Show Me The Whey!

JULY 2001
ISSN 1533-3361
In This Issue
E-Numbers Food News Change of State - Istihala Two-Piece Halal Capsules

Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
E-numbers are reference numbers used by the European Union to facilitate identification of food additives. All food additives used in the European Union are identified by an E-number. The "E" stands for "Europe" or "European Union". Normally each food additive is assigned a unique number, though occasionally, related additives are given an extension ("a", "b", or "i", "ii") to another E-number.

The Commission of the European Union assigns e-numbers after the additive is cleared by the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF), the body responsible for the safety evaluation of food additives in the European Union. The convention for assigning E-numbers is:

100-199     food colors
200-299     preservatives
300-399     antioxidants, phosphates, and complexing agents
400-499     thickeners, gelling agents, phosphates, humectants, emulsifiers
500-599     salts and related compounds
600-699     flavor enhancers
700-899     not used for food additives (used for feed additives)
900-999     surface coating agents, gases, sweeteners
1000-1399     miscellaneous additive
1400-1499     starch derivatives
E-numbers are only used for substances added directly to food products, so contaminants, enzymes and processing aids, which may be classified as additives in the USA, are not included in the E-number system.

There is an EU directive on food labeling which requires food additives to be listed in the product ingredients whenever they are added for technological purposes. This includes coloring, sweetening and favor enhancement as well as for preservation, thickening, emulsifying and the like. Ingredients must be listed in descending order of weight, which means that are generally found close to the end of the list of ingredients. However, substances used in the protection of plants and plant products, flavorings and substances added as nutrients (e.g., minerals, trace elements or vitamins) do not need to be included in the ingredient list. Because of this, some substances that are regulated as food additives in other countries may be exempt from the food additive definition in the EU.

As it pertains to Halal, E-numbers have limited use. In general, the origin of the additive must be know to determine if it qualifies as Halal. (This article was extracted from a talk given By Prof. Dr. Gert-Wolfhard von Rymon Lipinski, Nutrinova Nutrition Specialties & Food Ingredients GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany at Halal Food Conference 2001 in Paris, France.)

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Land O'Lakes, Inc. and Purina Mills, Inc. have agreed to merge. (Reported in on June 18, 2001.)
John Hopkins Medical Institutions research suggests Vitamin C and E may reduce the risk of dementia, or memory loss. (Reported in on June 15, 2001.)
High levels of manganese may be detrimental to infants. This has prompted soymilk producer, Lumen Foods to include a warning on their products saying it may be harmful to infants under 6 months old. (Reported in on June 14, 2001.)
A panel convened by the National Yogurt Association extols the virtue of yogurt. They pointed out that yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein, may benefit the immune system, is tolerable to many who are lactose intolerant, may reduce incidences of yeast infections, and provides minerals that reduce hypertension. (Reported in on June 15, 2001.)
There is some evidence to suggest eating canned tuna on a regular basis reduces the risk of macular degeneration, a condition that leads to poor eyesight and blindness. (Reported in on June 8, 2001.)

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Companies engaged in the production of food products have given humanity a wide variety of new and innovative products. With advertising and marketing efforts, these new products become popular among consumers. Some years ago, foods were consumed immediately after being prepared. But in these days of path breaking scientific advancements, scientists have developed the gift of preservation, which has greatly reduced the time and effort involved in the preparation of foods.

There are some folks in society who make no distinction between permissible and unacceptable (Halal and haram) food products. These people will make the fullest possible use of these new and varied products. However, these same products are a cause of great concern for Muslims who distinguish between Halal and haram. One of the key concerns Muslims have relates to the use of those products that have undergone a change from their original state.

Thankfully, jurists and researchers have clearly stated the Shari'ah (Islamic Law) position on this issue. The issue of 'product change', which in Fiqh terminology is known as 'Istihala' or 'Ihala', is of key concern. It means that if the original status of a product changes, either on its own or with external help, then the Fiqh ruling on it also changes. To illustrate this ruling we will consider a couple of examples:

  1. If a pig falls into the sea and dies, then the body decomposes and becomes part of the sea, and salt is extracted from the sea, the use of that salt, as part of the total salt recovered from the sea, is Islamically permissible. This is because the pig ceases to be in its original form after it decomposes. When it was a pig it was haram but when it became salt it is Halal.
  2. Wine is haram as long as it remains wine. However, it the same wine is turned into vinegar, it becomes Halal. The use of the vinegar derived from wine is Halal, as long as no wine remains in it.
From the above examples it becomes clear that if an unlawful food item changes state, then the original Shari'ah ruling on the food item also changes. It is then judged by the final state in which it is.

Muslim masses should abstain from giving personal opinions on matters relating to Shari'ah unless they have the training and expertise to rule on these issues. We pray to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, to make us steadfast in following the directives of Shari'ah and we ask that HE make this task easy for us. (Contributed by Shaikh Dr. Jaafar Al-Quaderi.)

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In the early 1800's, pharmacists searched for a way to make unpalatable medicine more pleasant. The answer was an easy-to-swallow two-piece capsule that masks the taste and smell of its contents. Today, the two-piece capsule is the dosage form of choice in most parts of the world. Unfortunately for Muslims, the capsule was made from gelatin, normally derived from non-Halal sources. Halal consumers in general and Muslim consumers in particular, were faced with a difficult choice. Not any more.

IFANCA is pleased to have certified Capsugel, the world's leading manufacturer of two-piece capsules. Capsugel now offers IFANCA certified Halal gelatin capsules. Capsugel Halal capsules are produced from Halal gelatin, also certified by IFANCA, in their Indonesian production facility. Production is under the full time supervision of a Halal coordinator. IFANCA and the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) supervise, inspect, and certify all production processes.

Capsugel manufacturing facilities operate in accordance with applicable cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) standards, using a gelatin dipping process on high-capacity automatic machines. The high quality and hygiene of these manufacturing conditions, eliminates the need for preservatives such as sulfur dioxide, irradiation or ethylene oxide for preventing microbial growth. The facilities are registered under the International Standards Organization (ISO) and comply with standards related to the control of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Now pharmaceutical and nutritional products manufacturers can offer fully Halal products to Muslim consumers. For more information on Halal capsules contact IFANCA or Capsugel (

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