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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora