Canteens to boycott halal food products

Owners face losses as consumers refuse to buy halal food

Canteen owners in Sri Lanka have decided to boycott halal products from April, the All Ceylon Canteen Owners Association told the ‘Colombo Gazette’newspaper.

President of the association, Asela Sampath, said that the decision was reached as most consumers refuse to purchase halal products.

Sampath said that repeated requests to the authorities to address the issue fell on deaf ears and the canteen owners were facing a loss by purchasing halal products and being unable to sell them.

As a result he said canteens operating on rent in schools and at other public places will stop purchasing and selling halal products from next month.

The move to boycott halal products comes days after the Bodu Bala Sena called for a complete ban on halal products instead of just removing the logo from products sold locally.

The Bodu Bala Sena had said that Sinhalese Buddhists must completely boycott halal products.

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) had this week said it had decided to withdraw the halal logo from local food products as a result of the tensions which arose in the country recently.

Addressing a joint media briefing in Colombo between the ACJU, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and a group of senior Buddhist monks, the ACJU said that the halal logo will not be issued in future for products sold locally.

However the logo will be made available as an option for products to be exported to some countries, the ACJU said.

ACJU President Rizvi Mufthi said that the halal certification was issued as a service to the Muslims and was not compulsory.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it did not expect the withdrawing of the logo for products sold locally to have an impact on businesses.

Susantha Ratnayake, chairman of the chamber, had said that the halal logo will be imprinted on products sent to some countries like in the Middle East and the Maldives where it is compulsory for the logo to be on food products.

The Bodu Bala Sena had meanwhile said that the sales of halal products at Muslim enterprises had dropped by 50 percent as a result of the debate on the issue created by the monks.

 

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