PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has recommended that pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne's change the name of its "Pretzel Dog" to "Pretzel Sausage" in order to receive a halal certification.
"It is more appropriate to use the name 'Pretzel Sausage'," said Jakim's Halal Division director Sirajuddin Suhaimee.
"The improvement process is being conducted from time to time," he said. "Malaysia's good name as a pioneering 'halal global' figure needs to be improved. To avoid this issue at the global stage, the panel has decided not to use such a name," he told The Star via WhatsApp on Tuesday (Oct 18).
In a statement earlier, Jakim clarified that the franchise had not been given the non-halal label by the body yet.
Jakim explained that Auntie Anne's food products were in the process of getting a Malaysian halal certification.
It said that this was done after some improvements to the franchise's application.
This week, Jakim's rejection of Auntie Anne's halal certification application went viral on social media and blogs, with many Muslims questioning the halal status of the food items.
In response, Auntie Anne's Quality Assurance (QA) and Halal executive Farhatul Kamilah explained in a Facebook post on Monday that a halal application had been rejected due to the "hot dog" name and administration issues.
Jakim wanted Auntie Anne's to rename the food product and reapply for the halal certification for its outlets based on zones to facilitate the auditing process.
Previously, the company had registered for halal certification for all 45 outlets under one application.
Farhatul had assured customers that Auntie Anne's is in the midst of obtaining the certification.
Muslims see dogs as being unclean and canine-related issues in Malaysia have sparked controversy in the past.
However, most Malaysians are aware that "hot dogs" and other items like "root beer" do not contain dogs or beer.