Restaurant aggregator and food-delivery app Zomato may be in a soup for claiming food has no religion.
Within hours of being hailed for its reply on Wednesday, July 31, to a man who cancelled an order being delivered by a non-Hindu executive, Zomato discussed the application of halal tags on restaurants on its platform.
This led to several irate users on Twitter calling for a boycott of Zomato. This also caused the hashtag #BoycottZomato to trend on the micro-blogging platform.
Zomato soon put out a clarification, explaining its stand on halal food.
What happened with the non-Hindu delivery boy?
On Wednesday, a user named Pandit Amit Shukla tweeted that he cancelled an order because the delivery boy was non-Hindu.
He wrote: “Just cancelled an order on @ZomatolN they allocated a non hindu rider for my food they said they can’t change rider and can’t refund on cancellation I said you can’t force me to take a delivery I don’t want don’t refund just cancel [sic].”
The tweet has since been deleted, but its screenshots can be found all over Twitter.
To this, Zomato replied: “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion.”
The tweet was immediately praised by many, including the platform’s founder Deepinder Goyal. He wrote: “We are proud of the idea of India – and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values. [sic]”
Read both tweets here:
‘Food has no religion’ rejoinder
Pointed out vehemently that some people do not even touch certain kinds of food based on religion, Zomato tried to drive its point home on Twitter.
Its lengthy statement, titled “Food, Religion, and Halal,” started with the words: “Yes, food does not have a religion.”
It went on to explain: “Humans make their choice of what to cook and what to eat – whether or not you are a religious person. We respect all religions, and we therefore provide all possible information to make sure that you get the food of your choice (e.g. we have tags for Jain Food, Vegan Food, and Navratra Thalis as well).”
It also pointed out that “big fast food chains” display their halal certificates voluntarily. It said this is done “so that relevant customers can build trust with their products.”
It also pointed out that halal certificates are given out by the government body Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and that they are not mandatory but voluntary.
Read the full statement here:
What is halal food?
According to Islam or Sharia law, anything that is permitted for consumption is “halal.”
In case of food, there are two criteria that need to be fulfilled. The first is that the food should not contain anything that Sharia law does not permit Muslims to eat.
The second is that the food should not have been cleaned, processed, made or stored using utensils that have not been “purified” according to Sharia law.