Muslim consumers have been left with more questions than answers on the halal status of Crystal Valley Full Cream Milk, as two leading halal authorities investigating the matter continue to differ on the products permissibility for consumption. The issue centres on a brand of Crystal Valley milk imported from Poland which bears no sign of halal certification on its labelling.
The South African National Halal Authority (SANHA) last week sought to allay consumer fears of the product, stating that its own investigations deemed the milk to be fully halal compliant. Their view differed however from the Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT), who in July released a statement urging consumers to observe caution when buying such products. Both bodies are involved in the certification of locally produced Crystal Valley food items, all of which have been declared fully halal compliant.
During the MJCHT’s investigation, inspectors previously approached the company involved in the milks importation, Monteagle. MJCHT directorSheikh Achmat Sedick said that queries to both Monteagle and the production factory in Poland yielded confirmation that the milk was not certified halal.
“When we came to the issue of the (product) spec sheet, we found that the (production) plant in Poland is not halal certified. On the basis of the information we received, we could not verify the halal status,” he explained, expanding that if there was doubt on the product, consumers should abstain.
While this investigation was conducted well before SANHA’s, the MJCHT failed to inform the latter on their decision. Sedick said that at the time of the investigation SANHA were “not involved in the equation”.
SANHA theological director, Maulana Muhammad Saeed Navlakhi confirmed that they had been fully unaware of the MJCHT’s investigation into the matter at the time of their own. Their own information on the issue came about around the 12th August, when a Shoprite store opted to put up a sign warning consumers the milk was not halal.
Navlakhi said approaches to Shoprite, of which Crystal Valley is a store exclusive brand, and “in-depth” investigations with ‘diaries’ in Poland confirmed that while the product did not have any certification, the manufacturing process was still very much in accordance with Islamic requirements.
“The specific one that Monteagle brings into the country doesn’t have certification, but for products that don’t have that halaal certification, we cannot necessarily say that it is not halaal. We have to be very cautious when we make this statement, especially in items of essential need to the Muslim community,” he stated.
Based on this, SANHA were of the view that the product was suitable for Muslim consumption.
While Crystal Valley Full Cream Milk may not have halal certification, SANHA has stressed that several other imported Crystal Valley products do.
With both halal authorities giving contrasting views on the issue, consumers have been advised to use their own discretion when engaging with the product in question. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)