THE authorities finally cleared two Cadbury chocolates of any traces of pork DNA, a case that has caused uproar here and in neighbouring countries.
The Malaysian authorities, who first reported the case, had earlier cleared the Cadbury products of any traces of swine DNA after conducting new tests. Malaysia’s Islamic Development Department (Jakim) said none of the 11 samples it tested of products from the company’s factory had shown positive results for porcine DNA. However, Jakim said in a statement that Cadbury’s halal certification for the two products in question would remain suspended pending further tests and investigations of its supply chain.
The Indonesian authorities, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency and the Indonesian Ulamas’ Council, have also clarified that after testing a number of samples of Cadbury products they found them free of any traces of pork DNA.
Whether the two chocolate products really contained any haram (non-halal or impermissible ingredient) or not is a fact that needs to be further investigated. What’s more important is that we need to learn a very essential lesson from this case: We must keep on alert anytime! The government, through the relevant authorities, has the obligation to protect the people, in particular Muslims, from consuming and/or wearing any products containing any substance which is deemed haram.
We must not easily feel satisfied and happy with any logo (how big it is) attached to any products on sale in the country. As the State Mufti, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz Juned, recently said, “having a halal certificate and halal logo attached to a food product was not enough for Muslims to be satisfied about the halal status of goods they consume as both were not the absolute determinants to such.” What is more important, he said, is that relevant authorities monitor and test consumables that have been granted the halal certificates and logos from time to time.
This was not the sole incident ever happened. there have been many reports (within or outside the country) before about products found to be containing substance (processed or unprocessed) from swine or other animals forbidden for Muslims. We do not know whether it was intentional or merely an “accident” when some products having halal certificate and logo were found to be containing non-halal ingredients, which are very much harmful and destructive — physically and mentally — to the life of Muslims.
The Almighty Allah, the All-Knowing the All-Wise, will not forbid mankind, especially the Muslims, from consuming the impermissible (haram) things if they are not harmful to them. Allah says in the Al-Quran: “O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Syaitân (devil). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.” (2:168)
Halal is an Arabic word meaning “lawful” or “permissible”. The term covers not only food and drink, but also all matters of daily life. The most common example of non-halal (or haram) food is pork. Allah says: “Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytatah (the dead animals — cat-tle not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc, or on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns — and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on AnNusub (stone altars). (Al-Maidah: 3)
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has repeatedly reminded on the need for the relevant authorities to be proactive in carrying out halal tests on food and drinks brought into the country. He said there was no fault if all types of food products were tested for confirmation (of their halal nature). “We must not wait for a commotion (and) only then we want to open up the labs (for testing),” he said.
As an Islamic country that has just reintroduced Syariah Law and aspires to become a Zikir Nation, it is a necessity for us all to be more careful and sensitive when it comes to food and drink.
The food must come from a supplier that uses halal practices. Specifically, the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim, who must precede the slaughter by invok-ing the name of Allah, most commonly by saying “Bismillah” (“In the name of Allah”). Muslims must also ensure that all foods (particularly processed foods), as well as non-food items like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-pro-ducts or other ingredients that are not permissible and harmful for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies.
Treating our bodies with wholesome foods free of harmful ingredients — pesticides, toxins, pollutants, filth, etc. — is not just a value desired by Muslims, it’s desired by all of humanity. It’s a common need, a common desire and a common right, and that means everyone can benefit from consuming halal foods.
The Brunei Times/Editorial
Friday, June 13, 2014