Yoghurt firm drops halal certification after row
A SOUTH Australian yoghurt company has bowed to social media pressure and dropped its halal accreditation, despite the fact that it will cost it a $50,000 a year deal.
The Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company came under fire last week on its Facebook page with people suggesting the fee it paid to become Halal-certified was being used to fund terrorism, the ABC reported.
Sales and marketing manager Nick Hutchinson said because of the campaign and a wish to avoid negative publicity the company decided to end its yoghurt supply deal with Emirates on Friday.
"The publicity we were getting was quite negative and something we probably didn't need and we decided we would pull the pin and stop supplying Emirates Airlines," Mr Hutchison said.
The company had paid a $1,000 fee to become Halal certified.
Mr Hutchinson found the criticism quite harsh and said local businesses did not deserve to be bullied by these social media compaigns.
The news comes after APN reported last week that a Sunshine Coast dairy company's decision to refuse halal certification went viral on Facebook.
Ross Hopper, the owner of Maleny Dairies, told APN he was stunned that his Facebook post had reached more than 1.6 million people.
Maleny Dairies posted on its site that the certification catering for Muslim consumers was "not for us", citing the unnecessary extra costs.
"We do not wish to increase the costs of our products to cover the expense of Halal Certification.
"We prefer to make sure our local farmers receive a fair and sustainable price for their milk," the post said.
In a matter of days, the post had received almost 40,000 likes and been shared by more than 4400 people. It also sparked a storm of comments - both against halal certification and in favour.
"If people told me this was going to happen, I would not believe it," Mr Hopper said of the response.
"I think what it says is that people don't want it (halal certification)."
Mr Hopper would not be drawn on whether he believed halal certification funded Islamic extremists, saying as a businessman he was steering well clear of any religious debate.
"We are not here to stir trouble," he said.
But he had no plans to take down the post, claiming that would be "bowing to the minority".
Mr Hopper said he had put up the post so he did not have to respond to many emails from people opposed to halal certification asking whether Maleny Dairies was halal certified or planned to go down that path.
But he admitted the post had only resulted in more emails - and a huge job for the firm's Facebook manager.
Halal industry supporter Ahmed Kilani denied claims the Australian money was being directed to fund terrorism activities overseas, saying the industry was highly regulated.
He said the vast majority of companies involved in certification were not-for-profit organisations which funded community aged care, schools, and local charities.