From the ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ file, food outlets in Muslim-majority Malaysia must rename hotdogs or risk being refused ‘halal’ certification. The ruling, which also includes other food items whose name includes the word ‘dog’ has garnered much ridicule on social media. “In Islam, dogs are considered unclean (‘haram’) and the name cannot be related to halal certification.”
It follows complaints by Muslim tourists from overseas, said Sirajuddin Suhaimee, director of the halal division from the Department of Islamic Development. “Any (halal) products that make consumers confused, we have to change,” he said.Numerous street vendors and halal restaurants sell hotdogs in Malaysia. Sirajuddin said checks would be made “step-by-step” when these outlets renew their two-year halal certification with the department.US pretzel chain Aunty Anne’s, which has 45 outlets in Malaysia with plans to expand further, told AFP it has no qualms about renaming its pretzel dogs — sausages wrapped with pretzels — following advice from religious authorities.
Sirajuddin, who recommended pretzel dogs be called pretzel sausages, said Aunty Anne’s halal certification application is currently being considered.Among the many critics on social media, one Facebook user remarked: “Please stick to religion… don’t be an English language adviser.” Another posted: “Pet shops please rename ur dogs as sausages.” Malaysia has long practised a moderate form of Islam but conservative attitudes are rising.