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Photo for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: Oreo cookies were put under the spotlight recently after a package of the chocolate biscuit did not carry a halal label.

The Abu Dhabi Food and Safety Authority confirmed that all Oreo biscuits were halal and did not contain ingredients that opposed the halal requirement.

The Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) told Gulf News in an emailed statement that not all food products are required to carry the halal label in the UAE.

Khalaf Al Hammadi, head of ESMA's Standards Department, said: “The halal label, or the mark, is not mandatory unless the manufacturer would like to claim so.”

Food products that contain the halal label comply with the requirements of Islamic Sharia.

Confirming Oreo’s adherence to the halal requirement, Al Hammadi explained: “In general, all standards for food products in the UAE stress on the halal requirement and accordingly, only meat and poultry products or other products that the meat is part of its ingredient, will also require Halal certificate for such category. However, no link should be made between the halal certificate and the halal mark as long as there is no claim made otherwise by the manufacturer.”

Last May, Dubai Municipality addressed rumours circulating on social networking sites about Oreo biscuits that allegedly contained a small amount of alcohol.

The municipality explained that there was a mistake translating the food ingredients into Arabic.

“The word 'chocolate liquor' was literally translated to alcohol, on the other hand, it should have been translated to cocoa paste,” it added.

All Oreo biscuits distributed in the UAE are manufactured in Bahrain and strictly follows all requirements of halal food items.

General requirements

  • It should not be contrary to the provisions of Islamic Sharia.
  • To apply any of the internationally accepted quality management systems, in addition to any of the product safety management systems, or Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), good hygiene practices (GHP) related to the halal product that are globally applicable and acceptable to the authority.
  • Not to be contrary to public order and morals and Islamic values prevailing in the state.

Source: UAE Regulations for Control on Halal Products, ESMA