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.
Eating out at a restaurant can be a fun treat. But, for a Muslim it can also be a pain! It is difficult enough to decipher product labels at the grocery store, but what do we do when we only have a menu?
There may be times when you have to go to a restaurant, whether it is with colleagues, for a friend’s party or for a job interview. Unfortunately, halal restaurants are not everywhere. You can be prepared, though, with an idea of safe food choices, and foods to avoid.
Think about the ingredients in the dish you are ordering. Imagine you are at the grocery store looking at the label of the product you are about to order. What types of questionable (mashbooh) or haram ingredients might you find?
Sauces and soups may contain animal fat or meat based flavors. Pasta and pizza sauces may contain beef or chicken fat as a flavoring, and even vegetable soups may be made with stock.
Ask if wine is used in preparing your meal, especially if you are ordering fish or a dish with a sauce. The server may reply that all the alcohol evaporates during cooking. Actually, alcohol will not completely evaporate during cooking, even if boiled. Simply choose another dish.
If ordering a fried food, see what other fried foods are offered. All fried foods are probably cooked in the same oil, whether a vegetarian sampler, seafood, or meat. Additionally, french fries and other battered foods may contain meat flavors in the batter.
Salads containing different types of lettuce, a variety of veggies, and topped with boiled eggs are a nutritious option that can be turned into a meal. Choose your dressing wisely, though. Low fat dressings may contain gelatin. If available, ask for olive oil and a lemon on the side.
Check to ensure pork is not present. Bacon and ham are sometimes used in vegetable dishes such as potato salad and as a topping for salads.
The type of restaurant is also a factor. Buffets can be a Muslim's worst nightmare. How often do you think people switch the serving spoons between meat and vegetables? In addition, how do you know what is really in that dumpling? Is it pork, beef, or vegetarian? There are a variety of stylish soup and sandwich cafés that cater to vegetarians or vegans. Servers at these restaurants are often helpful with finding information about dishes. On the other hand, small diners usually use one large griddle for everything from sausage patties to vegetarian omelets. Many chains, from fast food to set-down restaurants, are now posting nutrition information online. This allows consumers to check the menu and ingredients ahead of time.
What other dishes are served at the restaurant? Is there pork or alcohol served? How comfortable are you with utensils touching your dish and a non-halal dish? Chinese, Mexican, and other ethnic restaurants may be largely off limits. Chicken stock in the egg drop soup, pork lard in the refried beans, and meat mixed in with the rice. There are not many vegetarian options left.
Of course, your best option is to choose a halal restaurant. If you are trying a new restaurant, ask if all the food is zabiha halal, or only certain dishes. Ask to see proof from the containers or bills. You may need to talk to a manager or owner, so consider calling ahead of time for arrangements. Finally, just because you are dining at a halal restaurant, do not blindly eat anything on the menu. Just because someone owns or manages a restaurant does not mean that they know all the Islamic food laws, or that they are aware of the all the ingredients in the food they are serving. We alone are responsible for the food we eat, and the food we provide to our families.
8/18/2006 - Tocotrienol producer Carotech, has received Halal certification for its Malaysian manufacturing plant. The trend of making nutritional ingredients marketable to all consumers, no matter their religious considerations, is gaining momentum. According to WH Leong, VP of Carotech's US division, "We see Halal as a form of approval that boosts our customers' trust and confidence in our range of phytonutrients. The Halal symbol will appear on all Carotech products. Other companies who have received Halal certified are Aloecorp, McNeil Nutritionals, Ocean Nutrition Canada and Reliv International.
(Reported in www.nutraingredients.com.)
