Confused, Muslim group wants Putrajaya to clarify Cadbury’s halal status

A staff removes packages of Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut that have been confirmed to contain traces of pig DNA from a shelf at a local supermarket, Kuala Lumpur, May 24, 2014. — Bernama pic
A staff removes packages of Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut that have been confirmed to contain traces of pig DNA from a shelf at a local supermarket, Kuala Lumpur, May 24, 2014. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — A Muslim consumer group today pressed Putrajaya to iron out the confusion over the halal status of some Cadbury chocolates tainted with porcine DNA, noting that the country’s top two Islamic authorities had both issued conflicting remarks on the controversy.

Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia (PPIM) president Datuk Nadzim Johan said the National Fatwa Council’s decision yesterday would render as hollow the halal certification process, pointing out the edict suggests that Muslims can consume porcine products when the contamination is beyond their control.

“You might as well close down the labs because what is the point of conducting tests now and enact a law that allows only the council to speak on such matters,” Nadzim said in a brief interview with The Malay Mail Online.

“I don’t know who to blame… so let the people decide which is which. I am just afraid that Muslims here would end up putting the blame on the government,” he added.

Yesterday the National Fatwa Council maintained its original decision that certain Cadbury products that were consumed were halal although they were later found to contain porcine DNA.

Council committee chairman Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin said the contamination “had occurred beyond the scope of control and was difficult to avoid.

“In the case of ready-made products that had been marketed and produced in a halal manner but later found to be contaminated with pig DNA in certain batches only, the committee has decided that it is categorised as Umum al-Balwa.”

The Malaysian Islamic Development Departmen (Jakim), which issues the halal certificates, took a different stand.

The Islamic agency, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Department, and the Health Ministry, are both conducting their own tests on Cadbury’s products.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced that it will carry out a thorough analysis of all Cadbury Malaysia products to make sure they are not contaminated with porcine DNA.

Jakim also launched its own probe into the matter and expects the Chemistry Department to complete its analysis of two samples of the contaminated chocolates early next week.

Sheikh Abd Kareem S Khadaied, an activist with the PPIM said it was surprising for the fatwa council to issue the edict when the results of the tests have not been concluded.

“As far as the civil laws are concerned, the matter is still pending, unless and until there is a clear decision,” he told The Malay Mail Online.

Nadzim said the group will continue to boycott Cadbury despite the edict as the products had clearly been contaminated.

“We will continue of course. Now you know there is pork in it, are you going to eat it?”

Meanwhile Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) chief Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman said he supported the fatwa but stressed that Cadbury must not be allowed to escape punishment.

“They cannot be forgiven because there is doubt now over the cleanliness of the chocolate-making process. Stern action must be taken because they were negligent and had lied to the Muslim people,” he said.

Muslim groups like PPIM and Isma had said that 800 retailers under the Association of Muslim Wholesalers and Retailers Malaysia (Mawar) would also boycott products manufactured by Kraft.

PPIM is also considering legal action.

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