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HALAL FAQ

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This section is to help you understand some important

matters relating to Halal

Q

Is Lecithin Halal?

A

Lecithin is an emulsifier. It is found in plants such as soybeans, egg yolks and animal sources. As we discussed earlier, emulsifiers are compounds used to keep oils or fats and water dispersed in one phase (i.e., they prevent oil and water from separating). If the lecithin is derived from plants, egg yolks or Halal animals slaughtered according to Islamic Law, it is Halal. Otherwise it is not. While most lecithin produced in the USA is currently derived from soybeans, it is still possible it might come from animal sources. Unless the ingredient label says soya lecithin or vegetable lecithin, you need to check with the producer to determine the source.

Q

Are Mono And Di-Glycerides Halal?

A

Mono and di-glycerides are fatty substances that are used as emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are compounds used to keep oils or fats and water dispersed in one phase (i.e., they prevent oil and water from separating). Mono and di-glycerides can be derived from animal or vegetable sources. When derived from vegetable sources, they are Halal. When derived from animal sources, they are questionable. More information is required to determine if they are Halal. If the animal is a Halal animal processed according to Islamic law, and all the subsequent processing qualifies for Halal, then they would be Halal. Otherwise, they are haram. Presently, Halal consumers should avoid them unless they are labeled as 100% vegetable mono and di-glycerides. Mono and di-glycerides are used in a wide variety of products, including baked goods, peanut butter, margarine, shortening and other products.

Q

What Is The Source Of Rennet?

A

Rennet is one of the enzymes used to make cheese. Rennet comes from the stomach of young calves. After the calf is slaughtered/killed, the stomach is removed, filled with milk and hanged to dry. After it dries, it is ground up to make crude extract of rennet, which is then purified or sold as is. If the calf was slaughtered according to Islamic requirements, the rennet will be Halal. Otherwise, it is not. The active ingredient in rennet is chymosin. Chymosin can also be produced by other means, including biotechnology. Chymosin produced using biotechnology is Halal. If an ingredient label states the product contains rennet, that means it came from the animal source. As such, items containing rennet must be considered questionable for the Halal-consumer until the source is known. If the source calf was not processed according to Islamic law, the product is not acceptable for Halal consumption.

Q

Is Vanilla Flavoring Halal?

A

Vanilla is a plant product. It is extracted with alcohol as the solvent of choice, from the vanilla bean and is normally kept in a solution containing alcohol. It can be used in powder or liquid form. If you examine at a bottle of vanilla extract, you will find it lists alcohol as an ingredient, along with the percentage of alcohol. As far as alcohol is concerned, there are a number of Ahadith, in Sahih Al-Bukhari and other sources where the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, has stated that all intoxicants are haram. Also, the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, was asked about a drink made form honey and he responded that all intoxicants are haram. The Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, was also asked about drinks made from corn and other grains and he asked if they cause intoxication. When told they do intoxicate, he responded that all intoxicants are haram. In another narration, the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, said all intoxicants are Khamr and all intoxicants are haram. So in general, all intoxicants, regardless of the source, are haram. (Khamr is commonly considered to be ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol.) It is also haram to buy, sell, produce, transport, grow the raw materials for or in anyway be associated with the alcoholic drinks (Khamr). Vanilla is not a drink, but it does contain a large amount of alcohol. Even though it is used in small quantities, it is better to avoid it.

Q

Can I eat in fast food restaurants?

A

We assume the question concerns restaurants in predominantly non-Muslims societies. We would not certify the normal meals found in these restaurants. To certify them, they would have to: have an acceptable supply of Halal meat and chicken, slaughtered by a Muslim who recites Tasmiyyah have all the other items (bread, buns, etc.) certified Halal, frying oil, etc. have procedures that prevent the cross contamination of Halal items by non-Halal items. This would require separate ovens, cookers, grills, preparation area, utensils, etc. for the Halal items. It would also require the presence of a Muslim employee and training of all employees to an acceptable understanding of the requirements of Halal food preparation.

Q

Can We Eat Gelatin?

A

Gelatin is a protein product obtained from the collagen of vertebrates, including pigs, cattle, and fish. It is recovered by hydrolysis. The main raw materials used today are pigskins, cattle bones and cattle hide. Of these, the most common source is pigskins. Gelatin is used in the preparation of baked goods, ice cream, yogurt, jellies and gelatin jello. It is also used in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Gelatin has other non-food uses, such as photographic film and carbonless paper. If the word gelatin appears on a label without reference to its source, it is generally derived from pig skins and cattle bones, so it must be avoided. It is possible to produce Halal gelatin by using the bones and hides of Halal slaughtered cattle. In such a case, the gelatin would be certified Halal and labeled as Halal gelatin. IFANCA certified Halal gelatin made from fish bones or Halal slaughtered cattle is now available for the food and pharmaceutical industry.

Q

Can I Eat The Food Served On Airlines?

A

Airlines offer a variety of meal choices to meet passenger needs. There are low salt meals, vegetarian meals, seafood meals and others. Some airlines even offer Muslim meals. In general, the Muslim meals are not certified by a qualified Halal certifying agency. This means it is not known if the meat and other ingredients are derived from Zabiha animals and are free of pork products and alcohol. Airlines will provide certified Halal meals when they see sufficient demand to justify it. Every Muslim traveler should request a Halal meal and if unavailable, the traveler should make sure the request is recorded so it can be considered in the future. Ask for a letter from the head of the food service section in response to your request for a Halal meal. That way, you can be sure your request has reached the decision-maker. After registering your request, you may have to opt for the seafood or vegetarian meal. Don't be surprised by ordering a Kosher meal, only to find it has been prepared in wine.

Q

Is Chocolate Liquor Haram?

A

Chocolate liquor is a sweet syrup containing chocolate, sugar and other ingredients. It is used in making candy, drinks and other chocolate flavored products. It does not contain any alcohol, so it is not haram.