World - February 08 (The Weekly Vice) -- Muslims are outraged at Doritos brand tortilla chips. Will they declare Jihad? At minimum, they'll boycott it.
Muslims are criticizing the manufacturer of Doritos, after it has come to light that a couple of it's varieties contain minute chemical traces of alcohol as a means of extracting more flavor from the chip. The consumption of alcohol is forbidden in Islam, which includes the use of alcohol in cooking.
The issue originated when a Muslim shopkeeper who says that a customer informed him of the
"A customer informed us that Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli and Doritos Chilli Heat Wave are not on Walkers' alcohol-free list. Our suppliers were unaware of this," explained Besharat Rehman, the shopkeeper. "Even if it is a trace amount of alcohol, Walkers should make it clear on the packaging so that the customer can make an informed choice. I feel frustrated and angry," he also added.
Rehman isn't alone in his outrage, as even a chairman of the the Muslim Council of Britain lambasted Doritos. "Certainly we would find it very offensive to have eaten food with alcohol," said Shuja Shafi who chairs the committee.
Masood Khawaja of the Halal Food Authority also criticized saying, "They should have looked into the matter and solved it instead of hiding behind labelling regulations. It does not matter what percentage of alcohol is involved."
Doritos Fires Back
A Walkers spokesperson disputed the attack saying that trace amounts of alcohol in crisps or bread are believed to be permissible for Muslims.
"We do not add alcohol to our products. However, ethyl alcohol may be present in trace amounts in a very small number of our flavors.
"It is used as a carrying agent for flavorings and is found in many common food and drink products. Foods like bread can also contain the same or higher trace amounts due to fermentation. We are aware of the concerns from some Muslim consumers about the appropriateness of specific ingredients. We take the concerns of our consumers extremely seriously."
"In previous assessments by Muslim scholars, foods and drinks that contain trace amounts of ethyl alcohol have been confirmed as permissible for Muslim consumption because of both the fact that the ingredient does not bear its original qualities and does not change the taste, colour or smell of the product, and its very low level."
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
It's getting pretty pathetic when you must first become an expert on every religion on the planet, before you put a product on the market. Many are calling for a COMPLETE list of every chemical compound that exists in a product, but that is truly impossible.
One single ingredient could be broken down into dozens of other ingredients or chemical compounds. Water, a common ingredient in almost everything can be broken down into compounds. Most water is treated with chemicals like chlorine. There's another dozen chemical compounds for you. Do you really want to know every single chemical trace that exists in the oil used to cook everything? Are you willing to pay extra for the packaging that would be required to accomodate the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of potential trace elements in every single product?
Hopefully Doritos will just add the products to their "not alcohol free" list and be done with it. But the mere existence of such a list, is already an indication that the company is striving to provide culturally relevant information about it's products.
The Weekly Vice
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