Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets have been scratched from McDonald's menus in Brunei until religious officials can verify that the meats comply with Muslim dietary laws.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has halted beef and chicken imports bound for the two McDonald's in this Southeast Asian kingdom of 300,000 people, worried the foreign meat was not "halal" under Muslim law.The oil-rich sultanate, whose residents are 70 percent Muslim, imports most food from other coun-tries. McDonald's processing plants in Malaysia supply beef and chicken to the Brunei restaurants. Although Malaysian plants adhere to local Muslim dietary laws, those laws are not recognized in neighboring Brunei.
The ministry last month began a review of food products used by restaurants around the capital, Badar Seri Begawan, checking that halal standards were met. The investigation of two McDonald's outlets is not expected until August or September, said a company official.
"We'll have to wait, just keep waiting for an answer," said Rosli Metassan, assistant manager for Golden Arches Sdn. Bhd., which runs the Brunei-Malaysia franchise of the U.S. hamburger giant McDonald's Corp.
In the meantime, sales have dropped by half at Brunei McDonald's. Marketing strategies to plug McEgg and Filet-o-Fish sandwiches have failed to boost business, said Rosli.