Alcohol formula

Fake messages claiming ‘Coca-Cola contains alcohol’ circulating in Muslim-majority Malaysia

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Several Facebook posts repeatedly shared in Muslim-majority Malaysia claim that Coca-Cola contains alcohol, which means it is “haram” or prohibited in Islam. But Coca-Cola and the Malaysian government agency for Islamic affairs separately said that was wrong. The posts shared an alleged screenshot of a newspaper article that claimed to show an old soft drink recipe, which has not been confirmed by Coca-Cola.

The post was shared here on Facebook on May 6, 2022.

The Malaysian caption of the message translates to English as: “Alcohol…It’s not allowed [in Islam]!!”

Screenshot of misleading post, captured May 26, 2022

The message contains an alleged screenshot of a news article with the title: “After 125 years, Coke’s secret formula is out.”

The article’s byline is Times News Network, an online news site based in the United States.

AFP was unable to verify where the alleged article was published.

The article says an old Coca-Cola recipe that included alcohol was revealed by the popular This American Life podcast, following the discovery of a 40-year-old report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Coca-Cola has not confirmed the alleged recipe following claims by This American Life in February 2011, the Guardian reported.

The log screenshot was shared with a similar complaint on Facebook here, here and here.

But the claim is false, according to Coca-Cola and Malaysian authorities.

Non-alcoholic beverage

A spokesman for Coca-Cola Malaysia told AFP that while the recipe for Coca-Cola remained a “well-kept secret”, alcohol was not among its current ingredients.

“Alcohol is not an added ingredient in Coca-Cola and no fermentation takes place in the making of Coca-Cola,” the spokesperson said.

“Our ingredients and manufacturing processes are strictly regulated, and regulatory authorities around the world have always recognized Coca Cola as non-alcoholic.

In Malaysia, halal certification can be obtained from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), the government agency responsible for Islamic affairs in the country.

Below is a screenshot from the official Halal Malaysia portal, which shows that the distributor of Coca-Cola in Malaysia has a valid halal certification:

Screenshot of official Halal Malaysia portal, which shows that Coca-Cola Bottlers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd has a valid halal certification

The same website also features individual products made by Coca-Cola in Malaysia that have achieved Halal certification.

Below is a screenshot of the 14 varieties of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero drinks that have been certified halal:

Screenshot of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero drinks which have valid halal certification in Malaysia

Coca-Cola produces 86 drinks in Malaysia, including Sprite and Minute Maid, which have also been certified as halal and are listed on the portal.

Below is an AFP photo of the halal logo used in Malaysia:

The halal logo which is displayed on food products prepared under Islamic law in Malaysia. (AFP/Tengku Bahar)