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What is Halaal?

Islâm is a comprehensive religion guiding Muslims through sets of rules governing every facet of life. Since food is an important part of daily life, food laws carry a special significance. Islâmic philosophy propounds that the food which man consumes affects not only his physical constitution but also his moral character and spiritual upliftment.

Halâl is an Arabic word which means lawful or permissible. In the specific context of consumables it refers to food that is lawful for consumption. The antonym of Halâl (lawful) is Harâm (unlawful) which refers to unlawful items. Muslims are permitted to eat the flesh of certain animals, which are required to be slaughtered according to the specified ritual procedures. Pork is totally not permitted. Similarly, any animal not ritually slaughtered will also be categorised as Harâm (unlawful). Halâl also encompasses all aspects of food hygiene and quality.

Although non-meat items are neutral in terms of Islamic Law, the processing procedures, food additives, preparation areas, etc. also must be free from non-Halaal contaminants.

With specific reference to the flavour industry, it is imperative that no animal and/or insect derivatives/extracts be used, since the sourcing and monitoring of Halaal animal derivatives from the source i.e. the abattoir right through the process is complicated and difficult. Animal derivatives and extracts would include animal fats, animal enzymes, gelatine, blood plasma, tallow-based glycerine, L-Cysteine from human hair, animal stock, animal stearates, cochineal colour etc.

Furthermore, wines, liquors and fermented alcohols of the like are also Harâm (unlawful) in terms of Islâmic Law.  With specific reference to ethanol, it would be Haraam (unlawful) if taken as an intoxicant. However, where such alcohols are used as manufacturing aids as solvents, carriers etc. in miniscule quantities, this would be condoned due to public predicament. There is no fixed “permissible trace level”. However for operational purposes, Halâl certifying organisations have set acceptable trace levels of 0,5%.

Seafood and derivatives thereof are acceptable in terms of Halaal dietary regulation. Once the Halaal Authority inspects, evaluates and approves all the relevant areas of the ingredients/raw materials and the manufacturing process, Halâl approval is granted.

As a summary, the following must be kept in mind when processing Halâl flavours:

(1) Contamination
It is vital that at no stage must non-Halaal products come into contact with Halâl products.

(2) Processing, Storage and Transportation
Halaal designated should also fulfil the following conditions:

(i) Shall not consist of or contain anything which is considered to be unlawful according to the Sharî'ah (Islâmic Law);
 
(ii) Shall not be prepared and processed using any appliance or facility that was not free from anything unlawful as per the Islamic law;

(iii) Shall not in the course of preparation and processing be in contact with any food that fails to satisfy (i) and (ii) above.

Notwithstanding the above, Halâl can be prepared and processed using facilities which have previously been used for non-Halaal food provided that proper cleaning, wash-down and sterilizing procedures, according to Shar‘î (Islâmic Law) requirements, have been observed.

 

Hijri Date

Tuesday, 12 December 2017  
24. Rabiul Awwal 1439

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