Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Of JAKIM's Halal certification, past practise and perception...



I chanced on a non-Muslim friend and our conversation touch on this "Halal" issue. As this particular friend is in food packaging business, the "Halal" certificate issue is really important to him. To make it short, he queries :-

1. Why did JAKIM retract their "halal" certification from QBB ghee product?;
2. Why did JAKIM list tupai-tupai Sg Tangkas as "non-halal"?;
3. Who is the authorising body for "halal" cert in Malaysia?;
4. What now, JAKIM?;

Is it Halal or is it not? A simple "yes" or "no" will do but the issue is getting cloudy by the minute.

I chanced on a non-Muslim friend and our conversation touch on this "Halal" issue. As this particular friend is in food packaging business, the "Halal" certificate issue is really important to him. To make it short, he queries :-

  1. Why did JAKIM retract their "halal" certification from QBB ghee product?;
  2. Why did JAKIM list tupai-tupai Sg Tangkas as "non-halal"?;
  3. Who is the authorising body for "halal" cert in Malaysia?;
  4. What now, JAKIM?;

Let's start with QBB pure ghee issue. JAKIM announced in their website that they have withdrawn their "Halal" certificate effective from 26th August 2010. QBB, on their part, took great pains to explain that the product has been consumed by Muslims all over the world for the past 20 years or so. It looks neat, eh. If Muslims has been using it for the past 20 years or so, that does not mean that it passed the "Halal" cert.

Granted that QBB pure ghee claimed that their source of product is from dairy cows' butterfat and JAKIM's reasonings for withdrawing the certification is due to some "unidentified" substance in the product. JAKIM never qualify that the substance is "non-halal" but just ambiguos thus JAKIM takes the safe course of action ie to withdraw their certification until the ambiguosity is verified. So, what's the solution? Simple! If QBB pure ghee has other certifaction from "recognised" Halal centres, then do place it on the packaging!

QBB pure ghee cannot simply rely on "past" record to claim that it is "Halal" because if Muslims has been mislead for the past 20 years, then QBB pure ghee cannot just continue to mislead them for the next 20 years! It is of utmost important for QBB pure ghee to verify what is the "unidentified substance" mentioned in JAKIM's explaination and get to the bottom of it pronto. QBB pure ghee needs to be pro-active if they want to reolve the issue. Waiting for JAKIM to produce their result reflects QBB pure ghee's attitude!

My call? I will opt to crossed out QBB pure ghee until they manage to produce "Halal" cert from other recognised bodies or until JAKIM issue another statement to say that QBB pure ghee is halal and re-certify the product as "Halal". You won't die for not eating QBB pure ghee, will you?

As for my friend who use QBB pure ghee for his product, I wish him well to find a temporary replacement for QBB pure ghee if he wants to maintain his JAKIM's "Halal" certification.

Next, JAKIM mentioned that Restoren Tupai tupai kampung sungai Tangkas failed to meet the "Halal" certification. Now, now what is the problem? Truthfully, I have never been to that particular restaurant but a few questions did pass by. Did the restaurant display JAKIM's "Halal" logo? If they did, then which part of their processes do not conform to JAKIM's standard? Is it the raw materials?, is it the finish product, is it the methodology to prepare the product, is it the human factor? The least JAKIM can do is to list out where this restaurant fail to comply to JAKIM's standard. Or is it because this restaurant display the Bufet Ramadan promotion?

If it is just because this particular restaurant display the bufer Ramadan promotion, is it really JAKIM's prerogative to determine who can display the Ramadan bufet? My friend continue to say that JAKIM's officials pointed out to issue of workers not brushing their teeth, not wearing stockings etc. Is that really true? On top of that, this restaurat owner claims that he is losing RM 30K per day. Wow! This owner is currently consulting his lawyers to take legal action against JAKIM. My question - is it really necessary to drag JAKIM to court? Let me put it in another form, being Malay and Bumiputra does not mean that your product is "Halal".

My other friend from SIRIM used to tell me of instances where the mak ciks from kampungs selling kerepeks giving him "that look" when he pointed out that their product is suspected of being "non-Halal". Yes, if you use a non-halal cooking oil, then for sure your kerepek becomes non-Halal too, regardless of you being a Muslim or not. Simple as that! For that, I hope my restaurant owner friend will understand the situation and take it in a positive manner so that he can works on producing "Halal" and "Toyibbah" food and services.

As for the authorising body to issue "Halal" certificate, I thought it is already clear that JAKIM is given the authority to certify "Halal" product. If anyone from the Ministry of Domestic Trade thinks otherwise, please come forward and present your case. Why do I say that? This friend of mine claimed that an officer from Ministry of Domestic Trade claimed that the ministry is the sole authority of "Halal" certificate. True or not? Or is this just an act to "squeeze" those who wish to apply for "Halal" certificates?

