Pig DNA in some of Cadbury Chocolate products?
KUALA LUMPUR: Believe it or not but the findings of a routine check in Muslim Malaysia suggest; some of Cadbury Chocolate products contained Pig DNA. The makers were thus forced to recall at least two products following the test’s result; for non-halal substances.
“Cadbury has voluntarily removed two of its products from the shelves,” said the Malaysian health minister, S Subramaniam.
The tests were conducted by the ministry which over the weekend announced that two Cadbury products contained pork traces.
Chocolate products are popular in Malaysia and can be found in most shops nationwide.
Pork and its byproducts are not considered halal – permissible – and are forbidden for Muslims to consume, along with alcohol and meat from animals not slaughtered according to Islamic procedures.
Cadbury Malaysia, a part of the British multinational owned by Mondelez International, said it was withdrawing the Cadbury Dairy Milk hazelnut and Cadbury Dairy Milk roast almond products.
“Ensuring that all our products made here in Malaysia are halal is something we take very seriously,” it said in a Facebook posting.
Anger among Muslims is mounting, with one senior religious official calling for a hefty fine or a shutdown of the Malaysian plant.
Syaikh Ismail Muhammad, the grand imam of the national mosque in Kuala Lumpur, was quoted by the Bernama news agency as saying tough action would serve as a lesson to other food producers to ensure their products were halal.
Subramaniam said Cadbury was working with Islamic religious authorities by sharing samples to test for non-halal ingredients. “We want to know how the product became contaminated with pig DNA. The health ministry will also do additional tests,” he said.
Cadbury is the world’s second largest confectionery brand after Wrigley’s.
Cadbury Malaysia past Saturday i.e. May 24 were left with no choice but to recall two of their product batches (chocolates) after being officially informed by Malaysia’s Health Ministry; these products tested positive for traces of porcine DNA. The makers were further informed that they even though the products had been ‘certified as halal and pork-free.’
The affected chocolates are Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut with batch number 200813M01H I2 that expires on Nov 13, 2014, and Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond with batch number 221013N01R I1 with the expiration date Jan 15, 2015. These chocolates were made in Malaysia and have been withdrawn from the market.
They were found to have traces of the DNA after Malaysian health officials conducted random checks in February, on Cadbury bars from the northern states of Kedah and Perlis. Results were only available in May and the report was leaked online before authorities could inform parties concerned. Even Malaysia’s Health Minister Dr. S Subramaniam found out about it through social media.
WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN?
“They stuffed pigs into our mouths, then apologized. This cannot be allowed,” said Mr. Azwanddin Hamzah, the president of Malay activist group Jaringan Melayu Malaysia, who has announced plans to sue Cadbury.
Other Muslim groups have declared “jihad” on Cadbury. The Secretary-General for the Islamic Information and Services Foundation Sabariah Adbullah said some people are so angry, they feel like the company should pay Muslims to have their blood cleansed. “We feel like we have been contaminated,” she said.
Cadbury Malaysia posted a statement on Facebook, saying “We hear the Muslim community’s need for a resolution.” It promised to work closely with authorities to make sure its products are compliant with halal guidelines and said it will be conducting its own tests.
HOW DID PIG DNA GET INTO CHOCOLATE BARS IN THE FIRST PLACE?
It is uncertain how pig DNA got into the affected chocolate. Online speculation has thrown up a range of theories – from the emulsifiers used, to the imported nuts, or whether Cadbury had changed suppliers. However, both the Malaysian Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) have not confirmed this. They said they are conducting thorough investigations and are making the incident a priority.
ARE OTHER TYPES OF CHOCOLATE CLEARED FOR CONSUMPTION?
For now, only the Cadbury Dairy Milk original chocolates have been cleared of traces of porcine DNA. Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut, Black Forest and other assortments have yet to be tested, and are still on supermarket shelves. Cadbury Malaysia said its other products made in Malaysia are not affected. Malaysia’s Health Minister has promised to step up checks, not just on Cadbury, but on other brands of food