SAA refutes halaal food contamination allegations

2017-12-03 18:18 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - South African Airways has issued a statement reassuring its Muslim customers that the airline institutes the "highest Halaal standards" when serving food.

This follows an IOL report in which staff at the food company that caters for the national airline claimed their "food is not halaal".

According to the report, employees at Air Chefs, based at the Cape Town International Airport, allege "halaal food is being contaminated with pork by negligent co-workers".

"Non-halaal meats and utensils were being used in the halaal kitchen," according to the Air Chefs staff who did not want to be named.  

However SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali says the catering subsidiary of the airline which also caters for SA Express and all SAA corporate functions, is Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) compliant.  

The airline says following an anonymous call to the MJC, its area manager did a site inspection and audit on Tuesday, 28 November - declaring the Cape Town facilities halaal.

"The facility was found compliant to Halaal requirements and was given the highest possible rating of extremely efficient”.

“SAA’s Muslim customers can be assured that Air Chefs is compliant with the stringent Halaal requirements as stated and governed by the governing body, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the oldest, most representative and most influential religious organizations in South Africa,” says Tlali. 

According to the report by the MJC Area Manager there were no food related or Halaal processes being violated.

"We are in possession of the audit report to this effect," says Tlali.

Added to this, the Chief Operating Officer of MJC, Sheikh Moosa Titus went to Air Chefs to conduct a further audit.  

"AirChefs has central production units in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. The production facilities are ISO 22000 certified which is the global food safety management system standard, and demonstrates its commitment to food safety systems and Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles and criteria. ISO 22000 is one of the highest standards of approval in the world," says SAA.

Tlali went on to call the report " sensational and unsubstantiated", accusing IOL of publishing a "misleading and harmful headline, based on a mere say so of its sources".  

“The claims made are baseless and malicious and appear to be the works of a handful of disgruntled employees who wish to bring the name of AirChefs and by extension, SAA into disrepute."

Tlali states the airline is "considering its legal options". 

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