CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, ROOT BEER AND NON-ALCOHOLIC BEER – ARE THEY HALAL?
July 2007 ISSN 1533-3361
ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH 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.
CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, ROOT BEER AND NON-ALCOHOLIC BEER – ARE THEY HALAL?
What is Chocolate Liquor or Cocoa Liquor?
A common misconception concerns chocolate liquor, or cocoa liquor. Chocolate liquor and cocoa liquor are nothing but finely ground cocoa bean. It’s a thick, flowing substance and the first step in the production of chocolate. It has no relationship to alcohol, nor is alcohol used in producing it. They are produced from chocolate, and may be fortified with cocoa fat. Chocolate liquor can be found in chocolate bars and in chocolate flavored desserts.
What is Root Beer?
A&W, Barq's, and IBC are popular brands of a soft drink called "root beer". Root beer once referred to a fermented beverage that contained alcohol. Presently, though, when you purchase root beer from a grocery store or restaurant, you will be buying a soft drink, or soda pop. Present-day root beer does not contain alcohol, and therefore is not haram.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in Islam, and the culture associated with drinking alcoholic beverages is not Islamic.
But what about non-alcoholic alternatives such as non-alcoholic beer, near-beer, and non-alcoholic wine? O'Doul's and other "non-alcoholic" drinks do, in fact, contain small amounts of alcohol. Non-alcoholic beer is manufactured the same way as normal beer, i.e., it is brewed, but at the end of the process, the alcohol is removed. There may still a small amount of alcohol left in "non-alcoholic" beer. In fact, under US law, "non-alcoholic beer" may contain up to 0.5% alcohol. Non-alcoholic wine is also made by removing the alcohol from regular wine.
Regardless of the small amount of alcohol remaining in non-alcoholic beer, we need to be mindful of our religious commitment. The best thing we can do is avoid the temptation, and not consume these so-called "non-alcoholic" beverages. This is an obligatory precaution. IFANCA's position is that we will not certify non-alcoholic beer and wine, since the concept itself has alcohol-related connotations.
IFANCA President, Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry, To Speak At 2nd International Halal Conference for Africa: "Opportunities Beyond Boundaries"
Following the success of the 1st International Halal Conference in Durban last year, which was sponsored by IFANCA and The South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA), demand from the industry, consumers and companies has resulted in this year's conference. Key stakeholders from South Africa, USA, Netherlands, Malawi, Malaysia and New Zealand will be attending and presenting papers, including IFANCA President, Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry. Issues that will be discussed will include halal certification programs, import regulations, benefits and challenges facing the halal industry, stunning in the slaughter process, HACCP & halal CCP, foods from GMO's and Organic concept's compatibility with halal.
Halal Cabot Cheese At Local Grocery Stores Nationwide!
An excerpt from our interview with IFANCA halal-certified Cabot Creamery Cooperative, makers of Cabot Cheese
Many of the typical challenges related to halal certification of cheese pertain to the use of animal-based rennet. When rennet is not from animals, it removes these obstacles. When Cabot Creamery, which sells Cabot Cheese in groceries nationwide, took their first steps toward halal certification, their intention was to make their cheese even more marketable. Consumers often value third-party endorsements of certain brands or products and see it as almost a "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval.
For Cabot, it was the combination of this excellent endorsement plus the research that indicated that, by 2010, the Muslim population of the US was likely to surpass the Jewish population, said Jed Davis of Cabot Creamery. And IFANCA, having certified more than 2000 companies globally, was a natural choice when it came to choosing a halal certifier. "[IFANCA] halal certification for the halal standards of our cheese have been very helpful in attracting consumers to whom these dietary standards are significant", he adds.
Other endorsements could come from winning prestigious awards, such as the one Cabot Cheddar Cheese won for the second time at the most recent World Championship Cheese Contest.
Read the entire article in Halal Consumer's summer issue.
Question: Please advise us as to IFANCA's ruling on Shellac [E 904]. If reasons could be offered, it would be appreciated.
Sincerely, Research Dept: South African National Halaal Authority
IFANCA's Response: Shellac is a chemical polymer extracted from Seedlac secreted by and deposited in the tree bark by the insect Kerria lacca found in the forests of India. It is harvested from the bark of the trees, purified, and processed for various uses. The purified chemical could be yellow, red, brown, and even black. Shellac is a natural polymer and is chemically similar to synthetic polymers, thus it is considered a natural plastic. It is not easily digestible and passes through the body unchanged. The word shellac seldom appears on the product labels; however, its use is very common in pharmaceutical glaze and confectioner's glaze, also known as resinous glaze, pure food glaze, and natural glaze. It is used by the drug, food, and supplement industries for coating candy, tablets, and caplets, whereby it improves product appearance, extends shelf life, provides a clean base for printing, and protects the contents from moisture and oxygen. For the consumer, it facilitates swallowing the pill or caplet. It is listed on the FDA's inactive ingredient list and has been accepted as GRAS [generally regarded as safe].
By nature, as a secretion of insects, it is similar to honey or bees wax. Both the honeybee and lac insect are not haram or even najis, as verified by our religious scholars. Any ingredient or product from similar insects is therefore, halal. ALLAH (subhanahu wa ta'ala) knows best our intentions.
Question: "I have recently learned that the magnesium used in Tylenol comes from pork, and Advil contains animal ingredients, as well. This information applies to Canada. Is it true of these medicines in the USA?"
IFANCA's Response: Fortunately, most companies list the ingredients on their web sites or product labels, such as the following information from an ADVIL liquid product.
The worst non-halal ingredient in this product is gelatin, normally derived from pork. Avoid all products that contain gelatin. There is only one way to convince the companies to make this or any product halal: do not purchase it and ask for halal alternatives. ALLAH (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) knows best.
IFANCA-certified Danisco (www.danisco.com) and American Ingredients (www.americaningredients.com) are suppliers of dough conditioners. Breads from American Bakery Products (www.lawash.com), Goglanian Bakeries Inc., Kontos Foods (www.kontos.com ), Olympia Food Industries, Inc., and certain Sara Lee Bakery products are also IFANCA certified. To see the complete list, go to http://www.ifanca.org/products/index.php?catId=38.