The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) today confirmed the discovery of porcine-based deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in HP Sauce and Tabasco Pepper Sauce, two popular food seasonings widely used in cooking.

As such, the agency has urged all existing holders of Malaysian Halal certificate using these two products to switch to other Halal-certified alternative and present JAKIM with the purchase receipt for confirmation.

HP Sauce Advert in The Sun, UK

HP Sauce advert, as found in The Sun newspaper in the UK.

According to JAKIM’s Director of Halal Hub Sazali Harun, producers and restaurant operators are also urged to conduct a samak process and present the samak verification letter from their respective State Islamic Religious Authorities for JAKIM’s confirmation.

Samak or sertu is a ritual cleansing process in which clay soil and water is mixed and used for cleaning tainted parts or equipments to purify from known Haram elements.

“Jakim has taken a few sample of the product and the lab test conducted by Malaysia’s Chemistry Department confirms the presence of porcine DNA in them,” Sazali said.

“Producers using these two products must also present us with the purchase receipt of a new alternative brand for our confirmation,” he said in a statement as reported in a local daily Utusan Malaysia and Information Ministry’s blog, although JAKIM’s Halal Hub website itself does not carry the news.

HP Sauce is a popular brown sauce (steak sauce) by HP Foods, now produced by H.J. Heinz in Elst, the Netherlands, although HP Sauce is still produced in the UK in sachet form at H.J. Heinz’s Telford Factory. First introduce in 1895, it is the most well-known brand of brown sauce in the UK and Canada as well as the best selling, with 71% of the UK market.

It has a malt vinegar base, blended with tomato, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener and spices. It is notable for being one of the few sauces using tamarind and is usually used as an adjunct to hot or cold savoury food, or as an ingredient in soups or stews.

Tabasco pepper sauce

Tabasco pepper sauce

Tabasco sauce meanwhile, is a spicy hot condiment invented in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny and made from Tabasco peppers, vinegar and salt. Until recently, all Tabasco peppers were grown on Avery Island, Louisiana. While a small portion of the crop is still grown there, the bulk is now grown in various locations in Central and South America.

Both brands are marketed in Malaysia by GBA Corporation, a leading sales, marketing and distribution company. Established in August 1987, GBA markets a balanced portfolio of 36 brands in Malaysia selling products across multiple sectors such as food, health supplement and personal and beauty care.

In a separate statement, JAKIM also confirmed that the Malaysian Halal certificate for Penang-based Lucky Food Processing Sdn Bhd have been revoked with immediate effect following the discovery of porcine DNA in two of their products the Chicken Burger Patties and Chicken Taiwan Sausage.

The revocation of the company’s Halal certification was based on the decision of the Halal Malaysia Verification Meeting Panel Bil 12/2011 held on April 22, 2011. More details of this news is available here.

Established in 1982, Lucky Food’s main focus is in supplying a wide range of imported chilled and frozen products such as beef, lamb, poultry, venison, seafood, frozen vegetables, chilled and frozen dairies, condiments and confectionery ingredients.

Halal Media