Pass the pasta: Maldives seizes sauce with wine and bacon

The Maldives has begun seizing jars of an imported pasta sauce after discovering it contained white wine and bacon, ingredients considered taboo by the local Muslim population.
The Maldives has begun seizing jars of an imported pasta sauce after discovering it contained white wine and bacon, ingredients considered taboo by the local Muslim population. PHOTO: MALDIVES CUSTOMS SERVICE/ TWITTER

COLOMBO (AFP) - The Maldives has begun seizing jars of an imported pasta sauce after discovering it contained white wine and bacon, ingredients considered taboo by the local Muslim population.

The Maldives Customs Service launched an operation this week to track down jars of the offending sauce made by Australian brand Leggo's, the Maldives Independent website reported.

Customs officials confirmed on Twitter they had seized jars of Italian Chicken Scallopini sauce after social media users alerted them to the ingredients.

Serving alcohol and pork to Maldivians is an offence in the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims, although both are freely available in upmarket resorts in the archipelago.

"MCS seizes sauce bottles displayed on racks of a shop, which also said to contain white wine in it," the customs authority said on its official Twitter account on Tuesday.

It has set up a hotline for people to report sightings of the sauce being sold elsewhere, the Maldives Independent said.

Leggo's website says the sauce comprises 5 per cent white wine and 2.5 per cent bacon. A spokeswoman for the brand was not immediately available for comment when contacted by AFP.

The Maldives is governed by English common law as well as a form of syariah law, the Islamic legal code, but it does not apply in the islands' luxury tourist resorts favoured by honeymooners.

Under syariah law, sex outside marriage for locals is punishable by death although capital punishment has not been carried out for decades.