'What is halal tea?': Exchange between railways staff, angry passenger viral

Jul 22, 2023 07:05 PM IST

'Chai, veg hi hota hai, sir': In a viral video, a railways staff explained to a passenger irate over halal-certified tea.

A video of a heated exchange between an official of the Indian railways and a passenger angry after being served halal-certified tea has gone viral. The passenger in the video questioned the railway staff as to what halal-certified tea is and why it was being served during the month of sawan. The staff, as seen in the video, explained to the irate passenger that tea is in any case vegetarian.

A video of a passenger and a railways staff arguing over halal-certified tea has gone viral.
A video of a passenger and a railways staff arguing over halal-certified tea has gone viral.

"Month of sawan is going. And you are giving us halal-certified tea?" the passenger asked the railway official. Examining the sachet, the officer asked, "What is that?". "You know, you explain what halal-certified is. We should know it. We know ISI certificate, explain what is a halal certificate," the passenger said. Read | Ban halal certified products across India, says petition in Supreme Court

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"This is masala tea premix. Let me explain. This is 100% vegetarian," the railways staff said. "But what is halal certified? I will have to do puja after this." the passenger said. "Are you making a video?This is 100% vegeterian. Chai veg hi hota hai, sir," the railways staff said.

"I don't want any religious certification. Please keep these sentiments in mind. Put swastik certificate then," the passenger said. "Okay, will keep that in mind," the staff said.

The video has gone viral with several users raising questions why a tea premix needs halal certification. Some users praised the patience of the railways official who did not lose his calm and explained to the passenger that tea is by default vegetarian. The passenger got called out by some for seeking 'swastik-certified' tea.

IRCTC issued a statement that the premix at the centre of the controversy has the mandatory FSSAI certification. It is a 100% vegetarian product with green dots. "The product is also exported to other Countries which mandate "Halal certification" for such products," the IRCTC tweeted replying to the viral video.

The tea premix company Chaizup also issued a statement clarifying that the halal certificate is because the product is exported world wide. "All our products lab reports are available and our products are 100% vegetarian. All ingredients are natural. We use milk powder and 100% plant based ingredients to make our tea and coffee premixes," Gunjan Poddar, CEO of Chaizup said in a statement.

Railways ministry issued a statement assuring passengers that the tea served in trains is purly vegetarian and of international standards.

What is halal certification?

Halal certification was first introduced in 1974 for slaughtered meat and till 1993 it was applied only to meat products. Then it was extended to other food items and also cosmetics, medicines etc.

In Arabic, halal means permissible and halal-certified refers to food prepared adhering to Islamic law. Halal meat refers to the meat of an animal which has been slaughtered through the throat, oesophagus, and jugular veins but not the spinal cord.

In 2022, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking a complete ban on halal certification and it was said that the fundamental rights of 85% citizens were being infringed because of the 15% of the population.

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