Not since Hindus unearthed the presence of beef fat in McDonald's fries a few years back has such a dietary scandal erupted. This time, it's Kellogg's that's in the crossfire for using pork gelatin in the frosting for some brands of their cereal and Pop Tarts.
Pork is, of course, outlawed in Muslim countries. When the scandal broke in the United Arab Emirates recently, every municipality in the country was ordered to lock down their Kellogg's products in labs and warehouses and await government orders on whether to ban or burn the swine-laced goods.
The Gulf News, the country's leading English-language daily, reports that Kellogg's fans were incensed that the American company would show such cultural insensitivity with its flagrant violation of national laws banning pork consumption.
Kellogg's doesn't deny it uses the pork-derived gelatin in its cereal products, but insists it did nothing wrong. A spokesperson for the company would not respond to questions from NOW directly, but instead faxed a response.
"All Kellogg's breakfast cereals sold in the UAE... are fully compliant with all local ingredient, packaging and other regulatory requirements," the statement says, which doesn't explain why random lab tests conducted by the government there detected pork and subsequently took the cereals off the shelf.
The mistake, Kellogg's says, was not the result of American brazenness, but of free trade laws in the UAE that can result in non-Kellogg's-authorized importers bringing in hog-washed Kellogg's products never intended for sale in the Islamic country. Hmm.
A spokesperson for the Islamic Foundation in Toronto says most Islamic Canadians, devout ones at least, know to steer clear of breakfast eats in general.
Yet some Muslim Canadians who got wind of the pork scandal overseas were horrified to discover that several of their favourite breakfast delights here in Canada are laced with the beastly ingredient.
Mohammad Husain Patel, imam of the Islamic Foundation, agrees that Muslims would be very disturbed by the discovery. "It would be very ignorant of Kellogg's if they didn't know that much."