Why Bother With Halal

MAY 2000
In This Issue
Introducing Halal Digest Food News Listeriosis Why Bother With Halal?

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.
"O ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him ye worship. (Al-Baqara: 172)
Alhamdulillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, who has created man from a clot and granted man the ability to distinguish right from wrong and Halal from haram.

With this issue, the Islamic Food And Nutrition Council Of America is launching a new publication. is being launched as a short newsletter aimed at bringing news, information and ideas about food and nutrition to the Muslim community. In this and future issues, we will review what is happening in the food industry, examine various aspects of Halal laws and the implementation of Halal, consider nutrition and health and look at recipes from across the Muslim world.

We trust you will find the issue interesting, informative and easy to read. We look forward to hearing your comments, suggestions and ideas on topics you would like to see covered.

The Islamic Food And Nutrition Council Of America is also known as IFANCA and as IFANCA International. IFANCA is a not for profit, educational, Islamic organization dedicated to promoting Halal food and nutrition. The Council's offices are located in Chicago, Illinois and has representatives in other cities in the United States, Canada and Europe. IFANCA maintains a website at www.IFANCA.org. We encourage you to visit the website often to learn more about what is new in the supply of Halal food products.



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Feller's Precooked Meats, Inc. voluntarily recalls 9,500 pounds of cooked roast beef and pastrami for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
The National Academy of Sciences reports that Americans should increase the intake of vitamins C and E, antioxidants that support the immune system and protect body cells. Orange juice producers Minute Maid and Tropicana were pleased with the report, since orange juice is a good source of vitamin C.
Unilever will acquire Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream for 366 million dollars and Slim-Fast Foods Company for 2.3 billion dollars. The nutrition supplement and weight management sector is the fastest growing part of the U.S. health food business.
Cows which graze in pastures or which are fed diets containing vegetable oils produce milk which has five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA, a fatty acid found in beef and dairy fats, is a cancer-fighting compound. All natural wins again.
A study at the University of Toronto-St. Michael's Hospital, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that ginseng is effective in reducing blood sugar. This could be encouraging news for diabetics.
The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, Boston, is recalling its 15 ounce plain pound creme cake. It seems the label did not list eggs as an ingredient. Consumers who are allergic to eggs could suffer serious or life threatening reactions if they consume the cake.
Tyson Foods, Inc. is launching Food Wise, a comprehensive food safety program designed to educate consumers about the company's safety procedures. It will also provide ideas on how to extend food safety into the home.
Nestle and the Food and Drug Administration announced that 2.5 million cans of baby formula are being recalled because they may not have been properly sterilized.
Information from Food Ingredients Online: www.foodingredientsonline.com

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Listeriosis is a serious infection and is caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium. It is an important public health problem in the United States. It primarily affects people with weakened immune systems, people with AIDS, those who have cancer, diabetes or kidney disease, the elderly, newborns and pregnant women. While a healthy person may become infected, they rarely become seriously ill.

The symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. It can also cause headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. In pregnant women, the symptoms may appear to be flu, but the infection can affect the unborn fetus, resulting in premature delivery, infection of the newborn or stillbirth.

In the United States, the infection affects 2,500 people a year and causes 500 deaths.

The bacteria is found in soil and water. The bacteria can enter vegetables, which pick it up from the soil. It can also be enter animals. If it does, it would be found in the meat and milk. Listeria is killed by pasteurization, so unpasteurized milk and foods made from unpasteurized milk may contain listeria. Listeria can also be found in raw meats and vegetables and in soft cheeses and deli cold cuts.

Listeriosis is contracted by eating foods containing the bacteria. Pregnant mothers eating contaminated foods risk passing it on to their newborns. Those at risk should avoid high-risk foods. Also, be sure to:

  • Thoroughly cook all beef, lamb and poultry.
  • Thoroughly wash raw vegetables before eating.
  • Separate cooked meats from vegetables and uncooked foods.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk or foods containing unpasteurized milk.
  • Thoroughly wash hands and all utensils after handling uncooked foods.
For those at high risk, they should also:
  • Avoid soft cheeses.
  • Avoid or reheat cold cuts before eating.
  • Heat leftover foods until they are steaming hot.

If you suspect you have listeriosis, consult your physician. A blood test can detect the bacteria.

As with other food borne bacteria, attention to cleanliness is a major component of avoiding contamination. For Muslims, attention to cleanliness is the normal way of life.


Information from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: www.cdc.gov








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Do you have to drive a long distance to find Halal meat? Does it take you longer to shop because you have to read the ingredient labels on everything you buy? Is it worth the extra time and energy to look for Halal products to eat?

There are many reasons to eat Halal products. First and foremost is that ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, has commanded us to do that. Other reasons are it is cleaner, healthier and it has many blessings. Another reason is explained in the following Hadith, narrated by Muslim:

Abu Huraira, radiya ALLAHu anhu, reported that the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, said: "O people, ALLAH is Good (Pure) and HE accepts only good (purity), and ALLAH has commanded the believers in the same way HE commanded the Messengers. ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, said:
O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you and be grateful to ALLAH, if it is HE you worship. (Al-Baqara, 172)
And HE said:
O you messengers! Enjoy (all) things good and pure, and work righteousness: for I am well-acquainted with (all) that you do. (AL-Mu'minoon, 51)
Then he (the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam,) informed us of the disheveled man who travels long distances, and extends his hands toward the sky (in dua) and asks, O my LORD, O my LORD and his food is haram and his drink is haram and his clothing is haram and his sustenance is haram; how will his supplication be granted?"
There are many lessons in this Hadith. The one we want to focus on now is how does what we eat affect whether our dua will be granted or not? It is clear from the Hadith that the person who eats haram and drinks haram will not have his dua granted.

All of us face difficulties in life, and when that happens, we seek help. It is always best to seek help from ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, so as we face these difficulties, we raise our hands in dua for help and patience. A condition for the granting of our dua is that we eat Halal and we drink Halal. (Also that we earn our living by Halal means and that we cloth ourselves in an acceptable manner.)

The Muslim Ummah today is faced with many problems and challenges, from the genocide in Chechnya, Bosnia, and elsewhere, to the occupation of Al Aqsa, to the hunger in Somalia and Iraq. Everyday, we raise our hands in dua for our needs and those of our fellow Muslims in these and other lands. Is the situation improving? Could it be that little crouton on the Halal salad contains some animal shortening or the beef in the restaurant is not quite Halal? What about all the food imported into the Muslim countries from the non-Muslim world. Are we kidding ourselves by accepting food that has not been properly supervised? Before sleeping tonight, take a few minutes to consider the implications of this Hadith.



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