Auntie Anne’s denied halal certification

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PETALING JAYA: Popular pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s has been denied halal certification by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) for several reasons, including a request to change the name of one of its food items, the “pretzel dog”.

Auntie Anne’s quality assurance and halal executive Farhatul Kamilah Mohamed Sazali said the popular pretzel chain had submitted several options and was now waiting for a decision from Jakim’s panel.

“The ‘pretzel dog’ name has to be changed to a more appropriate name.

“Once we obtain the decision from Jakim’s panel, we will change our entire menu board before proceeding with a new application,” she said in a Facebook posting.

Apart from the name change request, Jakim had also demanded that Auntie Anne’s apply for halal certification for their central kitchen.

“The central kitchen is where the process of repackaging is done,” she said.

Farhatul said she had applied for the halal certification for all the 45 Auntie Anne’s outlets under one application, but this was rejected as she was told by Jakim to make separate applications for each outlet.

She said although Auntie Anne’s isn’t certified halal by Jakim at the moment, she stressed that the popular pretzel chain was striving to pass the stringent halal audit, which also takes into account the cleanliness of the outlets and the management of the food.

“I’m also a Muslim and this is my responsibility to the Muslim community. Pray that I succeed in securing the halal certification.

“For those who are doubtful, but still want to try Auntie Anne’s pretzels, wait for our halal certification first.

“Once Auntie Anne’s is certified halal by Jakim, I suggest that you try the Éclair Six and Jalapeno Cheese because they are both my favourite products.”

Several Facebook posts surfaced recently in which Jakim had allegedly responded to queries by the public on why Auntie Anne’s was not in the halal listing.

Farhatul’s post had since been shared almost 5,000 times and had more than 2,000 comments.