KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said it will not be banning hot dogs in the country or revoking the halal certifications of outlets that sell food items with the word "dog" in it. This comes after a popular pretzel chain, Auntie Anne's, said its halal certification was held up because it sold "pretzel dogs".
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom, who oversees the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM), said authorities in the Muslim-majority nation can be tolerant.
"There has never been an issue about revoking any halal certificates and we have no plans of detaining or making haram those who use the name 'hot dog'," he told reporters at parliament on Thursday (Oct 20) "What is important is the content of the food."
On Tuesday, JAKIM had told Channel NewsAsia it would prefer if Auntie Anne's changed the name of its product "pretzel dog" to "pretzel sausage" after Auntie Anne's non-halal status became more widely known over the past week.
JAKIM also told Channel NewsAsia it would be addressing the use of "dog" in food items in other restaurants in stages.
JAKIM guidelines for halal certification from 2014 outline that products should not use names or names synonymous with non-halal products or use confusing terms such as ham, bacon, beer, hotdog and the like.
However, Jamil said JAKIM will work out a compromise with outlets that want to protect their brand.
"If they don't want to be tolerant or they want to uphold their brand, we at JAKIM will have a discussion (with them) because the focus is ultimately the content of the object not the name," he said.