Pizza Hut’s response to the controversy has been to assert that their food remains safe for Muslims.
Rumor is that Sri Lanka’s Pizza Hut is not serving halal food. They’ve clarified that their food is halal (not pork, prepared in a certain way), but that the certification has lapsed. This is still a major problem for the brand.
The issue is this report from the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, which certifies whether food is halal or not. As you can see, it pretty clearly says that Pizza Hut’s certification for 2012 has lapsed. I saw it on the ACJU website and it seems authentic.
The warning from the ACJU
Pizza Hut’s assertion is that their food remains halal and this is a paperwork problem, but that’s still a dicey proposition. Pizza Hut doesn’t determine what halal is, that is what the ACJU does. Even if the stuff is halal, it still needs the certification on the wall. I don’t know what politics is going on behind the scenes and I can’t imagine how things broke down to this level, but Pizza Hut is not in safe territory. I’ll take their word that their food is safe for Muslims, but as a business that’s honestly not good enough. They need the certification.
The issue here is that Sri Lanka has a large Muslim population (especially Colombo, where they may be close to a plurality) and they eat out. Every major place serves halal food, and I think should. As a Buddhist, well, I shouldn’t be eating that much meat at all, but eating halal food is fine by me. For Muslims it’s essential. If food isn’t halal, a business will lose at least 30% of its customers, and probably more. So this is a serious issue for Pizza Hut. The food may remain halal in the judgement day sense, but if they don’t get that certification, the judgement from consumers will be swift, and potentially devastating.
NOTE: Pizza Hut’s Facebook Page is well maintained and moderated. It’s a good place to track the issue.