Why do I warn about this? There are many rea-
sons behind it. It may seem like just a simple
flavor, but that simple flavor may contain some-
thing which you would never accept it if it was
declared on the label. Yes, it’s true. Before we go
into depth about this alarming issue, one should
really know what is a flavor.
Flavor is generally defined as the quality of something that affects the
sense of taste. It is the blend of taste and smell sensations evoked by a
substance in the mouth.
…. Isn’t it? Let’s investigate it further.
Perceptions will definitely vary from individual to individual but our focus
is on the halal nature of such flavors. In our day-to-day shopping, we come
across many foods and beverages in grocery stores. Nearly all products
have some sort of flavors in them, usually natural flavors, artificial flavors
or a combination of natural and artificial flavors.
A flavor can contain any number of ingredients — from a single one as in
salt or pepper to many, like in reaction flavors or complex mixtures. There
may be hidden alcohol or ingredients of
animal origin, such as civet
oil, in the formulations. Civet oil is oil extracted from the glands of a cat-
like animal called a civet. Civet oil is not accepted as halal.
Flavor chemists use “natural” chemicals to make natural flavorings and
“synthetic” chemicals to make artificial flavorings. Flavor chemists creat-
ing an artificial flavoring must use
chemicals in their formulation
as would be used to make a natural flavoring. Otherwise, the flavoring will
not have the desired characteristics.
Consumers prefer to see natural flavors on a label, believing that they are
more healthful. Distinctions between artificial and natural flavors can be
arbitrary and confusing, based more on how the flavor has been made than
on what it actually contains. Natural and artificial flavors sometimes con-
tain exactly the same chemicals, produced through different methods.
Spring 2013
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