Following the statement issued today by the Health Ministry, which confirmed that two Cadbury chocolate products contained pig (porcine) DNA, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has suspended the halal certification for the two products, with immediate effect.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry had tested these chocolates after rumours had spread on social media on May 23 that it had contained porcine DNA. He said in a press statement, “There were analysis done online and it showed that the chocolate was found to contain it” .
Cadbury Confectionery Malaysia Sdn Bhd today reassured Malaysians that it will recall the products involved from the market immediately, and that no other products made in Malaysia by Cadbury were affected by this test. The two affected chocolate products which contained pig DNA (porcine) have been recalled with immediate effect, these are: 1) Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut with the batch number 200813M01H I2 and expiry date November 13, 2014; and 2) Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond with the batch number 221013N01R I1 and expiry date January 15, 2015.
Providing further assurances, the company stressed that it will adhere to food safety and halal standards. We understand how important Halal is to the Muslim community. It is also of the highest importance to us here at Cadbury. Ensuring that all our products made here in Malaysia are Halal is something we take very seriously.
Since our first learning of this, we have been actively engaging with the concerned authorities to investigate the issue with the highest urgency. In a statement today, it said: “Since it came light, we have been actively engaging with the authorities to investigate the issue with the highest urgency. We understand that customers are disappointed to hear the news on the recent test by health ministry on two of our products”.
It further said: “We hear you and we value your comments and feedback over this issue. We understand how important halal is to the Muslim community. It is also of the highest importance to us here at Cadbury”. “We employ stringent quality procedures to ensure that our products are of the highest standard of safety and quality,” the statement said. Cadbury Malaysia on Saturday said it will undertake a full review of the supply chain to ensure all quality standards are met continually, and that all Cadbury chocolates manufactured in Malaysia are halal-certified by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).
It said that all details pertaining to its product including the locations and raw materials used in the production have been disclosed. Meanwhile, domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry will conduct immediate check to ensure chocolate products found to contain porcine DNA have been removed from the shelves by the manufacturer. Its deputy minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, said the ministry’s enforcement division will conduct checks at premises and outlets selling imported chocolates, including Langkawi, as well as airports, to ensure the two chocolate products found to contain the porcine DNA were no longer being sold.
The ministry advised people to read the batch number of a product before buying or consuming it. Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association’s (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan is disappointed over the chocolate issue involving Cadbury Confectionery Malaysia. Nadzim urged for all of the products processed in the same factory to be recalled from the market. We are disappointed with this issue. We want Cadbury to take full responsibility. In a way, it will undermine the confidence of consumers of the products,” he said.
PPIM also wants the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) to tighten its standard operating procedure (SOP) when issuing Halal certificates so that other companies may not take advantage of it.“JAKIM, as part of its SOP, or any relevant authorities should take random sampling at least once every two months on all products. This is a way to avoid this incident from happening again.
He added, “Previously, JAKIM will issue a fine or any warning and they will return the Halal certification. However, JAKIM needs to enforce its SOP strictly”. Meanwhile, the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) deputy president Muhammad Shaani Abdullah said stricter enforcement should be taken against food manufacturers in order for issues such as this not to be taken lightly.“We cannot blame JAKIM solely because food manufacturers will provide product samples when applying for their Halal certification but it is not practical for JAKIM to inspect all products after that.