PETALING JAYA: “Ham”, “bak kut teh”, “bacon”, “beer”, “rum”, “hotdog” and “charsiew”.
These are more examples of words that will cause the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) to refuse a restaurateur or food producer a “halal” certificate, according to a Jakim guidelines document spotted by FMT.
Many outlets in Malaysia serve beef bacon or turkey ham in lieu of actual bacon and ham which is pork based.
The list of words – which the department argues will confuse Muslims – has resulted in a few popular food and beverage brands in the country having to change their menus to obtain a “halal” certificate.
This includes renowned fast-food restaurant chain A&W, which has rebranded the “Coney Dog” and “Root Beer” to “Chicken Coney” or “Beef Coney” and “RB” respectively.
“We had to change the names if we wanted to be eligible to apply for the halal certificate,” A&W Quality Control and Halal Assurance Assistant Manager Shahidah Wahid said when contacted.
A&W, she revealed, had made the changes two years ago.
A quick check by FMT found that canned or bottled Ginger Beer and Root Beer produced by local beverage brands are these days marketed as Ginger Ade and Sarsparilla, respectively.
The issue of “forbidden words” for food and beverage products in Malaysia came to a boil Tuesday after it was reported that popular pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s was denied halal certification for several reasons, including having the name “pretzel dog” for one of its food items.
On Monday, Auntie Anne’s Quality Assurance and Halal Executive Farhatul Kamilah Mohamed Sazali said the popular pretzel chain had submitted several options for a food product and was now waiting for a decision from Jakim’s panel.
The “pretzel dog” name, she revealed, had to be changed to a more appropriate name, based on Jakim’s guidelines.
Once it gets a decision from Jakim’s panel, Auntie Anne will change its entire menu board before proceeding with a new application.
Meanwhile, Pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne’s has been asked to change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to “Pretzel Sausage” to receive halal certification.
This recommendation comes from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Star Online reported.
“It is more appropriate to use the name ‘Pretzel Sausage’,” said Jakim’s Halal Division Director Sirajuddin Suhaimee.
“Malaysia’s good name as a pioneering ‘halal global’ figure needs to be improved.”