Most food has never been halal or kosher

So Cadbury’s has been caught with some pork fat in its chocolate bars in Malaysia. Tsk:

Chocolate maker Cadbury has recalled two products in mainly Muslim Malaysia after traces of pig DNA were found during a routine check for non-halal substances.

“Cadbury has voluntarily removed two of its products from the shelves,” said the Malaysian health minister, S Subramaniam.

The tests were conducted by the ministry which over the weekend announced that two Cadbury products contained pork traces.

Chocolate products are popular in Malaysia and can be found in most shops nationwide.
Pork and its byproducts are not considered halal – permissible – and are forbidden for Muslims to consume, along with alcohol and meat from animals not slaughtered according to Islamic procedures.

Clearly, not good for the company.

However, I’m reminded of a little story I heard somewhere or other. Some decent number of our more recent immigrants into the UK are vegetarian for religious and or cultural reasons. And they continue to eat the diet they had before: dahls and curries and rice and so on. But doctors are seeing dietary diseases, anaemias and so on, products of protein deficiency, in some of these people. Problems that didn’t appear with the same diet in the Old Country.

The explanation offered is that Third World food chains are so infested with insects and weevils and the like that people were getting a significant amount of animal (or at least insect) protein even while eating a nominally vegetarian diet. Our much cleaner food supply chain doesn’t offer this: thus the protein deficiencies.

And this leads to the idea that historic food chains have never actually been properly halal or kosher. Sure, they might not actually have had pig fat in them but there’s much more to both sets of dietary restrictions than that. It’s only with modern food handling (and detection as well) practices that it’s even possible to get close to the ideals.

17 thoughts on “Most food has never been halal or kosher”

  1. Are there no subs at Worstall Towers?

    Of course most food has never been halal or kosher. What the headline should have said is: “Most halal and kosher food has never been truly halal or kosher.”


  2. I think most sailors, faced with a choice between squeamishness and protein deficiency went for the lesser of two weevils. (So what? I liked it)

    Halal in Malaysia yields interesting results; I can’t now find any chocolate with traces of pork fat in it, but have no problem getting a drink.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    But doctors are seeing dietary diseases, anaemias and so on, products of protein deficiency, in some of these people.

    White people are white for a reason. Black and Brown people are not for a reason. It may not just be diet but a lack of proper sunshine.

    Which seems to be more important in a range of diseases than the anti-skin cancer campaigners seem to have assumes.

    But is a bug that flies into your throat hallal/kosher?

  4. “White people are white for a reason. Black and Brown people are not for a reason”. Come, come; race is just a social construct.

  5. Why is this a concern of the Health Minister of Malaysia as opposed to someone wearing a funny hat and a bedsheet?

  6. Why is this a concern of the Health Minister of Malaysia as opposed to someone wearing a funny hat and a bed-sheet

    What the hell has it got to do with the KKK?

  7. @DocBud ‘Chocolate covered bacon, sounds like Homer’s dream dish.’

    I believe a variation on it saved the lives of the Andean plane crash survivors!

  8. Your “little story”, Tim, has got urban myth written all over it.

    Two thousand years of breeding vegetarians and presumably you get some very parsimonious metabolisms. It’s the recent converts to vegetarianism who logically would be cluttering up the A&E.

    So are they? No.

  9. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I do know that there is an ‘acceptable’ number, per the Health Inspector bods, for things like how many cockroach legs you’re allowed to have in a pound of Dairy Milk, and that number is not zero. This story is a bit odd, though. At what stage in its production does chocolate usually stand a reasonable chance of incorporating lard?

  10. @ Tim Newman
    Serious veggies will not eat a jelly or mousse using gelatine. My son’s partner has helpfully explained this to me (but if someone had told me before I prepared Christmas Dinner it might have helped since I had not previously known that gelatine was an animal product so my attempt to replace Christmas Pudding was doomed) .

  11. Jews famously don’t mix meat with milk products. Very Orthodox Jews try to avoid trace elements of say meat entering a milk dish by leaving I think three hours between such meals so that the odours will have been dispersed.
    That custom also allows proper digestion between meals. Not a bad thing.
    The less orthodox don’t care. I once saw a Jew holding a cheese sandwich in one hand and a chicken sandwich in the other. He was mildly criticised for mixing foods. He said he kept kosher by taking alternate bites.

  12. Bloke in Germany

    McDonald’s in Tel Aviv must be an interesting place. I have to wonder how they keep both the Jewish and Muslim customers happy. I guess separate entrances might be a good idea, indeed for more than one reason.

  13. I’m afraid I don’t care what the invisible sky fairy says that I can and cannot eat. How can the enzymes required to digest food have any idea whether the cow I am eating was facing West when slaughtered.

    I know for a fact that in at least one “Halal” slaugherhouse the do not have a west facing kill room, so when it is time for the halal meat they get out a magic marker write the word “west” on a bit of cardboard and stick it on the wall in front of where the cows get the bolt in between their eyes. They can genuinely say it was killed facing west because it was, just not geographically.

    Its all a load of religious mind control for weak willed morons who cannot think for themselves.

    Anyway now I feel like chocolate covered bacon

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