ASEAN January 2020
Impossible Burger to seek Halal Certification for Impossible Pork/Sausage
In what appears to be a controversial move, Impossible Foods, the manufacturer of the globally-renown Impossible Burger is now hoping to gain Halal certification for its new products Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage in ASEAN, where more than 40% of its population are muslims.
Although Impossible Pork/Sausage is made up of entirely plant-based materials, to convince Muslims to take a bite out of either of these products seems like something of a Mission Impossible in Southeast Asia, as the name ‘Pork’ and ‘Sausage’ could prove discomforting to these consumer.
Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods which debuted the 2 new products in the US recently, said the products are not specifically designed to target people with religious obligations, however seeking ‘Kosher’ and ‘Halal’ certification is "important to us”.
Impossible Foods estimated that about 2.5 billion people worldwide refrain from pork and pork-derived products based on the religious practices of Muslims, Hindus, Jews and some Christian sects.
The company's Senior Flavour Scientist Laura Kliman said that with this new innovation, everyone could enjoy Impossible Pork "without compromise to deliciousness, ethics or Earth”.
It remains to be seen whether it will get the Halal certification from muslim bodies in ASEAN or even from the US for the 2 new products.
In Singapore, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said it is aware of the new products and is "convening experts to determine its suitability for Muslim consumption”.
Azmi Abdul Samad, Chief Executive of HalalHub Consultants which helps food manufacturers and food service operators to get Halal certification in Singapore said that the name ‘pork’ is a major turn off for muslim consumers and will probably make it hard for Impossible Foods to get the Halal certification in ASEAN countries.
“You can call it Impossible whatever meat, but not a name associated with pigs and pork,” he said. “There is a certain requirement with regards to naming. Jakim (Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development) would not even let you use the word ham even if it's chicken ham, and Malaysia doesn't allow the word ham in halal restaurant,” he added.
In Singapore, the the word ham or bacon is allowed in halal food, but it must have a prefix stating it is made from other animals, such as chicken ham or turkey bacon.
There is a high chance that Impossible Pork will be shun by muslims in the same way as ‘non-alcoholic’ beer was shunned despite its zero alcohol content. However, Impossible Pork might still attract a small number of muslim consumers who are curious to try, to know how ‘pork’ tastes like.



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