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.
Food additives are commonly used in foods to perform a number of functions. They are used to preserve food and retard spoilage, to improve nutritional value and to make food more appealing. Food additives make food more convenient, especially for the on-the-go consumer! Additives are used in foods for five main reasons:
Preserving and Retarding Spoilage Antioxidants are added to food products to retard spoilage. Mold, air, bacteria and other substances can cause food to spoil. Bacteria can also cause food borne illnesses. Antioxidants prevent fats and oils in food products from becoming rancid and prevent fresh fruits from turning brown when exposed to air.
Improving Nutritional Value Vitamins and minerals are added to food to improve nutritional value. They are added to a variety of products, including milk, flour and cereals to help reduce malnutrition among consumers. Products containing added nutrients must be appropriately labeled.
Increasing Appeal Spices and flavors are added to food to enhance taste, leavening agents are added to make baked goods rise, colors are added to enhance appearance, emulsifiers are added to give products a consistent texture, stabilizers and thickeners are added to produce a smooth and uniform texture, anti-caking agents are added to help substances, such as salt, flow freely rather than stay in one clump and other additives are added to modify acidity and alkalinity of foods.
Additives may be natural or artificial. Natural additives are manufactured from natural sources. Examples of natural additives are lecithin derived from soybeans or corn and food coloring derived from beets. Artificial additives are often used when a natural additive cannot be found or when they are more economical to use.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve food additives before they can be used in the United States. The safety of any proposed additive must be investigated before they it is approved.
Food Colors Food colors are dyes that impart color to food products. In the US, color additives are classified as certifiable or exempt from certification. Certifiable colors are manmade. They are tested by both the manufacturer and the FDA before they are approved or certified for use. There are nine certified colors approved for use in the US, including FD&C Yellow No.6.
Color additives that are exempt from certification are derived from natural sources such as vegetables, minerals or animals, and man-made counterparts of natural derivatives. They include caramel color, which is used in sauces, soft drinks, baked goods and other foods. These too are tested before approval for use is granted.
Certifiable color additives are used widely because their coloring ability is greater than most colors derived from natural products. This enables food producers to use smaller quantities, which is more economic. In addition, certifiable color additives are more stable, provide better color uniformity and blend together easily to provide a wide range of hues. Certifiable color additives generally do not impart undesirable flavors to foods, while color derived from foods such as beets and cranberries can produce such unintended effects.
Certifiable color additives are available for use in water-soluble form, oil-soluble form, as powders, granules, liquids or other special purpose forms. They are used in a wide variety of products including beverages, dry mixes, baked goods, confections, dairy products, coated tablets, hard candies and chewing gums.
The flexibility of using additives makes it easier to produce food products with long shelf life, appealing taste and color and with high nutritious value. It also poses a challenge for Muslims since the processes used to produce the additives and the sources of the additives may introduce haram ingredients into an otherwise Halal product. For those with allergies, the use of additives may pose additional concerns, since they are present in small quantities and may not be listed very descriptively.
(Extracted from an FDA/IFIS January 1992 brochure on Food Additives.)
The Saudi Halal Food Conference concluded on September 27, 2001. At the invitation of the Saudi Export Development Center, IFANCA participated and delivered two presentations, including the IFANCA model for Halal certification. The conference was convened to: discuss a standardized global Halal certification program, showcase the Saudi food industry and highlight the opportunities in Halal food. The conference was sponsored by the Saudi Chambers of Commerce, the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) and local businesses.
McNeil Nutritionals and Tate & Lyle will work closely together to develop the sucralose busines. Tate & Lyle will be the exclusive broker of sucralose outside North America and McNeil will market sucralose, under the Splenda® name within North America. Splenda® is certified Halal by IFANCA. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com September 26, 2001.)
The Indonesian Anti Dumping Committee has called on the Industry and Trade Ministry to impose anti dumping duties of 5-35% on wheat flour imported from Australia, the European Union and the United Arab Emirates. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com September 26, 2001.)
Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble are abandoning their joint business venture in snack foods and drinks. (IFT Weekly Newsletter, September 26, 2001)
On September 24, 2001, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched LEARN, an automated notification system for information on samples of meat, poultry and egg products being tested. Information on samples will be updated several times a day, e-mail reports will be sent to officials and establishments and agency personnel can access the information on the FSIS Intranet. This is a new tool to disseminate the information quicker and more efficiently to authorized officials.
IFANCA enjoyed participating in the Muslim American Society Convention, held in Chicago, Illinois, USA on August 31-September 3. IFANCA discussed the Food of Ahlul Kitab and how it applies to Muslims in non-Muslim countries and elsewhere and presented a workshop on How to Select Foods in the Market.
Dr. Jaafar Al-Quaderi, IFANCAís Religious Advisor, discussed the food of Ahlul Kitab. This issue has confused many Muslims and caused them anxiety whenever they eat out or visit non-Muslim friends. Dr. Al-Quaderi explained that the term Ahlul Kitab applies to the Christians and Jews. He then explained the meaning of the ayat in the Quran, permitting the food (meat) of Ahlul Kitab and also requiring Muslims to eat of food (meats) slaughtered while reciting the name of ALLAH. We have published an article by Dr. Al-Quaderi on this topic in the last issue of Halal consumer, but he briefly explained that Muslims are obligated to eat Halal, which when referring to meat, requires Tasmiyyah at the time of slaughter. Since Ahlul Kitab do not perform Tasmiyyah and especially since the meat in the supermarkets is commercially produced without Tasmiyyah, it is not permitted for Muslims to consume this meat.
The Ahadith relating to this subject indicate Muslims sometimes received gifts of meat and understanding the conditions of the times indicates this meat came from domesticated Halal animals slaughtered by their owners, probably with Tasmiyyah, and presented to their friends and neighbors. Currently, the owner of the animals does not slaughter the meat in the supermarkets. Rather, it is slaughter by an employee of unknown beliefs, without Tasmiyyah, and is sold to marketers who sell it to the public with one or more intermediaries. This does not qualify as the Ahlul Kitab meat that was accepted by the Sahaba.
Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry then conducted a workshop on food in general and Halal food requirements. He discussed the issues shopperís face when they visit the supermarket, reviewed the information on food labels and distributed typical food labels from locally available products to the attendees. In teams, they discussed the labels and presented their opinion of the acceptability of those products for Muslims consumption. The products contained many ingredients, including gelatin, mono and di-glycerides, natural and artificial flavors, whey, etc. some products were Halal certified and others were not. Then Dr. Chaudry discussed the products and explained why products containing gelatin, mono and di-glycerides, whey and flavors are questionable because the source of the ingredient may come from pigs or non-Halal slaughtered animals. The attendees were very attentive and enthusiastic in participating in a practical application of Halal food laws. IFANCA distributed Shopperís Guides to help consumers identify haram and questionable ingredients. The workshop ended with attendees enjoying some of the IFANCA certified Halal products. It was an enjoyable learning experience for all!
On behalf of the organizers, Maryam Suluki, thanked IFANCA and all the participants of the Conference.