6884 A family size hot cross bun. Angela Day Kitchen, Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg. 060409 - Picture: Jennifer Bruce

Suren Naidoo

RETAILER Woolworths has come under fire from some Christians for putting the halaal certification mark on hot cross bun packaging.

But Father Chris Townsend of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has labelled the issue “nothing more than a storm in a baking pan”.

Yesterday, e-mails on the issue made the rounds around SA and it also featured on Twitter and Facebook.

Some Christians complained that hot cross buns had special significance to Christians and the halaal symbol should not be used.

Halaal certification signifies foods that can be eaten by Muslims.

Tony Seifart tweeted: “Woolworths SA clearly has no respect of the Christian Faith to make hot cross buns halaal.”

“It’s not about the ingredients – it’s the act of taking something tied to my beliefs and stamping it with a halaal symbol,” another tweet read.

Tanya Kovarsk tweeted: “Getting @saulkza hot cross buns from @WOOLWORTHS_SA. All the halaal talk has made him hungry for them.”

But Oresti Patricios disagreed. He tweeted: “Not about choice, it’s about stupidity. It’s only a hot cross bun, why can’t anyone eat it?”

Townsend said it was all an “over-reaction by some members of the Christian community” and that people needed to be more understanding.

Woolworths said: “We apologise and assure our customers that no offence was intended. Our next Easter offer will have both non-halaal certified hot cross buns and halaal-certified spiced buns.”