Toblerone is halal and the far right is furious

The candy infuriating the far right.
The candy infuriating the far right.
Image: AP Photo/Alastair Grant
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In April, the Bern, Switzerland factory that makes Toblerone—the triangular-shaped chocolate bars wildly popular in airport duty-free shops—received a halal certification. A halal designation means that a product’s ingredients and manufacturing process conform to dietary laws followed by some Muslims, such as no pork products or alcohol. Toblerone’s 110-year-old recipe already met all of those requirements.

That was eight months ago. But recently, people on the far right were horrified to learn that for the better part of the year, they have been unknowingly eating pork-free chocolate.

Jörg Meuthen, spokesman for Germany’s far-right AfD party, alerted his Facebook followers on Dec. 17 that the triangular treat was now halal, with a sarcastic comment about the “Islamization” of Europe. The hashtag #BoycottToblerone soon popped up on Twitter, with English-language posters noting they were now “disgusted” by the nougaty candy.

“now its ONLY halal so we have no choiche [sic] but to get it halal,” one poster wrote.

A halal designation informs people who follow halal diets, for religious or other reasons, whether they can consume a particular product.It does not mean that the product or its manufacturer now subscribes to a particular set of beliefs. Nothing about the candy bar’s recipe or production process has changed, maker Mondelēz told CNN.

The internet is full of desperate queries from Muslim fans of products from Nutella to Coca-Cola trying to figure out if their favorite foods are halal or not; Muslim Toblerone fans have been asking about the product for years. Given that there are 2 billion Muslims on the planet, it seems a wise business decision for a multinational company to make clear to those consumers that their product is permissible to eat.

Unfortunately for those compelled to take a principled stance against halal products, Toblerone is not the only candy they will have to renounce. Hershey’s Kisses are halal, as are Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Twix, and indeed most of Hershey and Mars’s offerings. Even Whatchamacallits are halal. Those committed to haram chocolate are stuck with 3 Musketeers and O Henry bars. That’s a high price to pay.