Recently, a Hindu man named Jaswinder Paul, who claims to have eaten beef after it was labelled as lamb asked the supermarket to pay for his flight to India so he can “purify” himself by priests. He says that the meat he bought from a supermarket in New Zealand, named Countdown, was mislabeled.

He bought the meat at around late September and cooked it and ate it before he could recognize it as beef.

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In Hinduism, cows are considered to be a sacred symbol of life, and hence should be protected and respected. According to Jaswinder, he broke his religious vows by eating beef and needs to be purified in India by priests.

For that, Jaswinder wants Countdown to pay for his flight costs.

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He said, “According to my religion, I have to go back to my country and do sacred things for four to six weeks and be purified by priests, so I can continue on my religious path. It’s a long process.”

Jaswinder owns a small business, Headmaster Barbers, and has to shut his shop down during the weeks he travels abroad and that would cost him a lot of his income. Not only that, he would have to pay for a return flight, food and accommodation as well since he moved to Blenheim, South Island 20 years ago.

Because it wasn’t his fault, Jaswinder thinks the supermarkets owes him the costs.

According to a spokesperson from Countdown, Jaswinder had approached the supermarket shortly after the incident took place.

She explained, “Unfortunately, in September last year, an error with our in-store labelling resulted in a pack of our beef mince being sold with both beef and lamb labels, which was incorrect and obviously very confusing. We’re deeply sorry that this happened. We very much appreciate and respect Mr Paul’s beliefs and certainly, there was no intent to incorrectly label the product.”

The company apologized to Jaswinder and even offered him a $200 gift voucher which he declined.

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Jaswinder didn’t hear anything from the company for several months after declining the gift voucher and asking for his flights instead. So he went back to the store last week so he could speak to the manager.

The spokesperson said the company apologized yet again and offered him the gift voucher. But Jaswinder wasn’t satisfied with it. He says he might seek help legally.

He said, “I understand this looks like a simple matter, but for me, this is very hard. I break my religion [vows] because of someone else’s negligence. I know my society back from my home will not accept me with this breach of the religion’s conditions.”

Jaswinder claims that his family has not spoken to him after what happened.

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