KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 ― The local chapter of US pretzel chain Auntie Anne's confirmed today that it has changed the name of its “pretzel dog” to “pretzel sausage”, after it was reported that they would be denied halal certification if they refused to do so.
The company's executive Farhatul Kamilah Mohamed Sazali said the name was changed to meet the requirements set by the country's halal authorities.
“We changed already to ‘pretzel sausage’ to comply with Malaysia's halal certification requirements,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
On October 31, the company had posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying that it would fulfil all the requirements towards obtaining halal certification in the country.
“With the recent news circulating on our halal status, we would like to assure our loyal customers and friends that all our ingredients are purchased from Jakim certified halal suppliers,” the brand said, referring to the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.
Jakim previously denied that it had rejected Auntie Anne's application for halal status due to the presence of the word “dog” in its menu, and had blamed media for the public furore.
Its halal division director Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee said the chain’s application for halal certification had failed due to reasons such as incomplete paperwork.
Previously, Sirajuddin had told the media that “In Islam, dogs are considered unclean and the name cannot be related to halal certification” but later insisted his remark was in general and not specific to the Auntie Anne’s chain.
Media outlets reported Sirajuddin’s remarks about the unsuitability of the term “dogs” this week, along with the department’s guidelines against halal food items being similar in name to haram products such as beer, bacon and ham, among others.
The issue surfaced after an executive with US pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s revealed that their application for halal certification had failed due to, among others, concerns over the “pretzel dogs” in their menu.
Muslim lawmakers from both sides of the political divide have also expressed their disagreement with Jakim’s decision.
On the heels of the Auntie Anne’s controversy, non-halal pork burger chain Ninja Joe was probed by state religious authorities for allegedly confusing Muslims with its “P. Ramly” homage burger.