The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian arm of British confectioner Cadbury says all of its products sold in Indonesia are halal, following the discovery of pork DNA in two of its halal-certified products in Malaysia.
In a statement from Cadbury Indonesia sent to The Jakarta Post on Saturday, the company said that it had not imported two Malaysian-made Cadbury confections, Milk Hazelnut and Milk Roast Almond chocolate, although both previously received approval in Malaysia.
Concerns emerged after Malaysian authorities said that the products contained pork DNA. Halal-certified food products must not contain any essence of pork, according to Muslim standards.
'We understand how truly important the issue is for our customers in Indonesia,' the statement said.
The company said that the Indonesian Ulema Council ( MUI ) issued halal certifications for all its other products imported from Malaysia, the manufacturing facilities and the raw materials used in production.
A Cadbury Indonesia representative who declined to be named to discuss the issue said on Saturday that the company would monitor the situation in Malaysia before taking further action.
According to Malaysian media, Cadbury Malaysia is standing by its halal certification and is awaiting the results of an analysis conducted by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia ( Jakim ), the local halal certification body.
'We stand by our halal certification and we have the highest levels of product labeling standards,' read a statement from the company, as quoted by The Star daily from Malaysia.
The discovery has reignited debate on the sensitive issue of halal products. For Cadbury consumer Nadia Aulia Rahmi, 22, the revelations in Malaysia have made her wary of the credibility of halal certifications.
'As a Muslim country, Malaysia should have higher standards for the halal certification process compared to Indonesia, where the regulations are more lax,' Nadia told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
'If Malaysians managed to make the mistake [of wrongfully identifying a product as halal], then what significance does the halal symbol even have?' the postgraduate student said.
Nadia, who said she always does research before buying, relies on the halal symbol to save her from guesswork for her strict Muslim diet.
Previously, the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency ( BPOM ) said that it had not issued import licenses for the two recalled Cadbury products and that any such products sold locally were imported illegally.
The agency also said it was acting to ensure that the haram products did not enter Indonesia's market.
The MUI's food and drugs unit, which has the authority to issue halal certifications, promptly tested 10 Cadbury products following the news in Malaysia.
According to the unit, no pork DNA was found in any of the products. ( tjs )