Malaysian posts falsely claim beverage brand Yeo's plans to 'make drinks from pigs' blood'

Beverage maker Yeo's has told AFP that it is not creating a new drink containing pig's blood, contrary to false claims circulating on social media in Muslim-majority Malaysia. The government agency responsible for Islamic affairs has also confirmed the company's halal certification in Malaysia remains valid. The false posts also shared a video report in a false context; the news anchor actually said "Veos", a company in Belgium -- not Yeo's.

"Yeo's will come out with a new beverage made from pig's blood. Avoid Yeo's branded drinks from now on. We don't know when that type of drink will be distributed!!!" reads the Malay-language caption of a post on Facebook on February 5, 2024.

The post includes a 48-second clip from 15 Minit MMTV, an online Malaysian news programme (archived link).

The report mentions a company called Veos, but does not mention Yeo's, a popular beverage brand with headquarters in neighbouring Singapore (archived link).

The anchor says in Malay"The Veos company can produce water by processing animal blood and collagen into a high-quality protein powder that can then be used in the production of human and animal food products."

Text above the clip reads "We are in the end times" while another row of text under the video translates as "Pig blood is processed into a drink."

Screenshot of the false post, taken on February 20, 2024

More than 60 percent of Malaysians are Muslims who must adhere to "halal" dietary standards, which prohibits certain foods, including pork (archived link).

The video has circulated alongside a similar claim since at least June 2023 and resurfaced in February 2024 on Facebook here and here

However, the claim is false.

Belgian company 'Veos'

A reverse image search on Google found the 15 Minit MMTV report was posted to its TikTok account on June 10, 2023, with a caption in Malay that reads: "Pig blood processed into a drink" (archived link). 

Yeo's is not mentioned anywhere in the report.

It begins with the news anchor saying: "A company in Belgium has created a water distillation technology capable of processing pig blood into new drinking water." 

The company, called Veos, announced its investment in the technology in a press release on its website (archived links here and here). 

Below is a screenshot comparison between the video in the false post (left) and the genuine clip from 15 Minit MMTV (right):

Screenshot comparison between the video in the false post (left) and the genuine clip from 15 Minit MMTV (right)

Yeo's halal certification

A representative for Yeo's told AFP the claim is "fake news".

The company referred AFP to a statement published on the Facebook page of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia's (Jakim) halal affairs section on February 2, 2024 (archived link). 

Yeo's Malaysia also reshared the statement on its official Facebook page (archived link).

The Malay-language statement reads, in part: "For everyone's information, the company referred to in the video is Veos which operates in Belgium and has nothing to do with Yeo's branded products produced by Yeo Hiap Seng (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, which is the holder of a valid Halal Malaysia Certification."

Halal Malaysia is the government agency responsible for certifying restaurants and food and beverage manufacturers under the Islamic standard (archived link). 

The agency's record shows Yeo Hiap Seng (Malaysia) holds a valid halal certification until May 2026, as shown in the screenshot of the Halal Malaysia Official Portal below:

Screenshot of Yeo Hiap Seng (Malaysia) valid halal certification from the Halal Malaysia Official Portal

AFP has fact-checked similar religious misinformation circulating in Malaysia targeted at the halal status of other food and beverage brands, including StarbucksCoca-Cola to Ajinomoto and local bubble tea brand Tealive.

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