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.
As we approach the start of Ramadan, IFANCA would like to wish everyone a Blessed And Peaceful Ramadan. May ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, accept your fasting and your deeds and reward you with the highest level in Paradise, the Firdaws. Please do not forget your brothers and sisters in your dua during this special time of the year.
Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts, driving chemical reactions in the cells of living organisms. Some enzymes cause reactions to occur quickly while others enable reactions to take place under more mild conditions. Enzymes can be very specific affecting only one type of reaction or more general having a wider effect. Reactions that are catalyzed by enzymes rarely produce any by-products. This is very important within the body and is very useful in industrial applications. Enzymes aid in breathing and the hydrolysis of sugar. Over 1500 enzymes have already been identified. As catalysts, enzymes are not used up. Rather they react and then are released again to remain in the system.
Enzymes have been used for many centuries in the making of cheese, bread and other food products.
On an industrial level, enzymes are used for many purposes and in many industries. In the food industry, the major uses of enzymes are in the baking, dairy, juice and ingredient industries. They are also used to hydrolyze proteins and modify fats and oils. In non-food industries, they are used in detergent production, the textile industry, the pulp and paper industry and in personal care products.
The identification and understanding of DNA led to gene-splicing and the development of bio-engineered enzymes. Now, many enzymes are produced using bioengineering. With the large demand for enzymes, industrial production has evolved to use different methods for the growth and production of enzymes. One such method of production is submerged fermentation. In this process, selected microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) are grown in closed vessels in the presence of liquid nutrients and oxygen. As the microorganisms break down the nutrients, they release enzymes into the solution. The nutrients are normally sterilized items like maize starch, sugars and soya grits. The process can be operated continuously or in a batch mode. The temperature of the vessels and the oxygen consumption and pH are carefully controlled to optimize enzyme production.
The use of microbial enzymes is more compatible with Halal food production, as it eliminates the use of animal derived enzymes. However, animal derived enzymes are still used in the food industry, particularly in the dairy industry. Cheese and whey produced using animal enzymes are haram if the source is non-Halal animals or Halal animals not processed according to Islamic requirements. Since whey is found in many non-dairy products, the use of animal derived enzymes to produce whey poses a big problem for the Halal consumer.
IFANCA has certified a number of enzymes for use in the food and cosmetics industries. This includes enzymes produced by CHR Hansen A/S (Denmark) CHR Hansen GmbH (Germany), CHR Hansen Inc. (USA), Genencor International (USA), Novozymes A/S (Denmark), Novozymes North America Inc. (USA), Rhodia, Inc. (USA), Valley Research Inc. (USA), Wuxi Syder Bio-Products Co., Ltd. (China).
(Extracted from Enzymes - Catalysts For Life by Dr. Muhammd M. Chaudry, President, IFANCA, which appeared in the Fall 2002 Issue of Halal Consumer.)
Australia's largest food company, Goodman Fiedler Ltd, warns of further bread prices rises due to the drought affecting Australia. Prices already increased 5% in September. (Reported in www.foodingrdientsonline.com on September 30, 2002.)
Another record recall of meat. 27.4 million pounds of cooked deli products were recalled by Wampler Foods due to possible listeria contamination. The product was produced in a plant in Franconia, Pennsylvania. (Reported in www.cnn.com.)
Drought in Zambia is causing food shortages. So far, Zambian authorities have rejected genetically modifed (GM) food aid. However, the severity of the crisis may cause authorities to accept the GM foods. (Reported on www.Africa Online.com on October 24, 2002.)
The United States Department of Agriculture plans to allow irradiated meat to be served in school lunch programs. About 27 million children receive low-cost or free school lunches across the nation. (Reported www.yahoo.com on October 25, 2002.)
Australian food producers claim to have a no-tear onion that is not genetically modified. the onion, termed the Aussie Mild is grown throughout the country during September through April. (Reported on www.just-food.com on October 22, 2002.)
The Emirates Society For Consumer Protection is asking the United Arab Emirates authorities to halt the distribution of genetically modified foods. There are currently no regulations regarding genetically modified foods. (Reported on www.just-food.com on October 18, 2002.)
Camels Australia is conducting test on camel's milk, in preparation for setting up the first cael dairy in Australia. The test are required because camels are not considered as livestock in Australia. Camels Australia hopes to market the milk as a health food. (Reported on www.just-food.com on October 16, 2002.)
Zinc is an essential mineral that stimulates the activity of enzymes; contribute to a healthy immune system; helps wounds to heal; maintains the sense of taste and smells; aids in the synthesis of DNA and supports normal growth.
Zinc is found in oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains and dairy products. The zinc in animal proteins is easier for the body to absorb than the zinc in plants.
The Institute of Medicine has set the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of zinc at 11 milligrams (mg) for males 14 and older and 8-9 mg for females 14 and older. For pregnant and lactating women, the RDA is higher. For children, the RDA is 8 mg for 9 to 13 year olds, 5 mg for 4 to 8 year olds and 3 mg for 7 month to 3 year olds. For infants up to 6 months old, the Adequate Intake is 2 mg.
Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, diarrhea, growth retardation, impotence, lesions and loss of appetite. Of course, these can also be caused by other medical conditions so it is best to consult a medical doctor for a proper diagnosis. Zinc deficiency may be caused by insufficient intake, poor absorption, an increased requirement or increased losses. Since absorption from plant foods is lower than from meat, vegetarians may need to consume more zinc than meat eaters. As mentioned earlier, pregnant and lactating mothers require more zinc.
Taking too much zinc can have adverse affects that may include low copper status, altered iron function, reduced immune function and reduced levels of HDL, the good cholesterol. For adults, the upper tolerable limit is 34-40 mg.
It is best to get all nutrition by following a balanced diet. However, if one finds this to be insufficient, they may consider supplements. Altering a diet while taking supplements may result in too much nutrient intake, which could have adverse affects. Finally, when in doubt, consult a physician.