Mondelez Malaysia managing director Sunil Sethi showing the halal certificates issued by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Pic by Salhani Ibrahim

PETALING JAYA: CADBURY Malaysia received its halal certification back yesterday after laboratory test results confirmed its chocolates are free from porcine DNA.

The certificates by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) affirmed that all Cadbury Malaysia products complied with Islamic Law and the Malaysian Halal Standard, which is approved by its halal certification panel.

Mondelez Malaysia managing director Sunil Sethi, the parent company of Cadbury Malaysia, said the certification was a testament to the fact that all their products could be consumed by Muslims.

"Jakim tested and re-tested our samples and confirmed that all our products are halal.

"We are confident that all regulations have been adhered to," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Controversy arose when the halal status of Cadbury chocolates was uncertain due to a statement by the Health Ministry released on May 24, which stated it detected porcine DNA in certain batches of Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut and Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond chocolates.

However, on June 2, Jakim had verified that the latest test results confirmed the two variants in the affected batches were halal.

Sethi said Cadbury had its own internal halal committee, which had been operational for 12 years, to ensure that all of their products are compliant to Jakim's halal standards.

The eight-member committee is stationed at the Cadbury Malaysia plant along with its production, quality assurance and regulatory departments.

Sethi said Jakim also conducted periodic tests at the Cadbury Malaysia plant, while the Halal Industry Development Corporation carried out regular training for Cadbury Malaysia staff on meeting halal food standards.

He said the Halal logo on their packaging indicated that the products were prepared according to stringent Islamic requirements, whilst assuring the public that production adhered to the strictest hygiene, quality and safety standards.

"Around 70 to 80 per cent of the staff at the Cadbury plant are Muslims, which is why halal is and has been our top priority."

Asked if Cadbury would take legal action against the Health Ministry for the alleged leak that led to the controversy, Sethi said they intended to put the incident behind them and focus on their business.

"While incidents such as this are unfortunate, we are grateful to the authorities for clearing up the air and ensuring that future differences in their test results would be verified internally before making them public."

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