Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out if a food is halal. Sure, you’ll look for certification to tell you, such as those present on all of our halal chilled meats. But there are times when a food may seem like it’s halal, yet it doesn’t have a certification attached to it.
Are such foods safe for you to eat?
It all depends on the ingredients. Even if a food itself would normally be halal, some of the ingredients used in the creation of the food aren’t.
So, what ingredients should you look out for if you’re unsure?
This is one of the more problematic areas when trying to figure out if a food is halal or haram.
Gelatine can be halal or haram. It all depends on where it comes from. For example, there are some plant-based gelatines that are safe for consumption. Typically, you’ll find these used as bonding agents in vegetarian foods.
However, most gelatine comes from animal-based products. And therein lies the issue. You have to feel certain that the gelatine comes from an animal that was slaughtered in accordance with halal guidelines. Of course, you should also avoid any gelatine that comes from pigs or other haram animals.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to figure out where a food product’s gelatine comes from. The label may not go into specifics, which means you may have to do some research online.
Be especially wary of halal products that have gelatine listed in the ingredients. This should prompt you to authenticate the validity of the halal certification that the product carries. You’ll likely find that it’s safe for consumption. But there is a possibility that the food has been mislabelled as halal when it’s actually haram thanks to the source of the gelatine.
Interestingly, gelatine is often used as a filter for fruit juices. This is something that many Muslims aren’t even aware of. Again, check the ingredients list and try to find the source of the gelatine. If it’s unstated or haram, you may have to avoid something as seemingly innocuous as a carton of juice.
Okay, so this is a process rather than an ingredient. But it’s still something that can catch the unwary out.
The process of fermentation creates alcohol, which is strictly halal. Yet many foods use the process that you may not be aware of.
For example, pickled foods undergo a period of fermentation. While some producers use a special process that avoids the creation of alcohol, it’s still something to be wary of.
Other foods to be wary of include sauerkraut, miso, and yoghurt. Raw cheeses also undergo a fermentation process that may make them haram.
Vinegar is another contentious subject. This is a product that comes from wine, so you’d assume it’s haram. However, most scholars agree that it’s permissible as long as the wine turns to vinegar of its own accord.
Vinegars that have seen human intervention are more controversial and interpretations differ.
The Final Word
The purpose of this article is to show how seemingly innocuous foods can actually be haram. It is your duty to stay vigilant and do your research to ensure you don’t consume anything that isn’t permissible.
Of course, you could make things easier on yourself with Najma Foods. Each of our chilled meats is halal-certified. Head to our store locator to find out where you can find our products near you.