Food outlets in Malaysia will not receive halal certification if they do not rename hot dogs, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysian (Jakim) said on Tuesday.
The government adopted the ruling to change all food and beverage names that would confuse Muslims even though the products are halal, which means they are compliant with Muslim laws.
"Any (halal) products that confuse consumers, we have to change," Sirajuddin Suhaimee, the Jakim director said. "In Islam, dogs are considered unclean and the name cannot be related to halal certification."
Numerous street vendors and halal restaurants sell hot dogs in Malaysia. Sirajuddin said checks would be made "step-by-step" when these outlets renew their two-year halal certification with the department.
The change applies to all food names using “dog” as well as other popular products. This includes “root beer” and “coney dog” — the former popularly contains no alcohol and the latter are a Coney Island twist on the classic American hot dog.
Under the concept of halal—meaning "permissible" in Arabic—pork and its by-products, alcohol, and animals not slaughtered according to Islamic procedures are forbidden to consume.
A halal convention in Kuala Lumpur last year, which drew thousands of delegates and hundreds of exhibitors, showcased products ranging from food and cosmetics to collagen produced from yaks in Tibet.