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Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 12:52 GMT
Wahid says tainted MSG is halal

Indonesia's president Abdurrahman Wahid has entered the row over a food seasoning that had been labelled as suitable for Muslims despite using pig by-products in the manufacturing process.

The presidential spokesman Wimar Witoelar said that Mr Wahid has decided that the flavour enhancer, monosodium glutamate, is safe for consumption by Muslims.

The spokesman said Mr Wahid had based his opinion on scentific tests, and that he was appealing for calm over the issue.

The disclosure last week that a subsidiary of the Japanese company, Ajinomoto, had used pig enzymes in the manufacture of the product aroused public anger.

At least eight executives from the company have been arrested and are being questioned on charges of violating consumer protection laws.

In Malaysia, a consumer group has appealed to the government to conduct tests on the same company's products to ensure that they are suitable for Muslims.

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