No restaurant should be granted a Halal certificate if they serve or sell alcoholic beverages or non-Halal meat on the same premises. All Halal certification bodies need to follow this rule. Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) stressed that any restaurant that serves or sells alcoholic beverages will not be Halal certified because it does not fulfill the basic criteria according to the Halal certification standards set by the body.
JAKIM Halal Hub Division Director, Hakimah Mohd Yusoff said that JAKIM does not compromise any premises regarding the issuance of the Halal certificate. However, she said it depends on the awareness and judgment of the public, particularly Muslims to choose and visit the restaurant offering alcoholic beverages. “No food and beverage premises in Malaysia should contain any haram (non-Shariah compliant) substances or products deemed illegal to enable them to receive Halal certification.
“JAKIM will ensure that all processes and procedures are fully compliant with Shariah principles before issuing any Halal certificates to any premises. “Public awareness is required as the issue of whether a food outlet is halal or not, cannot be resolved through legislation alone but needs the cooperation and understanding of the public too,” she told journalists.
She said this when asked to comment on the status of a western food restaurant popular among urban dwellers, Tony Roma’s, that was recently questioned by patrons on the issue of Halal certification from JAKIM. She said that any restaurant that does not have a Halal certificate has not contravened any law or risk any action taken against it as long as they do not display any fake halal logo.
Earlier, an advertising pamphlet that was circulated at a shopping center in Putrajaya labeled the food at Tony Roma’s restaurant as ‘Non-Halal’. This unintentional disclosure had raised misgivings and doubts among the public involving allegations that the restaurant is not Halal in particular when Tony Roma’s is not on the Halal certificate list given by JAKIM.
Commenting on the matter, the Marketing Manager of Tony Roma’s, Johnny Pan said, even though the restaurant is not given the Halal certificate, all imported meats used in their chain of restaurants nationwide are sourced from an Australian food supplier who is renowned as a supplier and manufacturer of Halal food brands. He said all suppliers of meat or food ingredients must also get approval from JAKIM.
“We realize the importance of ensuring the quality and safety of our food supply in line with the rules and regulations set by JAKIM, especially in the interest of our Muslim customers to enjoy a meal in our restaurants without any reservations,” he said in an email. He added that food preparation at Tony Roma’s restaurants is carried out by Muslim chefs trained in food preparation.
“They are trained in all aspects of food preparation, including the procedures for the preparation of Halal food. Aspects of safety and hygiene in food preparation are also stressed during the training.
“The training is conducted at Tony Roma’s restaurant in Sunway which is recognized as a regional training center.
“We are very sensitive to the needs and desires of our customers, especially those who are Muslims.”
“Our customers should feel comfortable every time they set foot into any Tony Roma’s restaurant across the country and feel reassured that they can enjoy a meal without worrying about consuming haram food,” he explained.
JAKIM had also issued detailed guidelines for foreign halal certification bodies on how they could issue Halal certificates.