PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) has said restauranteurs and food producers should avoid certain words, including “beer” and “dog” in their menu as it would confuse Muslims.
Its vice-president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman also said the business community should be more sensitive when naming their products.
He was commenting on news reports that popular pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s was denied the halal certification by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) for several reasons, including naming one of its food items, the “pretzel dog”.
Jakim, Mohd Yusof said should also be more cautious when issuing halal certs to food producers to ensure such issues do not arise after a company obtains the certificate.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) lead activist Nadzim Johan echoed a similar sentiment, stating that the franchise in question ought to be mindful of the sensitivities of Muslims.
He explained that Jakim’s guidelines were in line with the teachings of Islam and would not lead to any confusion or negative perception.
The word “dog” in the menu, Nadzim said, was inappropriate.
“Jakim’s decision not to issue the halal certificate is right. Even though the food sold at the outlet is halal, an inappropriate name is not suitable. Consumers should be wary about purchasing such items.”
Yesterday Auntie Anne’s quality assurance and halal executive Farhatul Kamilah Mohamed Sazali said the popular pretzel chain had submitted several names for a food product and was now waiting for a decision from Jakim’s panel.
The ‘pretzel dog’ name, she said, had to be changed.
Once they obtain the decision from Jakim’s panel, Auntie Anne’s will change its entire menu board before proceeding with a new application.
Apart from the name change, Jakim had also demanded that Auntie Anne’s apply for halal certification for their central kitchen.
Farhatul said she had applied for the halal certification for all 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.