RAPIDASE INTENSE TO ALLOW RED BERRIES TO GIVE HIGHER JUICE YIELD, STABLE COLOR
06/ 05 /2006 – Halal certified, Rapidase Intense, a new pectinase for red berry processing produced by DSM Food Specialties promises to help acid red berries being processed give higher juice yields and stable color. "Processing of small red fruits requires careful handling. Rapidase Intense helps manufacturers retain the intense quality of these popular fruits in juices and concentrates", said beverage enzymes product manager Hans Baetens. "As it contains no anthocyanases, there is no decolorizing activity, a key advantage for processors using these berries to create blends with fruits which have a less intense color or aroma. With Rapidase Intense, beverage manufacturers can retain the freshness, quality and natural health benefits of these fruits whatever the manufacturing conditions", said the DSM spokesperson.
(Reported in www.nutraingredients.com.)
BASF BUILDS ONE-SIZE FITS ALL VITAMIN A
9/20/2006 - BASF is introducing a new formulation of compressible vitamin A suitable for the spectrum of specialist diets, giving its customers one ingredient to meet the specifications of every market in which their products are sold.
Dry Vitamin Acetate 250 DC/GFP can be marketed as vegetarian, allergen-free, halal certified, kosher certified, and GMO-, BHT-, dioxin-, and gluten-free, says the company. "Having just one globally marketable formulation at hand largely reduces the internal complexity for our customers; and complexity reduction means cost reduction", said head of global strategic marketing human nutrition Martin Jager. This will allow manufacturers using Dry Vitamin Acetate 250 DC/GFP, to keep their product labels simple, have the same label irrespective of markets.
BASF is the only vitamin manufacturer to produce a Vitamin A formulation suitable for use in food supplements marketed as both allergen-free and suitable for vegetarians, the company claims.
Other vitamins in its line of 'one-size-fits-all' are: vitamin E, vitamin D3, vitamin K1 and beta-carotene formulations.
According to Nutraingredient.com, "Several supplement ingredient firms have gone to lengths to obtain halal and/or kosher certification recently, including (IFANCA Certified) plant extract supplier Naturex, and Fortitech."
(Reported in www.nutraingredients.com.)
IFANCA CERTIFIED FORTITECH RECERTIFIED BY NATIONAL QUALITY ASSURANCE, USA
Gadstrup, Denmark, September 20, 2006 – Adding yet another feather to its cap, Fortitech Europe's state-of-the-art facility located in Gadstrup, Denmark recently received ISO 9001:2000 recertification from NQA, USA (National Quality Assurance, USA), an internationally recognized provider of management support services, and one of the largest quality registrars in existence.
"ISO standards specify the requirements for state-of-the-art products, services, materials and systems, and for good conformity assessment, managerial and organizational practice", said Peter Sørensen, Fortitech Europe's managing director. "The principal benefit of this recertification is to show Fortitech’s continuous improvement of its premix quality and manufacturing processes."
International Organization for Standardization (ISO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a globally-recognized quality standard that enables the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services to be more efficient and safe. ISO standards also make trade between countries easier, plus they provide governments with a technical base for health, safety and environmental legislation. To successfully achieve recertification, Fortitech had to demonstrate its continuous commitment of exceeding and improving its already strict quality standards. In addition to ISO certification, Fortitech Europe is GMO-free and meets Halal, cGMP-equivalent requirements, and Allergen Monitoring and HACCP program standards.
Dairy ingredients are used as components of various food products all over the world. These ingredients contribute to the flavor; color; appearance; body, and texture of sauces, dressings, and puddings. In some products, such as cheese sauce or dips, dairy ingredients are the primary ingredients in the base of a consumer product. In others, such as salad dressings, they may be used in smaller amounts for flavor or appearance. These ingredients could be found in bread you eat in the breakfast or a quick snack in your lunch time. Most vending machines carry non-Halal products.
In snacks, dairy-based ingredients are primarily used for seasoning, because they enhance the flavor and appearance of the snacks (i.e., cheese powder and dairy-based preparations of many formulations).
