LOCAL food charity organisations say they do cater for all races and cultures despite a new study highlighting the lack of take-up of food at foodbank and food aid outlets by ethic groups.

The study, published in the Journal of Social Policy, said the "unintentionally excluded" ethnic groups may also be explained by the existence of “alternative, hidden forms of food assistance” among the Pakistani Muslim community surrounding mosques.

Adrian Curtis, foodbank network director with the Trussell Trust, said: "We welcome the insights of this research. However, though foodbanks in the Trussell Trust network tend to be church-led, they serve people of all faiths and none.

"The only criteria that someone receive food is that they are referred by an agency and are in need of food.

"Foodbank volunteers and donors come from all walks of life and aren’t limited to one faith. And our foodbanks try as far as possible to provide culturally appropriate food for people in crisis - for example, halal or kosher meats or non-meat alternatives – and we have foodbank centres in a variety of faith and non-faith venues.

"The study itself suggests that Muslim communities may have other networks of help when they fall into crisis.

"We are really interested in more research on the coping mechanisms of ethnic minority communities which may affect the take-up of emergency food aid, and would be keen to speak to the researchers to see what insights we can offer.

"We’re really proud of the work of the volunteers of Bradford Foodbank in supporting thousands of people who find themselves facing hunger every month, and also know of other Trussell Trust foodbanks in predominantly ethic minority communities who would be able to share insights of their work helping these communities."

Keith Thomson, treasurer of Bradford Metropolitan Foodbank, said of the findings by researchers from the University of York, that the more cohesive nature of the Muslim community in Bradford could explain a lack of need for food support.

His comments were backed by the study which concluded that while there is little Muslim provision or use of food aid in the city, this could be explained by possible lower levels of food insecurity among Pakistani Muslims.

Mr Thomson told the Telegraph & Argus: “We get an enormous amount of food and money donated from inner city schools, where the pupils are predominantly Muslim, as well as from mosques and Sikh temples.

“Despite this, very little of this food goes back into the Muslim community.

“I think this is because it is a more cohesive community which looks after its own people, so the need is not there.”

Osman Gondal, founder and chief executive of In Touch Foundation which runs three weekly biryani food outlets in Bradford Keighley and Leeds, as well as issuing food vouchers added: "The report is interesting though I do know there is a lot of poverty among Muslim communities and I believe there is a massive requirement for support among these groups. The reasons these families may not queue for foodbanks may be for cultural reasons, perhaps pride.

"Many with children may be reluctant to queue among those with alcohol or drug-related problems. Also food at foodbanks may not be suitable for them.

"We run three biryani soup kitchens in Bradford, Leeds and Keighley but also give out food vouchers following referrals from our agencies so families can buy the food they need from supermarkets.

"I too also believe these families may be able to draw on support from their families or local community but it does not mean they are not in need."

Bob Doherty, Professor of marketing at the York Management School, University of York, said: “This is the first academic study in the UK to look in detail at the faith-based arrangements of Christian and Muslim food aid providers and explore how faith-based food aid organisations interact with people of other faiths and with the state.

“As such, it raises concerns about the accessibility of community food aid and the abdication of responsibility for food poverty by UK Government.”