Several “halal” and non-halal issues have been brewing in the recent years, starting with the uproar over Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Hazelnut and Dairy Milk Roast Almond products back in 2014.
This was followed closely by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) revoking the halal certificate of popular cake franchise and restaurant Secret Recipe, not due to the use of “haram ingredients” but over issues involving cleanliness.
Then, at the end of last year, reports of Malaysia considering imposing new laws to make supermarkets nationwide supply different sets of trolleys (such as red for non-halal products) for consumers surfaced. At that time, Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin cited “multiple complaints” received about shoppers insisting on paying for non-halal products at regular checkout counters. The proposal was being discussed by the ministry to ensure that Muslims did not have to “worry” about their supermarket good being mixed with non-halal items.
And who can forget the concern over the “No Pork” signages which Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry enforcement director Mohd Roslan Mahayudin suggested were used to “deceive Muslims into dining in their premises”.
In not so many words, it’s clear that some Malaysians are particular about the food and products that they consume, especially discerning Muslims. And understandably so, in certain cases.
Last week, a picture of chicken eggs stamped with the “halal” logo went viral on social media, creating quite a controversy and going viral within hours. Why a controversy? This is because in essence, “halal” means lawful or permitted, and halal food is food that has been prepared according to Islamic law.
Certified “halal” food means that it’s free from pork products, alcohol, and certain other ingredients that are considered impure in Islamic law. But it also boils down to how the food is processed, made, produced, manufactured and/or stored using utensils i.e. equipment and/or machinery used in the process must also have been cleansed according to the Islamic law.
So one may then ask, it is necessary for individual chicken eggs to be certified “halal” with the stamp?
According to JAKIM, the “halal egg” issue has gone overboard as the producers of eggs had to stamp such labels only on the packaging of their products to show that the shells of the eggs had been cleaned properly after taking them from hatcheries. JAKIM added that the action by some egg producers placing the halal logo on each individual egg was against regulations relating to the halal label.
On top of that, JAKIM also urged social media users to be careful before trusting and sharing viral news/content.
Meanwhile, consumers can check the “halal” status of products via www.halal.gov.my.