There're some rules, but yes, you can buy a birthday cake from elsewhere - even a non halal-certified shop - and eat it at a halal restaurant in Singapore. 

The Islamic Religious Council (MUIS) here clarified this after McDonald's said it's had a halal cake-only policy since it was first certified by the body in 1992. 

The fast food chain's director of government relations and communications told Channel NewsAsia: "We need to adhere strictly to MUIS regulations to ensure the food we service is halal and suitable for consumption for our Muslims friends. These include regulations on preparing our food, storing our ingredients and ensuring the food we serve isn't mixed with non-halal food."

But MUIS on Tuesday (Jan 10) said while it appreciated the chain's approach, it didn't quite agree, saying it adopts a "flexible approach". In certain cases, like with birthday cakes and baby food, halal-certified restaurants "may exercise discretion" so long as they ensure the following conditions are met:

- There is no cross-contamination and the item is not brought into the kitchen/food preparation area/storage facilities

- Only disposable cutlery is used

- The food item is consumed and any remnants bagged and disposed of immediately

 The day after MUIS' clarification, McDonald's said it will review its policy. 

PHOTO: TIMO NEWTON-SYMS