Vegan pork tonkatsu-flavored noodles cannot receive halal certification
According to Indonesian Ulema Council the vegan product cannot receive halal certification- usually given for meat products only.
Creamy tonkatsu broth, made by cooking pork bones for hours with other ingredients, is one of the most popular accompaniments to Japanese ramen noodles. For those who avoid any animal products but would still like to experience an approximation of its rich flavor, some instant noodle manufacturers produce vegan tonkatsu noodles that contain nary a pork product.
However, according to the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the absence of any pig-based ingredients does not mean that vegan tonkatsu ramen can be considered halal by their standards.
Earlier this month, the Institute for the Assessment of Food, Drugs and Cosmetics of the Indonesian Ulema Council (LPPOM MUI), which is the official body that determines which products sold in Indonesia can receive halal certification, issued a statement in response to a viral picture of a vegan tonkatsu noodle brand from Japan, called Simply Good, that featured a halal-certification logo.
The logo on the package comes from the Nippon Asia Halal Association, a Japan-based certification body. As LPPOM explains in their statement, only products certified by MUI can be recognized and distributed as halal in Indonesia.
“The use of vegan flavours with a sensory profile like pork cannot be certified, so the tonkotsu instant rice noodle (vegan) product with pork bone broth flavour definitely cannot be distributed officially in Indonesia by including the halal logo on the packaging,” according to Raafqi Ranasasmita, the corporate secretary manager of LPPOM MUI, who is quoted in the statement.
The statement includes several points regarding LPPOM’s certification guidelines to explain why the vegan noodles could never receive MUI’s approval. The first is that, “products may not use names and/or food/beverage symbols that lead to disbelief and evil”.
The second is that products may not use names “that refer to the names of objects/animals that are forbidden, especially pork and khamr [alcoholic beverages]”.
The third is products may not use ingredients “that give rise to the taste/aroma (flavour) of objects or animals that are forbidden” such as pork-flavoured instant noodles or bacon-flavoured products that don’t contain pork.
Raafqi added, “There may be differences in standards between Indonesia and certification bodies from other countries. We urge the public to continue to consume halal-certified products with a distribution permit from BPOM [Indonesia’s food and drug administration] so that they are guaranteed from a halal perspective and food safety,” he explained.
It appears that the Simply Good brand noodles are not sold in Indonesia and this statement was simply issued in response to viral social media posts from concerned Muslims about the existence of such a product.
In the past, MUI has hesitated to give certain vaccines halal certification due to their potential to contain “elements of pig DNA” (though, eventually, they did give Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccines emergency certification).
And while vegan noodles may not be able to get MUI’s approval, they have shown a willingness to give other unlikely products halal-certifications in the past…