There are a few typos in my hurried response. I would like to know theirs! Read from the bottom up. My initial email asked why anyone would want to buy halal Easter eggs and what they hope to achieve by certification.
Begin forwarded message:
Date: 19 March 2013
To: Cadbury Consumer Relations <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Response From Kraft Foods – Reference # [redacted]
Dear Ms Delaney,
Thank you for your prompt and detailed response. Of course, this has nothing to do with race, as one may adhere to the tenets of any religion irrespective of racial background. Just as there are Christians of Middle Eastern or Egyptian background, so are there Muslims of Anglo-Saxon-Celtic origin. Race is not an issue at all. Race is not a choice people make; religion is.
I did not seek to address the related issue of what the AFIC does with revenue from halal certification, although I am aware that others may have done so.
Your assurance that halal certification is not intended to offend those of other religious backgrounds is unhelpful. No doubt you could have said, quite reasonably, that in the many decades before halal certification, that not having certified Cadbury’s Chocolate certified as halal was not intended to be offensive to Muslims. Because it wasn’t. Indeed, I feel could be quite sure that your export market was quite vast before you commenced halal certification. Has Cadbury’s and Kraft measured an increase in export revenue since halal certification? I not, why pay the fees to do so?
I am not surprised that the cows from which you obtain fresh milk are not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic religious law. I have yet to see a dairy farmer feel the need to slaughter a cow in order to obtain her milk.
My issue here is one of double standards. You are marketing seasonal, in this case overtly Christian, confectionary stamped as having been approved by a different religion, one that is and always has been overtly hostile to Christianity, in both scripture and historical action; in countries where Sharia has enjoyed suzerainty over Christian peoples, various degrees of humiliation and second class citizenship (dhimma) have been exacted upon them, c.f. mere co-existence.
Would you expect the same reaction – one of polite email exchange – if you were to have produced some kind of confectionary marketed as having been produced for consumption at Iftar feasts or Eid-al-fitr, but on the back was stamped as being approved at the factory by the Bishop of Tasmania? The reaction would likely be quite different, and not limited to a private boycott of your products. Muslims would justly feel offended, but the reaction of some of the more animated members of their community would be, well, animated.
I am not conducting any sort of campaign, let alone one associated with bigotry or racism. I resent the implication that I am part of any such campaign. This is not the United Kingdom: one cannot shut down a discussion by implying that the other party is a racist, when the moral worth of such disingenuous straw man arguments is plain to see.
Your response is not satisfactory. I will be doing all my Easter shopping with confectioners who make “seasonal” chocolate for all, without feeling the need to have some religious authority give it their stamp of approval. It matters not a fig to me if they halal certify a Freddo Frog or some other product, but doing so for Easter chocolate is risible at best.
Furthermore, I will privately – offline – advise all my friends and relatives to us Easter eggs from Aldi, Lindt, and anyone else who just makes the product and lets consumers be the judge of whether it is appropriate or not.
Imposition of religious law, or regulation stemming from such law, has no place in a secular society such as Australia. I am disappointed in both Cadbury’s and Kraft for suborning themselves to religious regulation, howsoever minor such subordination may be.
On 19/03/2013, Cadbury Consumer Relations <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Thank you for contacting Kraft Foods regarding Halal certification of our Cadbury products.
Kraft Foods proudly makes products that are enjoyed by people of every race, colour and creed and our seasonal chocolate is often enjoyed by chocolate lovers who may not necessarily celebrate Easter or Christmas in the Christian tradition. We are also fiercely proud of being an Australian/New Zealand business whose products are locally manufactured and exported to markets throughout South East Asia.
One of the main reasons some of our products are halal certified is to ensure that people of Muslim faith, both here in Australia and across our export markets, can identify our products as including ingredients that meet their consumption requirements.
Cadbury products do not contain ingredients from animals with the exception of fresh full cream milk which is present within our Cadbury Dairy Milk milk chocolate recipe. The cows that we source this milk from are not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law[emphasis added].
Following other consumer inquiries, Kraft Foods has written formally to the AFIC in order to seek clarification on its business activities. In response, the AFIC provided Kraft Foods with verbal and written assurances that it is not engaged in unlawful activities [oh, well that’s okay then!]. As such, Kraft Foods has confidence in AFIC as a reputable organisation.
We would also like to make clear that the Halal certification of our products is not intended to offend any other cultural or religious belief; and does not prevent other faiths from being able to purchase and consume our products [perhaps, but neither does Cadbury specifically market to other religions].
As a business, Kraft was founded upon values of integrity and respect and takes a strong stance against any individual or campaign promoting racism, bigotry and disrespect.
We hope this addresses your question and any concerns you might have. Kraft produces products that bring joy to millions of people across the world every day, and we’re determined to keep doing that.
KRAFT FOODS LIMITED
Consumer Relations Advisor