BANGI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - No trace of porcine DNA has been found in two samples of Cadbury chocolate and they are therefore halal, the Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has found.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Jamil Khir Baharom said this was based on tests carried out by a chemistry laboratory accredited under Jakim.
The chocolates involved in the tests were Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut (batch number 200813M01H I2) and Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond (batch number 221013N01R I1).
Eleven samples that were brought in straight from the factory were tested.
"Based on the analysis, the lab has found no pig DNA in these samples," said Dr Jamil Khir, who is in charge of religious affairs.
Asked why the finding contradicted the Health Ministry's, he said the samples tested by the ministry did not come straight from the factory and there was bound to be room for contamination.
"Besides, the lab which carried out the test was not an accredited lab," he added.
He also said that Jakim would review the halal suspension on Cadbury based on the new finding.
Last week, a Health Ministry statement said non-halal elements were found in the two varieties of Cadbury chocolates, triggering an outcry from Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who declared a jihad against Cadbury, claiming the confectionery giant had betrayed Muslims.
However, on Thursday, the National Fatwa Council announced that Cadbury products were still deemed halal.
Dr Jamil Khir said the "jihad" call by NGOs was justifiable if prohibited elements were found in the food they consumed but said it was vital that they verified the matter immediately.
"We would also encourage Muslims to take legal action."
"That is why once the lab tests were released this morning, we felt compelled to inform the public as soon as possible," he said.
Dr Jamil Khir also said Jakim had nothing to hide as this matter involved the sensitivities of the people, especially the Muslims.