Clover products will no longer be certified halaal - MJC

Clover products will no longer be certified as halaal. File image: Independent Newspapers

Clover products will no longer be certified as halaal. File image: Independent Newspapers

Published May 2, 2024


Cape Town - Branded foods and beverages group, Clover, will no longer be halaal certified come August, as the Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust acts on its stance against the ongoing genocide in Gaza and Israeli goods and services.

The Trust this week made it public that since 1 January, they have not certified any Clover products as halaal, but that stock bearing the logo would come to an end by August.

Trust chief operations officer, Moulana Zakariyah Philander, explained their decision was not made overnight, but that nine months were allocated to the phasing out of their logos.

In their public notice, the Trust said as of January 1, 2024, they would no longer be certifying Clover – which was bought by Milco, a consortium headed by Israeli beverage firm Central Bottling Company in 2019 – as halaal.

Philander said they were already in possession of a spreadsheet of product logos that had already been removed.

“Since last year, we, the MJC Halaal Trust, made a policy decision and we had to decide where we stand on this BDS, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions,” he said.

“We released a very clear statement at that time. We made it clear where we are positioning ourselves.

“Towards the end of the year, we started the process when doing renewals for the new year.”

Philander said they had met with the executives of Clover, who came to an understanding about the decision and that a period would be given to phase out their logos.

“We had to take this policy into consideration as part of the work processes. The company affected by this process was Clover, who fall directly into what the policy is talking about,” he added.

Clover is expected to comment on the matter in due course.

The Cape Argus on Wednesday contacted the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, who referred the paper to the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF).

SAZF national chairperson, Rowan Polovin, said: “We have been forwarded your request for comment on the Milco/Halaal issue. We’re not in a position to comment at this stage but if the story develops, please let us know and we can discuss further.”

Philander said that if everything went according to Clover’s plan, by the end of August, the Halaal logo would be removed from all of their products.

“We are dealing with food supply chains and once you make a decision it is not just about making the decision, but pulling the brakes on everything. There is a functioning line.

“We agreed there was to be a period of time when we make our announcement and that will allow Clover to put their plan into action in terms of taking the logo off all the products that the logo is currently on.

“We had an agreement in place and recently they have afforded us their rollout plan.

“We do have a spreadsheet that we received from Clover that shows us which product logos have been removed and which products are to be removed.

“This move is obviously part of our bigger concern about what is currently happening in Israel and Gaza, and it is our contribution to say that we would like to see peace in that part of the world. We would like to see a democracy, where all citizens, Arabs and Israelis, are equal and this is our bit of activism.”

In October 2023, when Palestinian political group Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel provoked a siege by the Israel Defense Forces that has claimed nearly 35 000 Palestinian lives, the Trust announced that they would be adopting a policy to not certify any goods or services emanating from Israel and to boycott Israeli companies.

Ten years ago, it made the announcement that it would be certifying new Clover products following queries and concerns as to why they did not bear the halaal logo.

Previously, concerns had been raised about the gelatine content in Clover fresh creams but it was later confirmed the product had been certified following a full manufacturing investigation.

The National Consumer Commission on Wednesday said the matter was not one for the commission to comment on.