In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Muslims regularly consuming Haram without knowing: expert

by Gillian Duncan
Source: The National

Filed under: Featured,Halal,Lifestyle |

Halal Logos

By: Gillian Duncan

Source: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/retail/golden-halal-opportunity-beckons-at-heart-of-islamic-world#page2

Christien Meindertsma, an artist based in the Netherlands, once set about tracing all of the products made using the parts of one animal.

Three years later, in 2009, she published a book called Pig 05049 that proved pieces of one pig, the 05049 of the title, ended up in 185 separate products, from toothpaste to dough improver and desserts. The pig is an animal considered haram, or not to be consumed, by Muslims.

Industry specialists say Meindertsma’s book offers a lesson for everyone about how the processing of products has changed in the globalised world – and why it is important to know what is in the food we eat and items we use.

Halal, which means permissible, not only covers food and drink, but anything that can be used in daily life, including drugs and cosmetics.

The size of the halal industry globally is enormous – worth an estimated US$2.1 trillion (Dh7.71tn) annually and growing.

Yet the UAE’s industry is tiny in comparison, at just $550 million. However, it has a proportionally bigger share of halal trade, which was estimated to be $3.6 billion in 2010 and projected to grow to $8.4bn in 2020.

Initially, halal referred to meat that had been slaughtered according to Islamic law, by a Muslim saying a prayer. It then expanded to cover ready-to-eat food containing meat and, finally, all other products.

However, awareness about what is halal is lacking in some parts, according to Asad Sajjad, the chief executive and secretary general of the Halal Development Council and the founder and director of the International Halal Federation.

Mohammed Jinna, the chief executive of Halal India, says halal should cover everything.

“Your toothpaste and your soap and your creams and your lipsticks – everything should be halal.”

But even food one might expect to be halal by its nature is not necessarily permitted.

Take sugar, for example, a plant-based product that is processed using bone char, charcoal made from animal bones – usually from cattle or pigs. If it is the latter, the end product will not be halal.

And even meat that is permitted, such as chicken, is sometimes not halal. In some big industrial chicken plants, the birds are fed proteins and injected with water to make them gain weight.

“The protein is used so that water retains in the body. Otherwise it will just drain out. The protein is made of pig,” says Mr Sajjad.

In the Emirates, there are a handful of big halal food producers, such as Emirates Poultry and Al Islami. But the largest halal food producers are based in the West.

Take Nestlé, headquartered in Switzerland. It is not only the world’s biggest food company – it is also the world’s largest halal food maker.

In fact, 85 per cent of the products in the $2.1tn halal market – which makes up 20 per cent of the total global food industry – are produced in Brazil, the United States, Canada, Argentina, France, Australia, Holland and New Zealand, says Mr Sajjad.

“These are the countries in the West. In the East, the biggest halal producer is Thailand,” which is not even a Muslim country, he points out.

In fact, the only Muslim countries that produce halal food in any significant quantities are Indonesia and Malaysia.

“I have been to Asia and the Middle East and I try to convince them to compete in the non-Muslim countries, and they say, ‘we can’t compete because the quality is not there,’” says Farhan Tufail, the chief executive of Halal Certification Services, based in Switzerland.

But, he adds, some foreign companies, such as Nestlé, are investing heavily in halal production in Muslim countries and for a simple reason: the halal market is booming and the companies want to be prepared. They can buy the ingredients to produce halal food cheaper in the Middle East than in the West.

But industry specialists say awareness about halal in the UAE and the region is not as widespread as some might expect.

“Here, if you go to any store in the UAE and ask, ‘Do you have halal biscuits? Do you have halal confectionery?’ they don’t know. The people selling food have no awareness. The buyers have no awareness,” says Mr Sajjad.

But that is changing.

The UAE has in recent months sought to boost its influence in the halal food industry and was appointed late last year to chair the Halal Food Technical committee designed to set standards for the industry worldwide.

The Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology is now working on guidelines to unify standards for halal food and cosmetics, which are expected to be applied in 57 Islamic countries in the next three years.

Despite the current furore over horse meat labelled as beef in Europe, a certification system is key to boosting consumer confidence in halal products, say the experts.

“You can find a lot of sugar being certified in Singapore and Malaysia. There is a lot of awareness in these countries,” says Mr Jinna.

Regulations for halal certification bodies in the UAE are being drawn up and are expected to be issued in the next six months.

They will be compulsory for any organisation wanting to become a halal certification body.

If they comply with the rules they will be accredited.

Only with the implementation of a comprehensive certification system will people be sure about whether the products they are using and consuming are halal.

MV Editors note:

Please share this extremely important article with all your Muslim family + friends to help increase knowledge and awareness.

May Allah reward you for your efforts in helping other Muslims avoid that which is haram.

16 comments
Abdullah Masoud
Abdullah Masoud

Assalamu'alaikum and hi there!

