Brunei authorities reassure Secret Recipe outlets meet halal standards

Brunei's Halal Food Control Section has reassured the public that all three Secret Recipe outlets here meet halal standards, after the franchise lost its halal status in Malaysia.

The Brunei authorities dismissed rumours circulated on social media that the franchise in Brunei would be shut down following the revocation of halal certification by Malaysia's Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) recently.

Singapore daily The Straits Times had reported that Malaysia's Jakim revoked Secret Recipe Malaysia's halal certification over cleanliness issues following an inspection.

Hj Hamdani Othman, an officer at the Halal Food Control Section, said authorities visited the Secret Recipe outlets and discussed the issue with the general manager of the franchise in Brunei on May 27.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, General Manager of Secret Recipe Brunei Thompson Tan said Hj Hamdani has been in communication with Malaysia's JAKIM and did not find a breach in halal requirements at the outlets here.

Tan said the revocation of Secret Recipe's halal certificate in Malaysia on May 7 was due to issues of cleanliness, and had not affected its franchise in Brunei.

The franchise in Brunei only imports frozen cheesecakes in bulk from Malaysia, he said.

Tan said the imported cheese cakes are kept in a freezer container that can extend the shelf life to 12 months.

"We usually clear our frozen cheesecakes within eight months," he said.

Secret Recipe currently has three outlets in Brunei - Seri Delima, Tanjong Bunut and The Mall in Gadong.

Set up in 2009, the outlet in Seri Delima complex has its own kitchen on the first floor that produces most of the cakes, said Tan.

"As far as ingredients are concerned, they are sourced locally.

"The franchise in Brunei is self-sufficient. Our meat products are locally sourced. We don't import any meat from Malaysia. Not even frozen meat. We only import frozen cheesecakes in December last year," he added.

Tan went on to say that the chefs at all Secret Recipe outlets are Muslims. "At Seri Delima outlet, our chefs are Muslims - Indonesian head cook, two Indonesian cooks and a Bruneian chef.

"We don't have non-Muslim staff in the restaurant. They're all Muslims," added the general manager.

Tan said the Seri Delima outlet received its halal certificate on June 3, 2013 while the outlets in Tanjong Bunut and The Mall Gad-ong obtained halal certification in June 2014.