EXCLUSIVE: Kellogg’s, Sanitarium and Nestle quietly stop paying halal certification fees in Australia – after public concerns about the money funding Islamic activities
- Kellogg’s says it no longer pays halal certification fees for Australian cereals
- Sanitarium confirms it has stopped halal fees for an exported cereals, soy milk
- Nestle has dropped halal certification on its chocolate bars including Kit Kat
- But it still pays halal fees for Milo, Nescafe coffee, Maggi two-minute noodles
Two of Australia’s biggest breakfast cereal makers are no longer paying third-party companies to declare their products are fit for Muslims to eat.
Kellogg’s and Sanitarium have declared there is no need to pay an Islamic business or charity to declare their products contain no pork or alcohol products.
Nestle no longer has halal certification applied to its chocolate bars, including Kit Kat, unlike its rival Cadbury.
Sanitarium, the maker of Weet-Bix, is no longer paying halal certification fees for exports
However Nestle still pays halal fees for Milo, Magi noodles, Nescafe coffee, condensed milk and chilli sauces.
Halal certification fees charged to food manufacturers fund Islamic schools, mosques and religious activities.
Sanitarium, the Seventh Day Adventist company behind Weet-Bix, said it saw no need to to pay third-party halal certifiers for its products sold in Australia.
‘As far as Sanitarium’s position on halal certification we do not use meat-based ingredients or alcohol,’ a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.
Nestle is no longer paying halal certification fees for chocolate bars, including Kit Kat
Who has stopped paying?
Kellogg’s confirmed that it stopped paying halal certification fees last year as a commercial decision.
Sanitarium has stopped paying halal fees for its exported cereals and soy milk, but clarified it never put halal logos on its products sold in Australia.
Nestle ceased paying halal certification fees in March 2016 for its chocolate bars but still has them for Maggi two-minute noodles, Nescafe coffee and condensed milk.
‘This means our products are suitable for people choosing halal or kosher foods.’
It added that its plant-based breakfast cereals and So Good soy milk were already fit for Muslim and Jewish consumption.
‘We do not use and have never needed to use the halal or kosher certification symbols for our local Australian or New Zealand markets as it is unnecessary to do so,’ the spokesman said, adding it had previously paid halal certification fees to export their products to 35 nations.
Kellogg’s, which sells popular plant-based cereals like Corn Flakes and Special K, denied it last year changed its halal policies over public pressure.
‘They’re inherently halal, so we chose not to renew our certification in 2016 as part of a regular review of all certifications for our foods,’ a spokesman said.
‘This was a commercial decision, not the result of any public pressure or backlash.’
Halal Certification Authority president Mohamed Elmouelhy said halal opened the door to lucrative export markets in Muslim-majority nations like Indonesia and Malaysia
However Halal Certification Authority president Mohamed Elmouelhy said a public campaign against halal certification may have made companies think twice.
‘Yes, of course. There was a campaign,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Elmouelhy has declined the reveal the details of his clients or where his halal fees went.
But he argued companies that had halal certification arrangements would have an easier time exporting to Muslim-majority nations like Indonesia and Malaysia.
‘That brings in a lot of money to the company,’ he said. ‘Not just Cadbury, every single company.’
Halal Choices campaigner Kirralie Smith said many products were already suitable for Muslims and didn’t need to have halal certification fees levied to ‘state the obvious’
Halal Choices campaigner Kirralie Smith said halal fees were unnecessary for plant-based products anyway.
‘Muslims will buy their products anyway,’ she said.
‘They’re already halal. What we’re concerned about is companies paying fees to state the obvious.’
Ms Smith, a farmer from northern New South Wales, ran as a Senate candidate with the Australian Liberty Alliance at last year’s federal election and is now a member of Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives.
She said there was still a long way to go to achieve more transparency with halal certification regulations, with major food producers Vegemite and Bega cheese continuing to pay halal certification fees.
‘I’m hoping that other politicians will continue to put pressure on the government,’ she said.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in June successfully moved a motion in the Senate for the federal cabinet to examine existing halal certification labels.
She wants the government to explore the recommendations of a 2015 Senate enquiry into third-party halal certification.
Nestle said an Australian company halal certified its foods, apart from chocolate bars.
‘The fee we pay in Australia, stays in Australia. The certifier is owned by a group of community organisations who invest in programs to support their local communities,’ a spokeswoman said.
She said any small change to ingredients affected the halal certification process.
Nestle no longer pays for chocolate bars to be halal certified but third-party groups still levy a fee on Nescafe coffee, Maggi noodles, Movenpick ice cream and condensed milk