The South African National Halaal Authority (Sanha) have allayed fears over certain dairy products and foodstuff that do not feature halal logos on its packaging, following a social media frenzy on the permissibility of imported milk and chocolates. The issue came to the fore last week after a consumer queried with her local supermarket the halal status of Crystal Valley milk imported from Poland. With the store’s manager unable to ascertain whether the product was in fact halal or not, the company put up a notice declaring the milk to be unhalal. This caused much confusion amongst the Muslim public, and stoked concerns over a number of other imported products.
Sanha theological director, Maulana Muhammad Saeed Navlakhi said that with regards to locally manufactured dairy there were no notable trends of product fortification, meaning Muslims need not be concerned about the permissibility of such foods. The same could not be said however with products brought in from abroad.
But he assured consumers that Sanha had conducted the necessary checks on Crystal Valley foodstuff, determining that all milk and butter products were halal compliant.
“We managed to get to the bottom of this and investigated it through the store and then the manufacturers in Poland, who confirmed that it is only ultra-heat treated. There are no additives, no preservatives, enzymes or fortification agents used in the product at all,” he confirmed.
At the same time question marks have arisen around several imported chocolate brands including Ferrero Rocher and Lindt. Navlakhi admitted there were “critical issues” with certain chocolates in terms of the ingredients used during the manufacturing process. This included the types of milk powder and gelatine used, as well as whether flavourants contained traces of liquor or other products deemed not suitable for Muslim consumption.
“The Ferrero Rocher products in terms of the information we have received from the manufacturers is that it is halal. With regards to Lindt, there are a few variants (products) that contain liquor and alcohol and which consumers should be cognisant of,” he said, assuring that the majority of Lindt products were found to be halal suitable.
He advised local consumers to conduct the necessary ingredient checks on foodstuff they regularly purchased, and not to take issues of uncertainty at face value.
He also urged community members to refrain from circulating such issues via social media without taking the appropriate steps to verify their status with halaal authorities. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)