Halal 'pork bone broth flavour' instant noodles have no meat products, ingredients list shows

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An image of a package of "pork bone broth flavour" instant noodles with a halal logo -- indicating it is permissible for Muslims -- has been shared hundreds of times on social media, with users questioning the credibility of the halal status. This is misleading. According to the list of ingredients, the instant noodles contain no meat products, including pork. Japan's Nippon Asia Halal Association (NAHA), which issued the certification, confirmed the instant noodles are vegan and halal. However, NAHA also added that following their request, the Japanese noodle manufacturer has recalled the noodles for misusing the word "pork" on the packaging.

The photo of the instant noodles packaging was posted here by a Facebook user in Singapore on September 27, 2002.

The caption reads: "A halal pork bone broth flavour? Okay.."

The packaging contains the following phrase: "TONKOTSU / Pork Bone Broth Flavour", witha halal logo.

In the picture, the word "Pork" and the halal logo are circled in orange.

The top right corner of the packaging reads: "MADE IN JAPAN".

Screenshot of the misleading post, captured on October 2, 2022

The same photo also appeared alongside a similar claim in Malaysian language here, here, here and here, where it has been shared more than 1,600 times.

It also circulated in Indonesian on Twitter here, accusing the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) of issuing the halal certificate.

"Halal" refers to the dietary standard in Islam, which prohibits Muslims from consuming certain food, including pork.

Comments on the posts suggest some users believed that the instant noodles contained pork traces despite having the halal logo.

One Facebook comment reads: "They do not respect Islam. They use the halal logo as they like."

"Better not eat Japanese-like food... the source is unknown... there are a lot of Malay foods but still want to eat things that are written there... when it enters the body, we can't do anything... so think about it," reads another comment.

Screenshots of comments from Facebook users, taken on October 3, 2022

However, the claim is misleading.

List of ingredients

A keyword search found this Thai-language Facebook post, dated August 17, 2022, containing the same photo of the instant noodles package.

In the comment section of the same post, the page's administrator shared a photo of the ingredients list located on back of the packaging. The comment, written in Thai, loosely translated as: "Oh, it focuses on health".

According to the ingredients list, neither the noodle nor the soup base contains any meat product, including pork.

Below is a screenshot of the ingredients list on the back of the back of the packaging, as posted by the administrator of the Facebook page.

Screenshot of the instant noodle's ingredients list located on the packaging's backside, taken on October 3, 2022

The instant noodles were manufactured by Japanese-based Kobayashi Noodle and marketed under the "Gluten Free Meister" line, which can be seen on their Facebook page here.

"Gluten Free Meister Instant Ramen series offers three authentic flavors of Japan in creamy Tonkotsu (vegetarian), classic Shoyu (vegan) and bold Miso (vegan)," the company said on Facebook.

The company sold the Tonkotsu instant noodles on Amazon.com here, marketing it as a "Vegan/Halal/No MSG" product, with the ingredients list identical with the one shown above.

However, according to the Amazon listing, the Tonkotsu instant noodles are "currently unavailable".

Halal logo

A closer look at the packaging shows that below the word "HALAL" there is a small print that says "Nippon Asia Halal Association".

Nippon Asia Halal Association (NAHA) -- one of the halal certification bodies in Japan -- provided a timeline of the incident on their Facebook page here on August 23, 2022.

After NAHA was informed of the issue by a Thai Muslim customer on August 19, 2022, they contacted Kobayashi Seimen, the company that produces the noodles, to ask them to "recall all the products from the market."

NAHA said that while the "product is halal and vegan", the company used the words "PORK bone broth flavor” on the packaging "for marketing purposes", but "this kind of labelling is not allowed as per Halal standards of NAHA."

The statement added that on August 22, 2022, following NAHA's request, the company informed them the recall of all products containing NAHA's halal logo from all markets.

AFP has debunked various claims related to halal food, such as here, here, here and here.