02/05/2013 11:20 am ET Updated Feb 11, 2013

Pret A Manger Pulls 'Virgin Mary' Potato Chips After Catholic Backlash

Following religious protest, U.K. sandwich chain Pret A Manger has moved to pull its Virgin Mary potato chips from stores.

The chips' bag says they are “flavoured with Worcestershire sauce and chilli," ingredients found in the non-alcoholic version of the Bloody Mary cocktail, which is the inspiration for the chips' name.

Catholic group Protect the Pope led a campaign against the chips, which it claimed were offensive because its name could be interpreted as evoking Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ according to Christianity.

Clive Schlee, chief executive of Pret A Manger, decided to remove the chips from shelves after initially defending them. Pret spokesman Keith Beech explained the decision to The Daily Mail:

"The decision was made Friday morning as it became clear the crisps weren't popular... They were launched last week, so it was within a week of launch."

Beech added that the launch was limited to London. According to the BBC, an unidentified company spokesman revealed that though complaints had been few, the "strength of feeling" in them led Schlee to pull the chips.

Protect the Pope issued a statement on its website thanking Pret A Manger for the quick response:

“Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger deserve our unreserved thanks for listening to our concerns as Catholics and for acting so quickly to remove the brand of crisps. ... One of the things we need to go away and think about is what this incident tells us about how we defend our faith in the future. We’ve been passive for too long in the face of mockery of our faith and discrimination against us as Catholics.”

The pulled bags will be donated to homeless shelters.



Glass Potato Chips