What now? JAKIM needs to step up efforts to educate the public on what is termed "Halal". Being a Muslim does not automaticcaly meas that one produce "Halal" products. It is time for JAKIM to vigorously pursue the matter and ensure as many business entities apply and conform to "Halal" certification. JAKIM also needs to educate the public, both Muslims and non-Muslims, on what is termed as "Halal" product. In doing so, JAKIM has to be colour blind because I know of one foodcourt in the golden triangle, close to Pavilion, which openly sells almost 100 % "non-Halal" food. Where is that place? I will give you a hint - the owner is close to our present and past 2 PM and is said to own almost the entire road!

The choice is there - either be picky in what you eat or just "hentam" whatever comes along...

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

3 comments:

Maimun said...

The following comment which was noted and translated from an Arabic website, gives us a deeper insight about the issue of whether QBB Ghee sold in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei actually constitutes of pig lard.

According to the following websites:
1) http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/07/03/10225548.html and
2) http://www.dubaicityguide.com/site/business-finance/data/Eng.%20%20Price%20List%20Group%202%20on%20May%2020092.xls.
3) http://www.economy.ae/English/Consumers/PricesAndMarketResearch/Pages/WeeklyPricereport.aspx
4) http://www.economy.ae/Documents/Thirds%20Group.pdf;

QBB is sold as Animal Shortening in various supermarket outlets in the United Arab Emirates. Further QBB is marked as a product of Singapore. Why? Is it because:
* It is being produced under the licence of QBB Pte. Ltd., Singapore.
* It is actually packed in a factory located in Singapore

* It is shipped from Singapore

So far QBB Pte Ltd., Singapore only acknowledges that there its factory is located in Shah Alam, Malaysia.

As far as product classification is concerned, UAE’s classification is indeed credible. Mind you, the Ministry of Economy, United Arab Emirates has one of the best food labelling enforcement in Asia. Every time a food consignment is received at their ports, a random sample is taken and sent to government labs to determine its actual content.

From the website: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Animal+Shortening, we know that animal shortening is defined as lard (lahrd) purified internal fat of the abdomen of the hog or commercially retrieved pig fat.
And according to the Malaysian website: http://produkhalal.wordpress.com/2007/09/08/list-of-non-halal/,
Animal Shortening is defined as type of fat such as lard that is solid at room temperature, and is used for making pastry and is a non-halal product.
Why is then QBB still being categorised in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei as halal and sold as pure butterfat ghee when in the Arab world they had changed its labelling to animal shortening somewhere in 2006/2007 and classified it as non-halal once QBB’s production was shifted from Australia supposedly to Malaysia. Therefore in which region is it being labelled correctly and in which region is it being misrepresented to its consumers?

Hj. Abdul Kadir said...

Pak Cik kerja masak kenduri kahwin di Johor dan juga Melaka sudah lebih 30 tahun. Dulu ramai yang memilih Cow Brand Vegetable Ghee, tin biru dengan gambar lembu hitam putih di tengah. Benda ini dibuat sepenuhnya dari minyak sawit. Bahan pewarna dan perasanya pun dari bahan tumbuhan. Halal 100%. Mana jenis beriyani pun pakcik buat darinya memang lazat. Kemudian ada perubahan istilah dalam Akta Makanan Malaysia 1983, lalu namanya ditukar kepada Cow Brand Vanaspati. Vanaspati ini kalau tak salah pak cik, asalnya perkataan Sanskrit. Kemudian orang kita semakin mewah, mahu gunakan QBB Ghee yang lebih mahal yang masa tu memang dari susu lembu dan dibuat di Australia. Bagus juga mutu QBB masa itu. Beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini, pakcik dapati rasa QBB pun dah mula berubah. Pakcik dah mula syaki kandungan QBB bukan lagi seperti yang ditulis pada tinnya. Kemudian ada kawan Pakcik di Singapura beritahu kilang QBB di Australia dah tutup beberapa tahun yang lalu dan kerja membuat QBB sekarang di Shah Alam. Baru Pakcik sedar QBB ini bukan lagi yang original. Dekat sini banyak jenama minyak sapi yang kilangnya di Malaysia muncul dalam 10 tahun yang lalu. Semuanya pakcik dah cuba. Cakap saja, minyak sapi tulen, tapi kebanyakan rasa macam dibuat dari minyak sawit juga. Harga dua kali tinggi dari vanaspati. Sekali dua pakcik pernah masak dengan minyak sapi tulen diimport dari Eropah, namanya Green Mountain, tin hijau muda ada perkataan Arab dan banyak dijual di negara Islam, agak mahal tetapi memang minyak sapi tulen yang paling sedap dirasai. Buat bubur lambuk darinya cukup bagus. Pak cik tulis ini semua bagi orang tahu pengalaman pak cik pasal kisah minyak sapi ini. Pandai-pandai kita memilih, jangan terperangkap dengan tipu helah sesetengah pembuat tempatan.

Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. lina holzbauer