Chocolate maker Cadbury has recalled two products in mainly Muslim Malaysia after traces of pig DNA were found during a routine check for non-halal substances, Health Minister S. Subramaniam said on Tuesday.
While Cadbury was quick to recall the two products, many Muslims have reacted with anger to the news. Some Muslim groups even called for “jihad” or holy war against the company for what they call a “betrayal”.
Muslims who eat halal diets do not eat pork and its by-products, alcohol and animals not slaughtered according to Islamic procedures. Halal means permissible by Islamic law and the term covers not just food and drink but also all matters of daily life.
The routine check for non-halal substances was conducted by the ministry which over the weekend announced that two Cadbury products contained traces of pork.
Cadbury Malaysia, a part of the British multinational owned by Mondelez International, said it was withdrawing two candy bars, the Cadbury Dairy Milk hazelnut and Cadbury Dairy Milk roast almond products.
“Ensuring that all our products made here in Malaysia are halal is something we take very seriously,” the company said in a Facebook posting.
Despite Cadbury’s quick response, anger among Muslims is mounting. One senior religious official called for a hefty fine or a shutdown of the Malaysian plant.
Several Muslim groups claimed Cadbury had “crossed the line” at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
“They have betrayed us Muslims by putting haram elements in the foods we consume,” said Abu Bakar Yahya, a leader of Malay rights group Perkasa. Haram is the opposite of halal and means something forbidden by Islamic law.
Syaikh Ismail Muhammad, the grand imam of the national mosque in Kuala Lumpur, was quoted by Bernama news agency as saying tough action would serve as a lesson to other food producers to ensure their products were halal.
Health Minister Subramaniam said Cadbury, world’s second largest confectionery brand, was working with Islamic religious authorities by sharing samples to test for non-halal ingredients.
“We want to know how the product became contaminated with pig DNA. The health ministry will also do additional tests,” he said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-28