I'm a muslim and I wonder is there any correlation of process food and halal? I was thinking that in the olden days Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his companions radiallah hu anh, consume natural stuff and food high in fiber. e.g. veggies, dates, wholemeal bread with the husk. But nowadays, most people consume foods in packages, i.e. process food, and they get into diseases like Acne, Diabetes, consipation, obesity. . .so it makes me wonder. What I'm trying to say is all package processed foods Haram? As it is because haram foods or foods forbidden to be consume cause negative side effects like pigs, and doesn't have bless, and it's the same with food manufacture by Nestle, Heinz, or any processed food with many E's, and ingredients. And when I read this article, there is something fishy about major food industries nowadays. . .do you guys get what I mean. .

khalid assalabaqie
khalid assalabaqie

Before we consume any halal food, first, we must make sure that there is a "Halal Logo" on the pack. Although, there is a Halal Logo but, still we feel suspicious.. then we must leave it. In Islam, the Sariah's principal is easy.  Anything that is "ambiguous" (mutashabihaat) just leave it.  Seeking Halal alternatives is a "Fareedhah" (must).

indian_observer
indian_observer

Well this is just my personal opinion based on my perception and understanding that - while we must try our best to exercise sincere caution – there is no need to be overtly worried. As Allah the exalted says in the criteria : “But there is no blame on you if ye make a mistake therein: (what counts is) the intention of your hearts: and Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful” (Sûrah al-Ahzâb: 33:5). Also :“Our Lord! Do not take us to task if we forget or make a mistake.” (Sûrah al-Baqarah: 2: 286). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “My nation will not be held accounted for what they forgot or were coerced into doing” [Sunan Ibn Mâjah, Sunan al-Dârqutnî and others. It was authenticated by al-Dhahabî]

Elena Porcelli
Elena Porcelli

Inshallah, pork derivative items will be a thing of the past soon enough with all the more viable alternatives. I'm lucky; I live in Jordan where I know exactly where all of my stuff comes from :)

MuslimVillage.com
MuslimVillage.com

Jazakum Allahu Khairun for your response. Even if we are unaware that something is not Halal, we might not be held accountable if we made a genuine effort to verify. However it will still have a spiritual effect on us. It is very simple, we are what we eat and if we eat haram, even by accident, our physical and spiritual state will be impure for 40days. This is why we all need to be extremely careful, even sadly with food that is labelled Halal.

Elena Porcelli
Elena Porcelli

First MV, stating a fatwa is not the same thing as PERSONALLY issuing on, thanks so much. It's a very old fatwa and a rather well-known one. And you want my source? Al-Albani, thanks for being so thorough. Thirdly, while your second statement is true in essentials, let me remind you that if we are unaware that what we are consuming is not halal especially after doing our duty of checking and the ingredients listed are not presented as "pork derivative" then I am also fairly sure we are not held accountable. Being a convert I am well-aware of what I didn't know won't damn me to hell, however thanks anyway for the article I'm sure it will keep many who DON'T follow the same fatwa my husband and I do well-informed.

MuslimVillage.com
MuslimVillage.com

It's not about making things difficult. But when consuming Haram food or products can make your dua rejected for 40 days, it is critical that we are 100% certain that we are consuming is Halal.

MuslimVillage.com
MuslimVillage.com

Please do not give fatwas unless you are qualified to do so. Provide a source for your opinion InshAllah. I am not saying the position you have stated is incorrect (it is ok for Hanafis), but we need to reference our opinions.

Elena Porcelli
Elena Porcelli

PORK, when put through the chemical process that makes it into gelatin, what we use in our makeup, food, toothpaste... and MEDICINE, is no longer anything near pork by the time that occurs thus making it halal according to the rules of istihala. Stop trying to make life that much more difficult.

Naeema Shumellah
Naeema Shumellah

And Why all these Halal Councils Approving all these stuffs????? ALLAH Subhanahu wa Ta'ala Will Hold them accountable.

MuslimVillage.com
MuslimVillage.com

"Halalan Tayibeen" - sadly we haven't even got the Halal part right yet, let alone the Tayibeen (pure, wholesome, organic etc).

Carmen Arif
Carmen Arif

Not only does it need to be halal it also needs to be organic.

MuslimVillage.com
MuslimVillage.com

Please share this article with all your Muslim family + friends to help increase knowledge and awareness. May Allah Reward You.

MuslimVillage.com
MuslimVillage.com

But even food one might expect to be halal by its nature is not necessarily permitted. Take sugar, for example, a plant-based product that is processed using bone char, charcoal made from animal bones – usually from cattle or pigs. If it is the latter, the end product will not be halal. And even meat that is permitted, such as chicken, is sometimes not halal. In some big industrial chicken plants, the birds are fed proteins and injected with water to make them gain weight. “The protein is used so that water retains in the body. Otherwise it will just drain out. The protein is made of pig,” says Mr Sajjad.

MuslimVillage.com
MuslimVillage.com

"Christien Meindertsma, an artist based in the Netherlands, once set about tracing all of the products made using the parts of one animal. Three years later, in 2009, she published a book called Pig 05049 that proved pieces of one pig, the 05049 of the title, ended up in 185 separate products, from toothpaste to dough improver and desserts. The pig is an animal considered haram, or not to be consumed, by Muslims. Industry specialists say Meindertsma’s book offers a lesson for everyone about how the processing of products has changed in the globalised world – and why it is important to know what is in the food we eat and items we use.

bani aadam
bani aadam

@indian_observer I agree with your take on this issue. I mean Its all about being logical and sensible given the circumstances, isnt it? A balanced approach in my opinion.

Just wanted to add that there is also the principle of doubt being halaal until you become sure it is haraam. This applies to everything except when eating meat. That is, one needs to make sure any type of meat is halaal before one eats eat, but with everything else, it will be considered halaal, until one finds out it isnt. 

This is the broad general principle I was taught yrs ago..

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