Indonesia testing Cadbury products after Malaysia halal uproar

Fri May 30, 2014 5:12am EDT
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By Fransiska Nangoy and Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Indonesian authorities said on Friday they were testing products made by British confectioner Cadbury to check they complied with Islamic standards after two chocolate varieties in neighboring Malaysia were found to be contaminated with pork DNA.

The scandal over the ingredient banned under Islamic dietary laws has sparked outrage among some Muslim groups in Malaysia, who have called for a boycott on all products made by Cadbury and its parent Mondelez International Inc MDLZ.O.

Concerns over halal food standards could jeopardize Mondelez's sales in Muslim markets that are larger than Malaysia, such as Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, and the Middle East.

"After such an incident, it is prudent to do a test on the other variants to see if they also have traces of the pig DNA. We may have the result in a few days," Roy Alexander Sparingga, head of Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency, told Reuters.

Sparingga said the tests would be done on the 10 varieties of Cadbury products that are certified in Indonesia as halal - or permissible according to Islamic law. Those products did not include the two types of Dairy Milk chocolate that Cadbury Malaysia recalled this week after finding pork traces.

Malaysian Islamic authorities tried to cool anger against Cadbury by saying it remained unclear if the contamination was the company's fault.

"People need to understand that we can't immediately take action against Cadbury when there's no solid evidence yet or if contamination occurred in the factory itself or if it was external factors," said Othman Mustapha, the director general of Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development, or JAKIM.

"What's happening to Cadbury now is akin to a person who's remanded and placed in lockup. They have not been found guilty so this is just a suspension," he added.   Continued...

An employee shows a box containing Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut and Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond, to be return tomorrow in a shop in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur May 27, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said