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After the shenanigans that’s been going on with Malaysia’s Auntie Anne’s “pretzel dog”, that is now known as “pretzel sausage”, Malaysia’s A&W chain has been taking a cautious step by changing its famous “root beer” to just “RB” in order to secure itself the halal status.

According to Bernama, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said that JAKIM will not issue a halal certification for “non-alcoholic beer” or any product using haram words like “ham” or “bacon” to avoid confusion among Muslim consumers.


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Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Sausage.

Hence, each application for Malaysian halal certification must follow the usual procedure for the Malaysia Halal Certification (MPPHM), which is used by JAKIM, or fatwa decisions and related rules used in the halal certification.

Thus, this explains why A&W Malaysia has switched the name of its “root beer” to “RB” to get the halal certification for all its outlets.

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But of course, the whole change doesn’t sit well with Malaysians who took to social media to express their dissatisfaction.

Apart from that, it has been noted that A&W root beer has also been rebranded as “sarsaparilla” when sold in bottles and cans at the supermarket or kiosks, again – to avoid confusion among Halal-conscious customers.

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(Photo sources: Hamidi Izwan’s FB and Gordon Ck Lim’s FB)

But now, we think it’s more confusing since the same drink now has different names when sold inside and outside of A&W.