A KFC outlet in regional Australia has been threatened with boycotts from an anti-halal group on Facebook, which has misconstrued the outlet’s sign about having no bacon as a sign it is halal certified.
The Facebook group, called “Boycott Halal in Australia”, posted a picture of the small KFC shop , which is located in a shopping centre in Albury in regional New South Wales.
The post simultaneously claims a sign on the shop says “due to the lack of separate preparation space, this store does not offer bacon” and that one of the boycott group’s members had said the “KFC in the Coles shopping centre in Albury is now Halal Certified”.
The Facebook poster claims to have secondary confirmation after asking if the store is halal certified and allegedly being told by a worker that it is.
But a KFC spokesperson told SmartCompany this morning the Albury store is not halal certified.
“We have stringent cooking and safety procedures at KFC and separate preparing areas and ovens for various produce to ensure our customers can enjoy great-tasting chicken,” the spokesperson says.
“The Albury Wodonga store is a small outlet within a shopping centre environment and there is simply not the space to have the required area to prepare bacon to meet our standards.”
While there are three KFC outlets in Australia with halal certification, the spokesperson says the fast-food chain has no plans to increase the number of halal certified stores.
“KFC is mindful of responding to customer demands and cultural sensitivities in a balanced way,” the spokesperson says.
“Across our national network we have three halal certified stores and we have no plans to increase that number.”
The spokesperson says KFC acknowledges the topic was one people felt “strongly” about and it is aware of the “issues surrounding it”.
“The best we can do is to be transparent about our halal approach,” says the spokesperson.
A spokesperson for the Australian Food and Grocery Council told SmartCompany this morning there is a lot of misinformation about halal certification and any boycotts could cause problems for businesses.
“The problem is when tactics go to the extreme of abusive phone call or threatening actions,” he says.
“Facebook campaigns often inflate the issue but to what extent it conflates consumer behaviour remains to be seen.”
The spokesperson says it wasn’t the first case he’d heard of involving a misinformation campaign about halal which had the ability impact the food and grocery sector.
“From broader perspective it’s something we deal with on a daily basis,” he says.
“Concerns about halal certification have been quite strong lately.”