South Africa: Scandal over mislabeled "halal" pork

South African muslims attempt to spot the new moon that would mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and the starting of the Eid al Fitr celebrations on September 9, 2010 ahead of the evening prayer on the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town, South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A South African company has been accused of falsely labeling meat products as halal, including pork, kangaroo meat from Australia, and water buffalo from India.

The allegations have created an uproar in South Africa's Muslim community. Under Islamic law, pork is not eaten, and animals must be slaughtered according to the halal way.

But Cape Town-based Orion Cold Storage said it was framed, with the company's employees bribed to switch products and labels. The company has laid criminal charges against two people for sabotage, blackmail and extortion, arguing that the scandal was created to benefit rival companies, the South African Press Association reported.

"The companies for which they work will stand to benefit substantially if Orion’s position in the market can be undermined," Orion said in a statement, according to SAPA.

Orion's director has reportedly faced death threats over the allegations of mislabeled meat.

The South African Halaal Authority Trust, the Red Meat Industry Forum of South Africa and the South African Meat Industry Company have reportedly filed an interdict application against Orion, to stop the company from distributing meat, the Independent Online reported.

South African Muslims make up just under than 2 percent of the country's total population of 49 million.

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