Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Malaysia's halal meat scam has been going on for 40 years

It turns out that devout Muslims in Islam-majority Malaysia have been eating tainted non-halal meat products for at least the last four decades.

A huge cartel has been operating, importing non-certified meat from countries like Canada, Colombia, Ukraine, Uruguay, Spain and Mexico at low international prices, and then mixing it with local produce, and repackaging it with fake halal stickers. Kangaroo and horse meat has been routinely passed off as beef, and much of the actual beef used has been low quality and often tainted or diseased. Taxes and duties were also waived as part of the scheme, as well as avoiding the halal certification costs.

Government officers from Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development, the Department of Veterinary Services, the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department, the Malaysian Customs Department and the local police have all been in on the scheme, taking substantial bribes to remain silent. Some of the bribes reportedly involved women for sex. Some individuals have clearly made out handsomely.

Details of the goings-on were reported in Malaysia's newspaper of record, the New Straits Times, and heads will probably roll as a result (hopefully not literally). But it will be some time before regular folks can trust their meat suppliers again. Watch for an increase in vegetarianism in the region.

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