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Society – Blasphemous flavour

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Online supermarket Ocado has seemingly stopped selling a product which uses gratuitously offensive language about Jesus Christ.

The Christian Institute raised concerns after a supporter complained about ‘Christ on a Bike’ beef jerky, which is one of the flavour descriptions for the Billy Franks company that makes it. The spicy beef jerky — dried strips of meat — is one of three items Ocado sells from the Billy Franks company.

However, a member of staff has now told one Institute supporter, ‘I’d like to reassure you that we no longer stock the product and did not mean to cause any offence’.

The supermarket, the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer, has removed the product information from its website. The suppliers, Billy Franks, has also apologised for the offence caused.

Ciarán Kelly, deputy director at the Institute, said: ‘Jesus Christ is the very heart of the Christian faith. Using his name in such a blasphemous, throw-away fashion is hurtful and saddening’.

Evangelical Times’ news editor approached the Billy Franks company directly on Twitter and asked if the firm might consider rethinking its packaging when it next comes to do a rebrand.

A spokesman for the company, which has strong ethical values in the sourcing of its meat products, responded promptly and politely, stating: ‘Thanks for your note, glad to hear you are a fan of our values. We’ve been making this flavour for over five years and haven’t had any complaints until last week. The flavour is named after the hot sauce we use in our marinade, which got its name from the British public via a twitter competition.

‘We believe it was chosen because, like the popular British colloquialism of the same name, it is meant to express the surprise and shock one gets when they try the fiery hot sauce — not to mock one’s faith or beliefs. But we are now rethinking our flavour names ahead of our next print run’.