The latest in internet lunacy is taking the joy out of the seasonal release of Cadbury's Creme Eggs, and all we can ask is how can people criticise those delightful chocolate bombs filled with all that creamy who-knows-what-the-hell-that-stuff-inside-them-really-is?
Well, internet trolls have found a way—two ways, in fact—to claim that Cadbury is engaged in a pro-Muslim and anti-Christian conspiracy, which they allege centres on its famed chocolate eggs.
First, an image from 2014 has been circulating among nationalist and Christian rights groups on Facebook; it shows a man holding several Cadbury bars in one hand and two Halal certification statements in another. Online provocateurs are suggesting that the public should boycott Cadbury because the photo, by their argument, shows that the company supports Muslim values. Twitter user @heatmeterman's reaction is typical; he commented, "so gone from a product with a christian Quaker background to a muslim appeasement society.I rufuse [sic] to buy cadbury chocolate."
In fact, the photo dates back to three years ago, when rumours were spinning through Malaysia that Cadbury chocolates contained pig DNA and therefore violated the rules of Halal—a completely false claim, as the Halal certification makes clear. Cadbury UK's Twitter account explains that the company has never sought Halal certification in the UK: "None of our UK products are Halal Certified and we have never made any changes to our chocolate to specifically make them halal. They are just suitable for those following a Halal diet in the same way that standard foods such as bread or water."
If all of this absurdity weren't enough for you, hold on, because there's more. Another rumouyr spreading throughout the internet has it that Cadbury has taken the Easter out of the marketing of its eggs—a completely false claim.
The rumormongers are saying that all references to Easter have been washed from the chocolate eggs and the company's marketing materials. To cite one proponent of this position, @LesleyMillercyp: "No such thing as EASTER egg anymore. Cadburys removed reference 2 easter but they do label Eid/Ramadan on their products" Several UK newspapers have picked up this story and are passing it on.
In fact—and we're talking about real facts, not alternative ones—Cadbury proudly sells an "Easter Egg Hunt Gift" in a box that says "Happy Easter" on its front. What's more, the company uses the word "Easter" throughout its website and social media accounts.
A spokesperson for Mondelēz International, the company that owns Cadbury, provided MUNCHIES with the following statement: "In the UK our chocolate products are suitable for vegetarians and those following a halal diet, however they are not Halal certified. As our chocolate products do not contain meat, the ritual of halal does not apply and, in the UK, our products carry no halal certifications of any kind. The only animal related products we use in our British chocolate are milk and eggs. We take care to point out if and when our products are suitable for certain sections of society who take an interest in the ingredients and manufacturing process.
"Elsewhere in the world, we may label products with any number of certifications based on consumer interest and dietary requirements, and the best place for consumers to find that information is on the product label in that country. However, Cadbury welcomes consumers of all faiths and none."
This is by no means the first time that Cadbury has found itself falsely accused of trying to disavow Easter. Hell, Cadbury faced an Australian boycott of its products in 2014 over the very same issue of supposed halal certification. Additionally, several UK newspapers sensationally reported in 2016 that Cadbury had "banned" references of Easter on its packaging in order to not offend those of non-Christian beliefs.
Back in 2016, Cadbury vehemently denied—as it continues to deny—all of these allegations. Snopes called the claims completely false. As a Cadbury spokesperson has points out, "Most of our Easter eggs don't say Easter or egg on the front as we don't feel the need to tell people this—it is very obvious through the packaging that it is an Easter egg."
Of course, Cadbury isn't alone in falsely being accused of being anti-Christian. For the past two years, Starbucks has faced a backlash over redesigns of its annual holiday cups, which led a vocal minority to claim the coffee peddlers were conducting a "war on Christmas."
Will Cadbury ever find itself free of its undeserved anti-Easter stigma? Probably not, but let's just hope that people come to their senses and just enjoy their chocolate.