Cadbury Malaysia has pulled its Dairy Milk hazelnut and Dairy Milk roasted almond bars from shelves after the Malaysian Health Ministry found traces of porcine DNA in the products, which were labeled as "halal."
To be certified as halal, or "permissible" for Muslims to eat, meat must be killed in a specific way and cannot include any pork, which is classified as "haram," or "forbidden" in the Quran.
A halal check conducted by the Malaysian Health Ministry turned up the pig DNA, leading to a national outcry against the British multinational. Religious leaders have called for Cadbury to be fined or even banned from Malaysia.
Cadbury addressed the issue on its Facebook page, but comments show that its customers aren't easily placated.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam said that the tainted products were discovered during "random surveillance," and three months were needed to thoroughly test the products. He said that the public has "every right" to seek legal action against the Health Ministry for its "alleged delay" in detecting the porcine DNA, according to the New Straits Times.
"We needed to know if it was a case of accidental contamination or if there were additional ingredients in the chocolates that are not stated on the label," Subramaniam explained. "Unfortunately, the report was leaked on social media before there could be an official announcement about it."
Over twenty Muslim groups have come together to insist on strict measures for Cadbury, saying that it has "crossed the line" at a news conference covered by Malay Mail Online.
"They have betrayed us Muslims by putting ‘haram’ elements through the foods we consume in our body, to weaken us Muslims," declared Abu Bakar Yahya, chief of Perkasa Selangor, according to Malay Mail Online.
Anther spokesman, Ustaz Masridzi of Perkid, even called for jihad, which literally means "struggle," against Cadbury. "We need to unite, we must declare jihad!” he said at the conference.
Subramaniam told RT that Cadbury was cooperating with the Ministry to ascertain how the contamination occurred. In the company's most recent statement on Facebook, they wrote, "We hear the Muslim community’s need for a resolution. For now, we continue to focus our efforts and resources on the ongoing investigation and work closely with JAKIM [the Malaysian Islamic Development Department] to ensure that your Cadbury products are compliant with halal guidelines."