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Starbucks accused of being haram again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again…

Starbucks accused of being haram again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again…

Tasneem Nazari

For the sixth time (based on our Google search) since 2011, Starbucks Malaysia has again been accused of being haram.

Picture credit: MEME

The food and beverage company responded to a few tweets today (Sept 4) of people asking them about the legitimacy of a viral WhatsApp message being circulated.

In the tweets, Starbucks Malaysia responded with a link to an old Facebook post by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM).

Interestingly, every time they’ve been accused has been due the same viral message that somehow keeps getting circulated every year or so. 

Picture credit: Sebenarnya.my

According to the message, all coffee, chocolate and vanilla drinks served at Starbucks uses E471 (emulsifier 471), an ingredient that apparently has pork origins.

The message also claims that their raspberry frappuccino contained cherries dunked in alcohol and that their tiramisu frappuccino contains rum.

Picture credit: Pinterest and Msia Promos

In June last year, fact-checking portal Sebenarnya.my covered the illegitimacy of the viral message as well, clarifying that JAKIM has since responded to the allegations several times.

Read on below to find out all the other times Starbucks Malaysia has been accused of being haram.

And then share this article with your aunty/makciks who keep circulating the fake news.

1. October 2011

Late 2011 is the earliest news coverage we can find of a similar accusation. 

It seems that in 2011 the viral message was circulated via SMS (remember those days, you guys?!)

A concerned consumer tweeted about the SMS and Starbucks responded assuring them that the company’s halal status was certified and could be checked on the JAKIM website.

The company also released a statement on their official Facebook page which clarified that the rumour had been circulated for the past seven years starting from a spam email (omg guys!!! Remember those??!!)

2. December 2014

In 2014, the same viral message was circulated via SMS again.

JAKIM released a statement saying they have neither suspended nor revoked Starbucks Malaysia’s halal certification.

The statement reportedly added that the Halal Hub Division of JAKIM had received many telephone queries (from presumably panic stricken Starbucks lovers) on the halal status of Starbucks.

Picture credit: Imgflip

The news assumably got pretty heated because the “source” of the information named in the message, Dr Zahazan Mohammad had to come forward about how he never said any such thing.

Picture credit: Facebook/JAKIM

3. October 2015

JAKIM again releases a statement saying Starbucks is still halal, pointing out that the message being circulated on WhatsApp wasn’t new and had previously gone viral (yeah, like last year but via SMS).

“We debunked this rumour before. We can assure you that Starbucks Malaysia is certified halal and its certification has never been revoked.”

JAKIM officer via The Star Online

4. December 2016

No news sites covered the allegations this time around, probably because they had gotten tired of it by now.

However, according to a Facebook post by JAKIM, a voice note by a lorry driver claiming that Starbucks isn’t halal was being circulated online.

In the Facebook post, JAKIM again assured it’s followers that Starbucks is indeed still halal.

Starbucks also shared the post on their Twitter to reassure their own followers.

5. January 2017

Less than a month later, JAKIM again posted on Facebook rubbishing allegations that Starbucks was certified haram.

This time, the viral message was circulated on Facebook implicating Dr Zahazan as the source of information again (the same dude who got accused in 2014). Poor guy.

The Facebook post is the same post Starbucks is now referring to today about the same allegations!

JAKIM also told reporters that they only certify food and beverages as halal and don’t certify anything as being haram.

“The viral news saying JAKIM has certified Starbucks as being haram is inaccurate. We have never certified Starbucks as being haram.”

Jakim Halal Hub Division Director Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee via Free Malaysia Today

The religious body also stated that restaurants without the halal certification may not necessarily be haram as they may have just not yet applied for halal certification. 

This whole incident just goes to show how damaging and utterly annoying fake viral messages can be.

TRP urges our readers to always fact check your sources before sharing anything online!

Can you think of any other times Starbucks Malaysia was accused of being haram? Share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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