Starbucks counters non-halal claim

Starbucks Malaysia took to its Facebook page to address rumours that its food and beverages are deemed non-halal by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.

The move came after the beverage brand took note of a tweet by a concerned user who had received an SMS claiming JAKIM had announced all chocolate and vanilla used in Starbucks beverages contained E471, mono di-glycefides which was of animal origin (pork), as well as the Rasberry Frap which used cherries that were dipped into alcohol.

Starbucks responded to the users by asking them to disregard the rumour, assuring them that the company's Halal status was certified and could be checked on the JAKIM website.

The company also released a statement on their official Facebook page which read: "In regards to the enquiries of the Halal status of the Starbucks Coffee Malaysia, please be assured that all beverages and food offered at Starbucks Coffee stores in Malaysia are safe and appropriate for Muslim consumption, as we are certified Halal by JAKIM."

It further stated that this rumour had been circulating for over seven years following a bogus e-mail.

Experts A+M spoke to hailed the social media move as a positive one.

David Lian, Text 100's APAC Social Media Practice Lead said rumors such as this were always bound to resurface after few years.

"Starbuck's move on responding to the rumour via their social media channels was a right way of dealing with the issue."

"By getting the message out on the internet through channels such as Facebook and Twitter is a good way of addressing their users on a medium which they depend on for information," he said.

Alex Ooi  Director, ROOTS Asia Pacific added online channels were gaining momentum as a method of communication for crisis management as it was a quick way of addressing the issue.