Before you celebrate your birthday at McDonald’s, remember to make sure that your cake has been certified halal!
The fast food chain has released a statement explaining that all birthday cakes must be accompanied by a halal certification or logo in order to be brought in their premises.
The full statement reads:
“As a company that offers only halal-certified products, we implement a ‘no outside food policy’ to ensure that all products served and consumed at our restaurants are halal. In the case of ‘birthday parties’ at McDonald’s, we have made an exception to allow customers to bring in their own birthday cakes as part of their celebration, provided that the cakes are certified halal.
This condition is critical to preserve the integrity of our halal certification. Moving forward, we will continue to strictly uphold all standards and requirements related to food quality, safety and halal so that all our customers may enjoy our products with peace of mind.”
This comes after a photo of the notice regarding its halal regulations went viral on social media. In the notice, McDonald’s requested for all customers to abide by the regulations as it could potentially affect the halal status of all McDonald’s outlets in the country.
When contacted by Free Malaysia Today, Jakim responded that the halal guidelines are there to “prevent food from getting mixed up and to stave off any doubts about the halal standard of the restaurants”.
Jakim halal hub division director Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee said that not only must the food prepared in the premise be certified halal, the food that enters the premises must also be halal. He continued to explain that non-Muslims are also subject to the guidelines, and the responsibility falls on the halal-certified restaurant to make sure that the regulations are obeyed.
UPDATE (3rd January):
In response to the uproar over the recent notice about halal-certified birthday cakes, McDonald’s Malaysia has released a follow-up statement on their website. In the statement, the fast food chain apologised for the misunderstanding that the notice has caused, adding that they had no intention of discriminating their patrons.
“At McD, we have always practiced a ‘No outside food allowed’ policy, but have made exceptions for birthday cakes as they are important for celebrating special occasions. However, in order to maintain our Halal status, we have to ensure that all products consumed in our restaurants are Halal certified as required by JAKIM,” the company explained.
“We sincerely thank all Malaysians who have given their thoughts and opinions. More importantly, we appreciate that you care enough to share your views with us, and we will continue to improve to make McDonald’s a place that is truly for all Malaysians,” they added.
Meanwhile, the online debate continues to brew over McDonald’s Malaysia’s decision to ban non-halal cakes, with home bakers arguing that the ingredients for cakes e.g. flour, eggs, sugar are generally halal. Netizens have even taken to McDonald’s Malaysia’s Facebook page to slam the company’s decision for implementing such a rule.
“Truly for all Malaysians? Don’t sell beef products as there are a lot of Buddhists and Hindu friends who do not consume beef. If you can’t do so, don’t mention truly Malaysian in your statement,” one Facebook user commented.
“That means those homemade cakes need to get Halal certificate from Jakim? You make no sense. I’ll never bring my kids for a Happy Meal any more. Ain’t that happy with your poor policy,” another said.
Note: 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.
Malaysians aren’t strangers to the ongoing halal/non-halal issues, which have seen arguments brewing in recent times. In October last year, popular pretzel food chain Auntie Anne’s was denied a halal certification simply because there was an item named “Pretzel Dog” on their menu. The company later renamed the item to “Pretzel Sausage“.
Everything that you need to know regarding the halal/non-halal issue here.
Sources: The Star Online, Free Malaysia Today, McDonald’s Malaysia, MMO.
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