Previous Halal Digests
Miswak, The Ancient Toothbrush

MARCH 2002
ISSN 1533-3361
In This Issue
Miswak, The Ancient Toothbrush Upcoming Events Food News

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. Green Grapes
Miswak is a tan-colored stick, which is used by Muslims to clean the teeth and freshen the breath. The normal source of the miswak is the root of the arak tree (salvadora persica), which is found in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Chad and parts of India. In places where the arak tree is not available, other trees are used. For example, in Morocco, strips of bark are used.

The Miswak is used without toothpaste and can be used at any time and any place. It is almost always used after wudu (ablution) and before salat. It is also acceptable to use while one is fasting.

The Miswak contains natural antiseptics, which kill harmful microorganisms in the mouth; tannic acid, which protects the gums from diseas; and aromatic oils, which increase salivation.

The Miswak is best used when fresh and flexible. After a time, it loses its moisture and dries out. If this happens, or if it is obtained dried out, it can be soaked in water for a few hours. Use of the Miswah involves removal of the outside bark, chewing the bristles to separate them and then rubbing the teeth in an up-and-down motion. It is easy to reach all the teeth and between the teeth using the Miswak.

The Miswak does not need cleaning. As the bristles dry out, they can be soaked in water or they can be cut-off and a new section prepared for use. Green Grapes

(Information extracted from under the Saudi culture section)

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Halal Food Conference 2002 will be held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel at the Toronto International Airport, Toronto, Canada on April 22-23, 2002. Click here for details and registration information. Green Grapes

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It looks like Mexico will reach a deal with the United States that will reverse the Mexican imposed tax on high fructose corn syrup. The tax would have cost American corn growers and refiners $300 million a year. (Reported by February 22, 2002)
If Canadian researchers have their way, a protein derived from winter wheat will be added to ice cream. Apparently it is expected to extend shelf life and improve texture. (Reported in on February 18, 2002)
The Institute of Food Technologists has relased a report which warns against the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and the use of manure as fertilizer. They indicate a growing evidence that the use of antibitoics is resulting in bacteria resistant to drugs and that the use of manure risks spreading bacteria to food. It also raised concerns about regulating imported foods. (Reported in, February 20, 2002)
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new wastewater controls on meat and poultry operations. The industry has 60 days to comment on the new controls. The purpose is to reduce the discharge of nutrients and other loadings to rivers and streams. The EPA estimates the cost of these new regulations at $80 million while the industry believes the cost to be over $250 million. The deadline for comments is April 26, 2002. (Reported in on February 26, 2002)
Ketchup is becoming even more colorful. Heinz is introducing three new colors, Passion Pink, Awesome Orange and Totally Teal. In fact, Heinz will market the Ketchup as a Mystery Color. Consumers wonít know what color is inside the squeeze bottle until they use it. Aimed at children, the new colors will be available in late April. (Reported in IFT Weekly Newsletter, February 27, 2002) Green Grapes

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