KUALA LUMPUR: The halal or haram status of a foodstuff depends on its content and not its name, said Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) never wanted to declare “hot dog” as haram.
“Jakim will be having a meeting with Auntie Anne’s this evening (yesterday).
“We understand that the company wants to maintain its branding as the name is already popular, so we can discuss this matter,” he said in a press conference at Parliament.
Jamil also pointed out that the application of a halal certification by a company was done voluntarily.
“They want the halal certification and in order to obtain that, they need to comply with certain requirements.
“In some cases, foodstuff have names that are unpleasant and we would certainly advise them to change the names,” he said.
Commenting on a Facebook post claiming that Jakim had declared hot dog as haram, Jamil said it was fake.
He did not give a clear response when asked to comment on Jakim recommending the pretzel franchise to change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to “Pretzel Sausage” in order to receive halal certification.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki explained that the halal certification of Auntie Anne’s was still at discussion level.
He said the application, which was put forward in August, was already at the central kitchen auditing phase.
He also dismissed claims that Jakim had declared Auntie Anne’s as non-halal.
“This is not true at all. We found out that a fake account was set up to spin it into a big issue,” he said in reply to Ng Wei Aik (DAP-Tanjong) in Parliament yesterday.
Umno has also weighed in on the confusion, urging Jakim to reconsider its decision.
Party vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the purported ban on the name “hot dog” was a non-issue.
“I just don’t get it. I have been eating hot dogs all my life! It’s never been an issue.
“Jakim has always taken public opinion into consideration.
“So if public opinion doesn’t divide, then it’s not an issue. Undivided public opinion is the way forward,” he said.
Hishammuddin said it did not make sense to allow a trivial matter such as the name of hot dog “to divide the public”.
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