PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) recommendation for Auntie Anne’s to rename its “pretzel dog” has stirred an Internet debate among Malaysians.
Netizens reacted with both humour and support for Auntie Anne’s after it was revealed that among the reasons its halal certification was held up was due to an item called the “pretzel dog” on the menu.
On the chain’s official Facebook page, user cinsaki, using the handle @zafrialbar on Twitter, posted a suggestion.
“I guess pretzel dog should be changed to pretzel dachshund. Our people wouldn’t know,” he wrote.
Another Twitter user Dell, using the handle @kinabaludude86, wrote “since Pretzel Dog is such an issue for Auntie Anne’s (as a) product name in Malaysia, let me suggest a new name for it – Pretzel Makcik Ani.”
Social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, in her Facebook yesterday, also touched on the issue, saying among other things: “Oh we poor easily confused Muslims who have never heard of hot dogs before.”
Jakim recently recommended that Auntie Anne’s change the name of its “pretzel dog” to “pretzel sausage” in order to receive a halal certification.
“It is more appropriate to use the name ‘pretzel sausage’. Malaysia’s good name as a pioneering halal global figure needs to be improved.
“To avoid this issue at the global stage, the panel has decided not to use such a name,” said Jakim Halal Division director Sirajuddin Suhaimee on WhatsApp yesterday.
In a statement earlier, Jakim clarified that it did not label Auntie Anne’s as not halal.
Jakim explained that Auntie Anne’s food products were in the process of getting a Malaysian halal certification.
It said that this was done after some improvements to the franchise’s application.
This week, Jakim’s rejection of Auntie Anne’s halal certification application went viral on social media and blogs, with many Muslims questioning the halal status of its food items.
In response, Auntie Anne’s Quality Assurance (QA) and Halal executive Farhatul Kamilah explained in a Facebook post on Monday that its halal application had been rejected due to the “hot dog” name and administration issues.
Jakim wanted Auntie Anne’s to rename the food product and reapply for the halal certification for its outlets based on zones to facilitate the auditing process.