Food outlets selling hot dogs in Malaysia have been asked to rename their products or risk being refused halal certification.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious governmental body, said it adopted the ruling because it is confusing for Muslim consumers in that it contains no dog meat. Dogs are deemed unclean in Islam.
The U.S. fast food chain Auntie Anne’s was asked to rename its popular Pretzel Dog.
“It is more appropriate to use the name Pretzel Sausage,”' the Islamic department’s halal director Sirajuddin Suhaimee told local media.
Malaysian Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz criticized the ruling.
“Hot dog has always been known to be a Western food,’ Azis said. “It comes from the English language. It is a Western food. Please do not make us seem stupid and backward,” he said.
Auntie Anne’s said it will comply with the request. Its halal executive, Farhatul Kamilah, said on her Facebook page that the chain has proposed several new names and is waiting for the Islamic department’s approval.
Muslim majority Malaysia practices a moderate form of Islam, but conservative attitudes are on the rise.