Pork in Halal Products Considered Public Deception

INDONESIA - In what was seen as a blow for the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), several meat products circulating in the market were found to contain pork, despite bearing halal labels.
calendar icon 17 April 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The council admitted Thursday that it might have granted halal (permitted under Islamic law) certificates for dried beef products (dendeng) actually containing pork.

"We might have been conned," council deputy chairman Amidhan told The Jakarta Post.

The Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) confirmed earlier in the day that pork content was discovered in at least five brands of dried beef products in the market.

"This is a *public* deception," BPOM head Husniah Rubiana Thamrin said at a news conference, while displaying the five products.

The five were Cap Kepala Sapi Dendeng in a 250-gram package, Cap LIMAS Dendeng, Cap ACC Dendeng , Lezaaat Dendeng, and Cap 999 Dendeng.

At least one of these products, Lezaat Beef Jerky, has a halal label stamped on its wrapping.

All the packaging on these products claimed they contained beef.

Husniah said the producer Lezaaat Dendeng might have deceived the MUI by providing halal samples during the examination and certification process.

Amidhan echoed her statement, saying there were a number of other possibilities that might have caused the improper placement of such a label. "The makers of that product might have not gone through the halal testing process at all," he said. "So these halal labels might be bogus."

Amidhan explained that a producer seeking halal certificates must first ask the BPOM to examine whether its product is hazardous to health or not.

If the product obtains BPOM approval, then the MUI will examine its contents, as well as the process in making it.

If deemed halal, the council will issue a certificate. The BPOM will use the numbers on that certificate to make halal labels stamped on that product's packaging.

"Halal labels are valid for two years," Amidhan said. "Thus, there is a chance that a company can change its product ingredients or processing methods during that two-year period to ingredients or methods that are not halal."

He went on to say the MUI will seek to clarify this matter. "However, the first thing to do is to withdraw all these products containing pork that are masquerading as halal or beef, and to find the ones responsible for the fraud."

Husniah further said two of the brands: Lezaaat and Cap 999, were local products made respectively in Surabaya and Malang - both in East Java. "Thus, local authorities are in charge of granting permits for these products, as well as withdrawing them from the market and destroying them."

She added that the other three brands: Cap Kepala Sapi, Cap A.C.C and Cap LIMAS, have bogus permit numbers that belonged to other companies. "We are yet to find out the actual makers of those products," she said.

There is high possibility that those products contain wild boar meat rather than pork derived from farm-bred pigs, Husniah said.

"Wild boar meat costs only Rp 18,000 *around US$1.95* per kilogram, while beef is priced almost three times higher," she explained.

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