"Know The Difference Between 'Pork-Free' And Halal," Says Deputy Minister From PM's Office

"Outlets which just put the 'pork-free' label at their premises do not represent what is meant by halal."

Cover image via HANIFF.SG

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, wants authorities to take action against restaurants with "pork free" labels as it could mislead Muslim customers

Hokkaido Restaurant in Jalan Ipoh is pork-free, but serves alcohol in their menu

Image via Jotaro Footsteps

Dr Asyraf, who serves under the Islamic Affairs department in the prime minister's office, was referring to the fact that not all restaurants that are pork-free are considered halal.

Most restaurants that has the "pork-free" label, usually serve alcohol in their menu. In order for a restaurant to attain the Halal certificate, they must not serve any pork, alcohol or even alcohol based dishes in the restaurant and have all their dishes prepared according to the Syariah laws.

He stressed that Muslims should only frequent eateries that have officially obtained the Halal certificate from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM)

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki

Image via The Malaysian Insider

"Outlets which just put the 'pork-free' label at their premises do not represent what is meant by halal," he told reporters after opening a cultural seminar and Chinese New Year celebration for Muslim converts in Kepong, here, today.

He said the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the states has laws to take action against food outlet operators who misled Muslims with their "pork-free" labeling.

"Muslims must always be conscious of the requirements of Syariah law when it comes to food. The 'pork-free' label does not mean the food served is halal," added Dr Asyraf, who was previously the chairman of YADIM (Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia).

A 'No pork, no lard' signage in a bakery

Image via HANIFF.SG

"There is an urgent need to educate the public, especially Muslims, to distinguish between an authentic halal logo and 'pork-free' labelling.

Yesterday, the Pahang Islamic Religious Department (JAIP) issued a restriction order on food outlets in the state not to use the term "pork-free" or "no pork" at their premises to avoid confusing the public.

What is 'halal'? How is 'halal' food different?

Sushi King, a local Japanese restaurant does not serve alcohol and pork but is not Halal certified by JAKIM

Image via Sushi King

The word "Halal" directly translates into 'permissible' in Arabic. It basically means meat and food that are prepared according Syariah laws. The Islamic form of slaughtering meat products, dhabia, requires the butcher to kill the animals by making a cut through the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe.

The slaughtering process will be accompanied by a prayer recitation by a Muslim person present.

In terms Halal certificates for restaurants, they will have to apply for the certificates from their respective Islamic departments, and in Malaysia, JAKIM is the body that is in charge of issuing Halal certificates.

There are a number of food items that are considered haram (forbidden) for Muslims to consume including, blood, alcohol, pork, carnivorous animals and all meat products that do no comply to the dhabia slaughtering method.

This is not the first time the Halal issue has been raised in Malaysia. Last November, the BN Bertam rep requested for all restaurants and hotels in Penang to be Halal certified:

In November 2016, Putrajaya enforced a trolley segregation for Halal and non Halal items in shopping malls:

Did you know that Malaysia's Lumin Spring International Group Sdn Bhd launched the world's first premium halal mineral water?

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