News / Asia

Indonesia Tests Cadbury Products After Malaysia Halal Uproar

Bazeer Ahmed, a member of Malaysian Muslim Wholesalers and Retailers Association (MAWAR), a non-governmental organization, speaks to journalists during news conference on stopping the supply of Cadbury chocolate products to retail shops in Kuala Lumpur, May 29, 2014.
Bazeer Ahmed, a member of Malaysian Muslim Wholesalers and Retailers Association (MAWAR), a non-governmental organization, speaks to journalists during news conference on stopping the supply of Cadbury chocolate products to retail shops in Kuala Lumpur, May 29, 2014.
Reuters
Indonesian authorities said on Friday they were testing products made by British confectioner Cadbury to check if they complied with Islamic standards after two chocolate varieties in neighboring Malaysia were found to be contaminated with pork DNA.
 
The scandal over the ingredient banned under Islamic dietary laws has sparked outrage among some Muslim groups in Malaysia, who have called for a boycott on all products made by Cadbury and its parent Mondelez International Inc.
 
Concerns over halal food standards could jeopardize Mondelez's sales in Muslim markets that are larger than Malaysia, such as Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, and the Middle East.
 
“After such an incident, it is prudent to do a test on the other variants to see if they also have traces of the pig DNA. We may have the result in a few days,” Roy Alexander Sparingga, head of Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency, told Reuters.
 
Sparingga said the tests would be done on the 10 varieties of Cadbury products that are certified in Indonesia as halal - or permissible according to Islamic law. Those products did not include the two types of Dairy Milk chocolate that Cadbury Malaysia recalled this week after finding pork traces.
 
Malaysian Islamic authorities tried to cool anger against Cadbury by saying it remained unclear if the contamination was the company's fault.
 
“People need to understand that we can't immediately take action against Cadbury when there's no solid evidence yet or if contamination occurred in the factory itself or if it was external factors,” said Othman Mustapha, the director general of Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development, or JAKIM.
 
“What's happening to Cadbury now is akin to a person who's remanded and placed in lockup. They have not been found guilty so this is just a suspension,” he added.
 
JAKIM, which is responsible for awarding halal certification in Malaysia, is conducting further tests on the suspect Cadbury products to confirm the initial findings by the health ministry.
 
Malaysia authorities dampen concerns

Cadbury Malaysia said in a statement that it had withdrawn the two products as a precaution and that it had no reason to believe there was pork-related content in its other foods.
 
“We stand by our halal certification and we have the highest levels of product labeling standards,” it said.
 
Products in Muslim nations are regularly checked to ensure they are halal. Besides pork, items considered non-halal by Muslims include alcohol and the meat of animals and birds that have not been slaughtered according to Islamic rites.
 
Non-halal food scandals have erupted in Southeast Asia before. In 2001, Japanese food giant Ajinomoto Co Inc  became embroiled in a similar case after the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, the highest Islamic authority, accused the company of using pig enzymes in the production process of the widely used seasoning monosodium glutamate.
 
The then Indonesian president stepped in to try to defuse the row which had hit the company's share price. Ajinomoto's local company subsequently publicly apologized and withdrew some products from the Indonesian market.
 
On Thursday, a Malaysian Muslim retail group said it would ask the 800 stores it represents to stop selling all products made by Cadbury, Mondelez and U.S. food giant Kraft, which acquired Cadbury in 2010 in a $19-billion deal. Together with a Muslim consumer group, it called on Malaysians to boycott all those companies' products.
 
Mondelez is the name of what remains of Kraft Foods Inc after it spun off its North American grocery business as Kraft Foods Group. Its brands include Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers.
 
Malaysia's National Fatwa Council, which issues official guidance on Islamic issues, said on Friday it supported the withholding of halal status on the two Cadbury products but that the company should not be punished unless the breach was proven to be intentional.
 
“The authorities need to do their investigation to see if the accusations are valid, and to see where the pollution happened, whether it was deliberate or accidental,” Abdul Shukor Husin, the council's committee chairman, told Reuters.
 
“Muslim people who had consumed the product that had been certified halal but contained pig DNA should not worry about the purity of their bodies. Islam is not a rigid religion.”

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid