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14 other products Malaysians consume that may have piggy DNA

The JMM guys that protested Cadbury Malaysia for having piggy DNA have opened up a huge can of something.

UPDATE (19 Jan 2016): And now, our Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK, and also 2015 winner of Hardest Government Acronym to Remember (HGAtR)) is proposing segregated shopping aisles at supermarkets for HALAL and non-HALAL goods.

We did some research, and if things keep going nuts, you’re gonna see alot of very-skinny, un-moisturized Muslim brothers and sisters very soon. Almost EVERYTHING might have pork DNA.

Halal food is big business in Malaysia, as we’re seen as one of the leading producers of it, exporting some US$10 billion worth of Halal products. However, with today’s complicated manufacturing processes and even more complicated supply chains with hundreds of generic ingredients in each product, it’s not always practical to trace where all these ingredients come from. Before we start, let us just say here first. WE HAVE NOT DONE ANY DNA TESTING OF OUR OWN! What we have done, is our usual inconclusive, totally amateur research. So take this with a pinch of salt – here are some of the items you might be buying that MIGHT have pig DNA.

1. BONE FAT – Soaps, Shampoos, Moisturisers, Toothpaste, Peanut Butter

convenience store

Glycerin is made from many sources, one of which is piggy bone fat. In toothpaste, it gives you that gummy texture. It also attracts moisture, which is why it’s a common ingredient in skin creams. We should mention though, that pig bone fat is just one of many sources of glycerin – there are kosher and vegetable sources of gelatin, which are considered Halal, so this one can be somewhat avoided.

2. PIG’S BLOOD – Cigarettes, Dog food


Back in 2009, the UK’s Daily Telegraph ran an article about cigarettes containing pork DNA. Apparently, a pig’s haemoglobin, derived from its blood is commonly used in cigarette filters to make them “more effective at trapping harmful chemicals before they could enter a smoker’s lungs. Unfortunately, we don’t recall ever having seen a Halal marking on cigarettes, and these things have been selling for years. Oddly, our investigation lead us to this Wikipedia that states that there is a fatwa in Kuala Lumpur that makes smoking illegal.

SURE ONOT!? (image from the KL Post)

In fact, there’s an article on about it as well. SMOKING IS ACTUALLY HARAM!

Anyway, piggy haemoglobin is also used as a colouring agent for certain brands of dog food. So maybe that’s why dogs aren’t Halal. Or are they? In this interesting article, the Muslim writer actually states that dogs aren’t haram – in fact, it’s haram to mistreat them. Tell that to this jackass. If you do touch a dog’s fluids – e.g. saliva etc, you’re advised to wash the part that came into contact. Makes sense 🙂


3. GELATIN – Cereal, Dairy Products, Sweets, Pills

Grocery Store Design | Dairy Area Design  | Grocery Store Upgrade

Gelatin is used in MILLIONS of products – it makes fruit juice clearer, ice cream melt slower, stabilises cream cheese, and even bonds sweets together. In fact, even the rubbery lining of pills and insulin shots contain gelatin. But what is it? In simple terms, gelatin is melted down animal goo. It’s derived from connective tissue, bones and tendon that’s boiled to oblivion.

This is why vegans don’t eat gelatin. Among these animals, yes… pigs are considered an affordable source. The surprising fact is that most gelatin isn’t considered Halal, even if from other sources.

“The ingredient gelatin means either haram if obtained from pig or Not Halal if obtained from non zabiha beef. Please do not consume any food products or vitamins with gelatin unless it says fish gelatin or made from fish gelatin.” – The Muslim Consumer Group.

Bummer. So what’s a true Muslim to do? Well, there’s Halagel, which looks more like a sales pitch, but is actually approved by our very own JAKIM. But there are loads of other products on the site that are registered as Halal. Do they all use Halagel or fish gelatin?


4. L-CYSTEINE – Bread and all kinds of dough-based products

L-Cysteine is an amino acid that’s often used to soften bread and other products. You can find it commonly on the ingredients list of most commercial breads. And yes, once again, one of the sources is the humble pig. Other sources include dead chicken/duck feathers or … human hair!?

Ew. I’m not sure which one is worse. Apparently 80% of the world’s supply comes from China, and most of it is feathers and human hair. So, you’re safe right? Wrong. In the eyes of Islam, only synthetic L-Cysteine can be used for Halal certification.

[Update] Malaysian playboy, billionaire, philanthropist? Move, Tony Stark!


5. ANYTHING from China

made in china

From Cake Stories

So, no surprise here. Evil Chinese peepur (like from CHINA, who support LIN DAN for reals yo) are labelling everything as Halal – just to improve sales in the province of Xinjiang, amongst the Muslim nationals of China. This line in the article from RFA was quite funny.

When asked if the company could run afoul of authorities and lose consumers in Xinjiang if it was discovered that it was falsely labelling its products, Luo responded, “It’s not a problem.”

Well, it’s a problem here bro.

Another interesting fact is that for some strange reason, Haw Flakes (which look totally non-Halal because they look like bits of ham) that carry the Halal logo are commonly found in East Malaysia, but strangely enough not here on the mainland.



Forgive the product placement, but yes… the last time this whole non-Halal pork thing emerged was actually because of Tabasco sauce 3 years ago. What’s interesting with this case is that JAKIM originally announced that they found porcine DNA in HP and Tabasco Sauce. But then Heinz came out and said that they WERE certified Halal by various international organisations, like HAC (Halal Audit Company), where its factory is based, and IFANCA in America. In fact, we even found Tabasco-approved menus on Malaysia Halal Directory tabasco And sure enough, in 2012, Tabasco magically got its Halal cert back. So which is it? It’s scary to think that the one organisation in Malaysia that is the Muslim’s world’s spiritual food-taster can change its mind like that.


So we called them

lionel ritchie halal

Posing as a manufacturer of Cilisos. Duh. We wanted to ask exactly what the process was, and what kind of testing they do for products before approval.

1. They ask for your company details, process of manufacture, product artwork and a list of ingredients together with any certs they have.

2. They send someone over to audit your facilities. This includes having at least two paid Muslim staff in production.

3. If everything’s okay, a Halal cert is issued for anywhere from RM100 to RM700 a year.

What’s important to note here is that all CHEMICAL TESTING is borne by the manufacturer, and only relevant certs are submitted for approval. JAKIM doesn’t ask for any product samples whatsoever.

No chemical testing is done by JAKIM itself on the initial certification. What they do is submit products for testing upon complaint.

The point here is that there’s alot of wiggle room. JAKIM approves millions and millions of products a year. To ask them to test everything would increase the cost of everything. Yes, someone who wraps the chocolate might have just eaten a plate of charsiew rice. Even with gloves and a facemask, is it not impossible for a triollionth of a gram of charsiew to make it onto the bar?

UPDATE: JAKIM literally eats humble chocolate pie, and gives Halal certification back to Cadbury.

So what we’re really saying is…

Why are we so focussed on this one thing? One example of verses from the Quran on pig consumption:

He has made unlawful for you that which dies of itself and blood and the flesh of swine and that on which the name of any other than Allah has been invoked. But he who is driven by necessity, being neither disobedient nor exceeding the limit, then surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

Incidentally, most people don’t know, but Christians have a line in The Bible that prevents them from eating pork as well.

“And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” – Deuteronomy 14:8

UPDATE 30.5.14: And oops. This line is from the Old Testament, so it only applies to Jews #learnsomethingneweveryday, and not Christians. Thanks @Dante Ting and @Jan Yuen for pointing this out.

Here’s the thing though. Consuming pork is just one of many religious rules. We break other rules everyday. Premarital-sex? Masturbation? Smoking? Telling lies? Eating Hor-chien?

Can these religious organisations claim they are truly sinless? In fact…

Who here can say that they are truly sinless?

Malaysian Insider columnist Abdar Raman Kohya put it very aptly in his post today, which calls on Muslims to be moderate.

“When a host shows us the qiblah (the direction Muslims turn to during prayer) in his house, we do not click the compass app on our smartphone just to make sure.”

But do we pursue these other possibilities with as much purity as a bar of chocolate? No. And besides, even someone who’s not religious could have told you that…


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  5. JJJ

    13/06/2014 at 5:35 pm

    Did the angry protestors apologise to Cadbury’s, and compensate for their losses?

    These protestors should also consider not breathing, as there’s bound to be haram air floating around.

    Oh, and, where’s the angry protests against LHDN collecting tax from haram businesses, and using it on muslims? Or, it’s ok to be haram when it involves money?

  6. sarfah

    10/06/2014 at 2:18 pm

    thank you for the article. it is light reading but thought-provoking at the same time 🙂

    • Chak Onn Lau

      13/06/2014 at 1:35 pm

      Very much welcome, Sarfah. Thank you for your feedback. These kinds of comments make our work a lot easier 🙂 🙂

  7. Amy

    08/06/2014 at 2:05 am

    I guess the point at the end is… “Oh phoey, why so stress??” (see I so nice censor my language hehe)

    Also, I’m surprised “money” didn’t make the list. I mean it obviously doesn’t CONTAIN porcine dna, but since many studies have shown that there’s fecal material and all sorts of messed up stuff on money (lazy to link go Google), what are the odds that the RM20 you’re holding wasn’t held by the char siew hawker this morning…

    I’m no religious guru, but really.. I’d like to hope that any god you believe in wouldn’t be THAT petty…

  8. Goh

    31/05/2014 at 4:07 pm

    This post is totally unnecessary. The issue has been resolved, and majority of muslims totally do not give a f***. When media and its consumers reacts to trivial issues like this, another example would be raja bomoh, it injects stupidity into the conscience of society. As we complain about how regressive our government is, articles like this does the exact same thing, albeit masquerading itself in a ‘we are on a progressive front and are encouraging people to voice constructive opinions bla bla bullshit’ tone. Go bake a cake. If you hate cakes, go jerk off. You shall find that your quality of life will improve, and collectively by refraining from reacting to bs like this, our society progresses an inch forward. – naom chomskee.

    • Chak Onn Lau

      01/06/2014 at 12:43 pm

      Please watch the language, Goh. We love to hear what you guys think, but there isnt an age filter on our site, and we like it that way. Not understanding the hate, but to each their own.

    • jiawen

      01/06/2014 at 9:15 pm

      to be honest, I have got to say that I too question the purpose of writing such an article. there is already enough disrespect and sensational exaggeration going around. do we want to be making more of it? You do arrive at a valid point at the end – the call for moderation and forgiveness – but I question the tone and manner. Let us all do our diligent best that we can, and forgive when despite our best efforts, something is not to our liking. in the meantime, less caffeine perhaps? 😀

    • Chak Onn Lau

      02/06/2014 at 10:44 am


      Maybe it’s best we explain what we’re trying to do. Our headlines are purposefully linkbait, but our content will always be skewed towards the betterment of Malaysians. Feel free to tell us when it doesn’t:) The reason behind this is that we believe it’s important to talk about these things, and yet, get as many Malaysians as we can to participate in these conversations (no point writing something if no one reads it). We stand by our content. And our caffeine.

    • Goh

      04/06/2014 at 11:49 pm

      Sorry about the language. My bad. I still strongly disagree with you tho. Why is it important to talk about these things? I mean, your disclaimer even states that it its half truth. No scientific backing, just probabilities. And these are even more dangerous lies (lies that gets mixed up with truth) that you may not see the consequences now, maybe your next generation! If you’re really serious about making a change, hire a lab to check all and back up whatever products that’s being mentioned in your article! than maybe you’ll make a change. All you link baiting gimmicks are just like banker’s small print, it’s just plain wrong! Don’t do things just to be successful, do it because you care, be sensitive! there’s a stark difference between moderate muslims and liberal malays. The liberals will be on your side, but most moderate muslims will no doubt be offended. The muslims who disagree with this issue may not agree with what you have posted. I grew up with strong malay influence .Like everything else, there are the extreme minorities on both ends. The “perkasa’ type, and the malays that munch char siews without hesitation. In between, you get the majority that you have just insulted. They are well educated, reasonable and not stupid. You wanna tell them something, bring them solid proof! i understand them well enough to feel offended the same way. Thanks.

    • Chak Onn Lau

      05/06/2014 at 9:03 pm

      Heya Goh, appreciate it 🙂 Although i’m still not sure if I agree with your comments. To be honest, we constantly scour the net to see what kinds of conversations our articles are resulting in, and from what i can see, they’re the kinds of conversations we want (both from muslims AND non-muslims) – mostly constructive. Sure, some people might be offended by this article, but chances are, they’d be offended by a way lot more. This article does NOT encourage full DNA testing because it isn’t practical. Imagine if everyone from the slaughterer of the farm to the gelatin factory worker to the guy that wraps chocolate is screened for any traces of pork DNA, that’s what it would take. I think most logically-minded people here would understand this, regardless of their religious leanings. Having said that, we do sincerely hope that you can accept our methods as well-intentioned, if nothing else. Thanks for reading!

  9. Chak Onn Lau

    31/05/2014 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for your compliments, Adam. We do take pride in our 4am nights to break a story like this properly. To answer your question, I don’t have a clear answer. Why I brought up halagel was to bring to light how commercialized the whole halal thing can become. It seems jakim is playing god, but bearing little consequence which is worrying. I’m not saying they’re doing a bad job now, but I do think they should really think a lot harder next time before going witchhunting

  10. Adam

    31/05/2014 at 11:00 am

    The amount of effort you put into this article amazed me… I applaud your efforts…

    Though when you write about Gelatin, you make it like there’s no halal gelatin in the market except HalaGel??? I think what Muslim Consumer Group mentioned is that the gelatin that comes from pigs and non-zabiha animals (not slaughtered in Islam’s way in simple words) are not allowed for Muslims. Since the groups isn’t from Malaysia (they are from Canada IINM) it is likely that they will give the advice not to take anything with gelatin unless it is stated that they use fish gelatin since there’s no way that the gelatins over there is made using slaughtered animals according to Islam.

    But if I’m not mistaken, in the case of Malaysia it is in different situation. I might be wrong since I’m not exactly researching anything and taking JAKIM’s words as it is, feel free to correct me but I do think that in Malaysia it different situation we have a lot of halal meat over here so it couldn’t be there’s only HalaGel in our country then?

  11. eugene

    31/05/2014 at 6:47 am

    That’s what i dislike about Christians. Anything they do not want to follow they make an excused “oh! That’s the old testament.” The last i check, the bible is still the bible… Old & New Testament.

    • Nicholas

      31/05/2014 at 10:54 pm

      Actually, if you knew better, Christians dont follow alot of the Old testament rules like this one due to certain passages in the New Testament that decry such practices as unnecessary. The Crucifixion of Jesus has rendered it so.
      While I cannot give you the exact passage (as I am not theologically learned), I know enough that it is in one of the books that St. Paul wrote.
      I hope that answers your question somewhat. If not, I know most pastors can explain this part in detail.

  12. Neo Ming Yi

    30/05/2014 at 11:01 pm

    Interesting that Dante Ting and Jan Yuan pointed out that those laws only apply for Jews (or to be PC, Jewish people), and yet Christians never hesitate quoting from the Old Testament to ‘prove’ that homosexuality is wrong according to their god. So I suppose the rule is to selectively interpret your god’s ‘word’? Or are Christians superior to their god and know when he’s serious and he’s not?

  13. gary

    30/05/2014 at 4:47 pm

    in ref to one of your last paragraphs, you mentioned about who has not sinned? which is very true. we should be looking at ourselves first and not be quick to judge others as we ourselves are not perfect. as is mentioned in the bible in john 8:7 : But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (hudud comes to mind here..)

  14. Chak Onn Lau

    30/05/2014 at 12:22 pm

    Changed. Thanks Dante. Sorry for the ignorance.

  15. Dante Ting

    30/05/2014 at 1:42 am

    Just to clarify one thing, that passage from the Bible concerns laws for the Jews, not for Christians.

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