point lead over her in the first round of the election, although Hollande would comfortably beat the incumbent in the May 6 runoff.

Announcing his campaign on February 15 Sarkozy had  insisted on limiting immigration and projected a referendum on battling illegal immigration, something the far-right has been championing for several years.

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