Dairy ingredients can be used as functional ingredients in the manufacture of processed meat, poultry, and seafoods. For this purpose, lactose and milk proteins are generally used. Lactose increases the ionic strength of the brine mixture and masks the bitter aftertaste associated with salt and phosphate. Lactose-containing products such as whey and nonfat dry milk are functionally not as good because of their calcium content, which interferes with the binding properties of meat proteins. Milk protein contributes to the stability of the processed meat emulsion. Sodium caseinate competes favorably with meat proteins for absorption at the oil-water interface to stabilize fat in the emulsion. Other functional properties of sodium caseinate that are important in meat systems are that they do not gel with heat; the denatured form improves functionality; and they can contribute to the development of viscosity (Chandan 1997).
Their contributions consist of unique flavor, desirable texture, excellent nutritive value, and a widely accepted "natural" image. Thus, dairy ingredients provide a consumer-friendly label on packaged foods. Dairy ingredients contribute a number of characteristics critical to a food product. These include the emulsifying and stabilizing ability of caseinates, the gelling properties of whey protein concentrates (WPC) and whey protein isolates (WPI), the water-absorption capacity of high-heat nonfat dry milk, and the browning of "lactose" during heat processing. Furthermore, the crystallization characteristics of lactose and the hydrolytic activity of the enzyme lactase are important in confectionery and frozen products. In addition, butter flavor carryover can be achieved with enzyme-modified butterfat and various cheese flavors imparted by enzyme-modified cheeses. An understanding of the functional properties of dairy ingredients allows food scientists to utilize their potential contribution to product characteristics to meet consumer expectations.
There are numerous dairy ingredients used in various food products, however, few common ingredients have been selected and discussed. Most of these ingredients fall into the category of Mashbooh (doubtful).
Caseinates: Compounds derived by the interaction of alkali with casein (the major milk protein). Caseinates are used as additives in many complex ingredients and products. Generally, this type of ingredient is Halal, if not mixed with any non-Halal ingredients.
Whey: The watery liquid remaining after the curd is formed in the manufacture of cheese and fermented or acidified dairy products. Whey can be used in either compound ingredients or finished products. It is Halal only if not modified with enzymes. The addition of enzymes into whey makes it doubtful (mashbooh) from an Islamic dietary stand point. The sources of enzymes could be animal, microbial or plant. The latter two sources are accepted by most Halal certifying organizations. Rennet is an extract of the fourth stomach of a calf, kid, or lamb, used in the coagulation of milk during cheesemaking (Chandan 1997).
Whey Protein Concentrates (WPC): WPCs are products derived from whey by removal of minerals and lactose. On a dry basis, the protein concentrate contains a minimum of 25% protein. Whey protein isolate (WPI) contains at least 92% protein.
A WPC of 34% protein is commonly used as a stabilizer in yogurt, bakery mixes, dietetic foods, infant foods, and confections. Its water-binding ability, fatlike mouthfeel, and gelation property are particularly useful in these products.
A WPC of 50 or 80% protein is especially suited for use in nutritional drinks, soups, bakery products, meat, dietary foods, and economical egg-white replacement in food formulation. Again, WPC might contain enzymes, hence fall into Mashbooh classification.
Lactose: Lactose is commonly known as milk sugar. It is composed of glucose and galactose. Applications include infant formula, health foods, dietetic formulations, dry mixes, confections, drinks, candy, fermentation substrate, and dairy beverages. Lactose as a sugar is characterized by low solubility and low sweetness. It imparts a desirable brown color to bakery items and enhances flavor in beverages. It is a useful carrier of intense sweeteners and pharmaceutical preparations. So far, lactose seems Halal but is not exactly true. The reason for this statement is because lactose might contain enzymes which makes it Mashbooh.
Casein and Caseinates: These ingredients furnish emulsification, whipping, and texture-modifying attributes. Sodium caseinate aids in the formation of a stable emulsion by locating itself at the interface of oil and water. Casein is the major protein in milk. It is used in the manufacture of most cheeses. It may be Halal or haram, depending upon the enzyme used to produce it (www.ifanca.org/glossary)
It is time for the dairy ingredient industry to become familiar with the term "Halal". More than 95% of certified-Halal dairy ingredients are intended for markets with large Muslim populations such as those in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Some major companies like Danisco, Chr. Hansen, Foremost Farms, Grande Cheese Company, Proliant, Saputo Cheese Canada, and WestFarms Foods are under the supervision of IFANCA. These companies are experts in manufacturing dairy ingredients and also well-known suppliers on a global level.
