McDonald's reviewing halal-only cake policy

Halal-certified fast-food chain McDonald's is reviewing its policy on birthday cakes that can be taken into its restaurants.
Halal-certified fast-food chain McDonald's is reviewing its policy on birthday cakes that can be taken into its restaurants.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Halal-certified fast-food chain McDonald's is reviewing its policy on birthday cakes that can be taken into its restaurants, after the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) clarified that the rules need not be that stringent.

Since receiving halal certification in 1992, McDonald's Singapore has allowed customers to take in only halal-certified birthday cakes.

Following media reports on the rule, Muis said last night it appreciates this approach but clarified that non-halal food can be allowed under certain conditions.

In a statement, Muis said it "adopts a flexible approach" in certain cases of food taken in for consumption. It said halal-certified establishments can exercise discretion if three conditions are met.

Firstly, there must be no cross-contamination. The food not bought at the restaurant must not be taken into the kitchen, food preparation area or storage facilities. Secondly, only disposable cutlery may be used. Thirdly, the food must be eaten and any remnants bagged and disposed of immediately.

"As long as these conditions are met, Muis is of the view that the principles of halal certification are still preserved," said Muis.

McDonald's Singapore director of government relations and communications Faz Hussen said the chain was fully committed to halal certification "in ensuring that the food we serve is suitable for consumption for our Muslim friends".

This commitment is exemplified in its birthday cake policy, he said. But he added: "In the light of Muis' clarification, McDonald's Singapore will review its policy on birthday cakes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'McDonald's reviewing halal-only cake policy'. Print Edition | Subscribe