Waitrose to rename its Kaffir Lime Leaves after complaints that name is linked to racial slur

The product will be rebranded as Makrut Lime Leaves

British supermarket chain Waitrose has announced it will rename its Cooks' Ingredients Kaffir Lime Leaves as the name has racist connotations.

The word kaffir is a racial slur that was used in South Africa during the apartheid regime.

The Oxford English Dictionary also defines the term as "a very offensive word for a black African".

The name will be changed to Makrut Lime Leaves.

"This name change is a crucial step in recognising how important it is for us to listen to customers and educate ourselves when it comes to the language we use," said Helena Dennis, Waitrose grocery trading manager.

"While some of our customers may be unaware of the connotations of this particular word, it's important to us that we avoid offending anyone who shops with us."

The name will be changed on product labels, branded recipe cards, in future editions of cookbooks and other company literature.

"It is changes like this that ensure we are moving forward," said Dennis. "We need industry-wide support on this, and encourage other retailers to do the same in order to make a difference on a widespread, national scale."

The citric ingredient is commonly used in Cambodian, Indonesian and Thai recipes for soups and curries.

It is known botanically as citrus hystrix. It is native to Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South-East Asia and southern China, and is also known as makrut or Thai lime.

The commonly used name kaffir lime is believed to be a reference to the Sri Lankan Kaffir ethnic group. The term is derived from the Arabic word kafir, which means someone who does not believe in God; it was historically applied to Sub-Saharan Africans who did not practise Islam.

From there, the word was adopted as a racist insult for South Africa's indigenous population.

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