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Oreo cookies. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: UAE distributors of popular chocolate biscuit brand Oreo have confirmed that their products are halal.

The clarification came after a tweet from the company’s official twitter handle over the weekend that seemed to suggest that the cookies weren’t appropriate for Muslim consumers.

A tweet sent from the official ‘Oreo Cookie’ verified twitter account on Saturday read “Thanks for reaching out! OREO cookies are not halal.”

This sparked panic and confusion among Muslim consumers who have since retweeted it over 6,800 times as of Tuesday afternoon.

“Do you mean that you have not been certified halal? Or do you mean your products include ingredients that are forbidden for Muslims to consume?” asked @joebradford in the thread below the tweet.

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“They are saying that vanilla extract contains a small amount of alcohol therefore making it haram,” added @suadmuhamed. “Many believe that vanilla extract burns the alcohol when cooked and many don’t. I think it’s an eat at your own risk kind of thing.”

@Sesa_Opas said: “This tweet will be captured and spread like wildfire on Facebook soon. And the PR of Oreo in my country will be working overtime.”

Our social media is outsourced and the message [tweet] came in two parts. Only one part was circulated, but the other part clarified in ‘the US and Canada’. The tweet is incorrect and has misled consumers in our part of the world. Oreo products sold in this region are halal and compliant with local laws and regulations.

- Mondelez International spokesperson, Mondelez manufacures, distributes Oreo biscuits across GCC region

Meanwhile @MuslimMatters added: “Dear Oreo, please advise what about the cookies is not halal? Is it a certification or an ingredients issue? If you are vegetarian friendly, then you are also halal friendly automatically. Please leave the fatwas (edicts) for Islamic scholars.”

A spokesperson of Mondelez International, which manufactures and distributes Oreo biscuits across the region told Gulf News: “Our social media is outsourced and the message [tweet] came in two parts. Only one part was circulated, but the other part clarified in ‘the US and Canada’.

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“The tweet is incorrect and has misled consumers in our part of the world. Oreo products sold in this region are halal and compliant with local laws and regulations.”

A later statement from Mondelez read: "We can assure you that all our Oreo products sold in the GCC are halal and fully compliant with local laws and regulations. Mondelez are proud that Oreo biscuits are manufactured in the GCC  and as a responsible company we always seek to offer our consumers the best quality product, with labelling designed to give people clear information about our ingredients and the suitability for their diets."

Gulf News also approached Dubai Municipality's Food Safety Department, who said: "All Oreo consignments imported to Dubai are physically checked along with their documents by port inspectors. Furthermore samples are also periodically tested at Dubai Central Laboratory for fitness and to confirm whether or not there has been any adulteration with any animal derivatives."