RIYADH – Saudi authorities have launched a new probe to test products of chocolate maker Cadbury for pork traces after two products were found with pork DNA in Malaysia, warning that "strong measures" would be taken if the chocolates revealed any traces of pork.
“Cadbury products manufactured in Malaysia are not registered with us since we import from other countries such as Egypt and the United Kingdom,” Salah Al-Maiman, deputy executive chairman of the food section at the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), said in a statement cited by Arab News.
“Nevertheless, the SFDA will take strong steps if any sample tests positive for porcine DNA traces,” he added.
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Concept of Halal Meat
In the statement published on its website, SFDA said it has pulled out a random selection of Cadbury chocolate bars from the market to test for traces of porcine DNA.
Controversy started when pig DNA traces were found in two chocolate products following tests conducted by the Health Ministry.
Reacting to the discovery, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) immediately suspended the products' halal certification, while Cadbury said it would recall them from stores.
Moreover, thirty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also urged the public to boycott all products made by Cadbury.
The Saudi strong-worded statement warned that "strong measures" would be taken if the chocolates being tested revealed any traces of pork.
A similar decision was taken earlier this week when Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, announced they were testing products made by the British confectioner to see if they complied with Islamic standards.
Malaysian authorities have warned that it remains unclear if the contamination of two varieties of Dairy Milk chocolate bar with pork was Cadbury's fault or was a result of "external factors".
Cadbury Malaysia said in a statement it had withdrawn the two products as a precaution and that it had no reason to believe there was pork-related content in its other foods.
"We stand by our halal certification and we have the highest levels of product labeling standards," it said.
After Cadbury’s controversy, a Malaysian investors group has demanded halal units in different firms to guarantee their adherence to Islamic dietary rules.
“Problems involving these requirements are a big deal. If a representative is not appointed to ensure compliance with the halal standards, this problem will not be solved,” Norizam Tukiman, president of the Malay Strategic Investors Association Malaysia (PPSMM), was quoted in report by Berita Minggu.
“The individual or officer from that special unit can be tasked with the responsibility because it is impossible to expect the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to be in the companies 24 hours a day,” he said.
PPSMM calls followed announcement last Thursday by Malaysian Muslim retail group in which it asked the 800 stores it represents to stop selling all products made by Cadbury, Mondelez and US food giant Kraft, which acquired Cadbury in 2010 in a $19-billion deal.
The group, along with a Muslim consumer group, called on Malaysians to boycott all those companies' products.
Islam considers pigs unclean because they are omnivorous, not discerning between meat or vegetation in their natural dietary habits unlike cows and sheep for instance, which eat only plants.
Muslims do not eat pork and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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