Malaysia: Business as usual for bakeries despite losses due to non-halal butter


KUCHING: The declaration that Golden Churn Creamery butter is non-halal has cost some bakeries here big losses but they are taking it in their stride.

Many bakeries are now busy finding alternatives and some bakers had seen the problem coming months ago when claims of porcine contamination in the Golden Churn product first surfaced in the peninsula.

Since April, Di Wannie Cake, which specialises in Sarawak layered-cakes or kek lapis, has been changing back and forth between ButterLite and Buttercup.

The company’s kek lapis used to be made from Golden Churn, because it was the best tasting butter in the market — a tub of 2kg Golden Churn butter cost RM71.

Biting the bullet: Di Wannie Cake CEO Zoraidah Leen and sales director Mahathir Bujang arranging layered-cakes as they get ready for business. Di Wannie Cake’s layered-cakes are no longer made from Golden Churn Creamery Butter product, which had been confirmed by Jais as non-halal. Zoraidah said she switched brands a few months ago. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star

Di Wannie Cake chief executive officer Zoraidah Leen said Muslim consumers should not be doubtful of their products because they had disposed of their stock of Golden Churn Butter and carried out samak or purification according to Islamic teachings on all kitchen appliances under the supervision of the State Islamic Department (Jais) yesterday.

She said she had to stop her operations for a day to clean all 120 baking trays, three mixers, four refrigerators and tables after the state Government on Wednesday confirmed that Golden Churn was non-halal.

“I wished the authorities had confirmed its non-halal status earlier. Since April the rumour has been going around on the Internet. So since then, I have lost about RM40,000 because of this.

“I’ve decided to switch brands because I felt it was too risky to continue using Golden Churn. Maybe it’s for the better, Golden Churn was the most expensive butter brand,” she told The Star.

It was learnt that Di Wannie Cake was the first premises with halal certification from the Sarawak Islamic Council to undergo the samak exercise after Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman confirmed that Golden Churn butter was not halal on Wednesday.

The exercise will be carried out statewide by businesses which have the halal certification and are known to use Golden Churn Creamery Butter.

Daud had said the halal certification logo on Golden Churn butter would be withdrawn as it had been confirmed to contain pig DNA.

Proper procedure: Workers at Di Wannie Cake cleaning utensils according to Islamic teachings.

He said the decision was applicable throughout the country and Muslims were not allowed to consume the butter.

Zoraidah said Di Wannie Cake received its halal certification three years ago and they wished to maintain that status so that it could enjoy a bigger market share domestically and internationally.

The Golden Churn episode would not make Di Wannie Cake lose its halal certification because it was not done intentionally as everyone thought the product was halal.

“We’ll try to find other suitable ingredients to maintain and enhance our cakes’ quality and taste,” said Zoraidah.

Taka Cake House director Leong Boon Hoo said consumers could be assured that all their pastry and cake products were halal as they had stopped using Golden Churn Butter nearly two years ago because the product was too expensive.

“I’ve switched to Golden Fern from New Zealand which is certified halal by the Malaysian government.”

He said Taka Cake House was committed in maintaining its reputation as a halal outlet. Jais and the State Islamic Council conduct regular checks on all 13 Taka Cake House outlets in the city to ensure all halal requirements are met.

A check on a few other bakeries in the city showed that the Golden Churn’s non-halal episode would not affect their business because they were using other cheaper butter brands.