Spokesperson for the Islamic Ministry, Sheikh Ahmedulla Jameel, has said that the Halal-Haram Committee of the Maldives has begun to determine whether ‘Golden Churn Creamy Butter’ contains any unlawful substance in it, after Malaysia’s Islamic Ministry declared that the product contains the deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) of swine and may be haram for Muslims.
The product is a popular food commodity in the Maldives and found in many local convenience stores.
Jameel said that the Islamic Ministry had received no official information from the Malaysian authorities, and was going by media reports.
‘’The Committee will declare whether it is haram or halal, as it is the committee that determines the status of food products in the Maldives,’’ he said, adding that the Islamic Ministry did not have further information to share on the matter.
Malaysian newspaper reports said the issue came in to light in April 18 when the Johor State Religious Department (JAJ) circulated a memo within its department to alert them of a swine DNA finding in Golden Churn Pure Creamery Butter products.
“There has been much confusion regarding the Golden Churn product. We have released a media statement before stating that the product contains pig DNA but many doubted it,’’ the newspaper quoted the Assistant Islamic Minister Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman saying.
President of Religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohamed Ibrahim said he heard about this incident but did not have any official information on the issue.
”These kind of issues do occur in the Maldives, in many cases these companies produce both types of the same product, one type which is for Gulf countries,” Sheikh Abdulla said. ”But the Maldives have sometimes received stocks produced for the Europe.”
He said the NGO has recently discussed the issue with the Islamic Minister.
”The ministry told us that because the cost of establishing a laboratory was expensive they were were many challenges they faced in solving the issue,” he said.
Andrew Ballantyne, Executive Chairman of the Australian company that produces the butter, Ballantyne Foods, said in a statement that both Ballantyne factories in Australia and New Zealand had been certified halal by halal certification authorities for all the butter brands produced and distributed by the company.
“It is important to understand that each delivery of butter out of Australia and New Zealand carries mandatory quality standards from relevant Government Food Authorities including Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, (AQIS) and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) in additional to strict Halal certification requirements. We confirm that our Golden Churn butter complies with the requirements of these authorities,” Ballantyne stated.
“Ballantyne only use high quality milk to make cream that is churned into butter. Ingredients are: cows milk, milk solids (non fat), moisture and 1.5-2 percent salt. No other additions, colours or preservatives are permitted.”
The particular canned butter variety under question in Malaysia had been certified halal by New Zealand Islamic Processed Food Management, “a recognised Islamic authority in New Zealand. NZIPFM is duly accredited by Jakim to certify products that are produced in New Zealand.”