Muslim groups call for boycott of Cadbury, Kraft foods
after pork traces
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[May 29, 2014] By
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -
Muslim retail and consumer groups in Malaysia on
Thursday called for a boycott of products made by
Britain-based confectioner Cadbury and its parent Kraft
Foods Group Inc after two chocolate varieties were found
to have infringed Islamic rules by containing pork DNA.
Cadbury Malaysia, a part of Mondelez International Inc, on Monday
recalled the Dairy Milk chocolates after the finding by Malaysian
authorities in a random test.
Products in the Muslim majority Southeast Asian nation are regularly
checked to ensure they are halal, or permissible according to
Cadbury Malaysia only sells to the local market. Mondelez's Malaysia
sales are a small fraction of the around 15 percent of its revenues
that come from the Asia-Pacific region, but concerns over halal
standards could jeopardise sales in bigger Muslim markets, such as
Indonesia and the Middle East.
A Muslim retail group said on Thursday the 800 stores it represents
would be asked to stop selling all products made by Cadbury and
Kraft, which acquired Cadbury in 2010 in a $19-billion deal. Kraft
subsequently spun off its North American grocery business as Kraft
Mondelez is the name of what remains of Kraft Foods Inc after the
spin-off. Its brands include Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, which
were among more than a dozen products the Muslim groups urged
Malaysians to boycott.
"This will teach all companies in Malaysia to maintain and protect
the sensitivities of Malaysians," Sheikh Abdul Kareem Khadaied, the
head of research with the Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia,
told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the companies should have apologised and recalled all their
"This is an issue that cuts across religion," he told Reuters. "It
affects the vegetarians as much as it affects the Muslims."
Cadbury Malaysia said in a statement this week that it was working
closely with the Islamic Affairs Department to ensure its products
meet halal guidelines. It said the authorities were running more
tests and would announce the results within a week.
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A spokeswoman for Cadbury Malaysia declined to respond on Thursday
to the call for a nationwide boycott.
The Muslim retail and consumer groups said a full boycott of Cadbury
and other products was needed because the contamination was unlikely
to have been limited to just the two types of chocolate.
"Although only two products were listed as contaminated, since the
same mechanism is used to produce other products, doubt exists in
our minds that all products could be exposed to the same
contamination," said Bazeer Ahmad, an adviser with the Malaysian
Muslim Wholesalers and Retailers Association.
Besides pork, items considered non-halal by Muslims include alcohol
and the meat of animals and birds that have not been slaughtered
according to Islamic rites.
(Additional reporting by Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah and Stuart Grudgings;
Writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Clarence
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