These companies keep IFANCA up-to-date about any new product development and cooperate with IFANCA's policy of Halal Certification. IFANCA regularly conducts Halal audits of their facilities to ensure that all procedures are being followed religiously.
A common misconception among Muslim consumers is that the whey or other ingredient if used in a Kosher-certified product may be considered Halal. This is not true. Not much research has been done in regards to the Halal status of dairy ingredients used in the modern food industry. There might be few dairy ingredients mixed with hidden non-Halal ingredients and product labels don't necessarily spell it all out. Therefore, it is the consumer's responsibility to ask the manufacturers directly for further details. For instance, most of the common daily-use products contain whey which is a doubtful ingredient. It doesn’t take much time to ask the manufacturer what source of enzyme is being used in this whey as all manufacturers maintain information on ingredients used in a product.
Chandan, R. 1997. Dairy-Based Ingredients. Eagan Press Handbook Series, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Studies have recently shown that eating nuts appears to dramatically improve health. In particular, eating nuts lowers the risk of heart disease. Studies show that people eating nuts daily had up to 60% lower risk of heart attacks, than those who ate nuts less than once per month.
In addition to benefits to the heart, nuts also lower the risk of having a stroke; of developing type 2 Diabetes; of developing dementia; of advanced macular degeneration and of gallstones. Studies have found that nut eaters gain an extra 5-6 years of life free of coronary diseases, and regular nut eating prolongs longevity by about 2 years.
Studies suggest that 30-60 grams of nuts should be consumed daily to gain maximum health benefits. Nuts are obviously fatty foods and the risk of weight gain is eminent. However, studies have proven that nuts do not play a major role in weight increase. Nuts reduce hunger, because they reduce the consumption of other foods. Nuts contain low levels of saturated fats, and high levels of unsaturated fat. Studies have shown that nuts consumption lowers blood cholesterol levels, and subsequently lowers risk of heart disease.
Walnuts and almonds are on top of the list of nuts that reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. However, the best advice is to eat a variety of nuts that would be the best way to a healthy heart. Nuts are good sources of fiber; vitamin E; folic acid; copper; magnesium and essential amino acids that play a role in preventing heart disease. Nuts are also good dietary sources of manganese and contain plant sterols, which help to reduce cholesterol adsorption from food. Nuts could be added to recipes that include bread, cakes, soups, sauces, stuffing, salads and deserts. Nut butters are delicious, like peanut and hazelnut butters.
However, surveys have found that one in one hundred people may be allergic to one or more types of nuts. Common allergic symtoms include skin rashes and hoarseness in the throat. Regular nut consumption is recommended as a replacement for consumption of red or processed meats, and to lead a better, healthier lifestyle.
Pistachio Cake Recipe
1 box yellow cake mix
2 boxes instant pistachio pudding
¼cup vegetable oil
1 cup baking soda
1 lb white pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and crushed
1-1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon powdered whipping cream are all these ingredients available as halal
Directions: Mix in bowl the cake mix, eggs, baking soda, 1 box of pudding, oil and ½ cup of nuts. Mix well and bake in a greased and floured bundt or cake pan for 45 minutes at 325F. Cake is done when a long toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. When cool, place cake on serving plate and cover with the icing below.
Icing: Mix 1½ cups of milk, with instant whipped topping, and 1 box of instant pistachio pudding. Mix on low to combine and then on high for 4-5 minutes. Fold in nuts and spread on cooled cake.
IFANCA HALAL CERTIFIED COMPANY FOR NUT PRODUCTS: PARAMOUNT FARMS, INC. - USA PRODUCTS: ALMOND AND PISTACHIO NUTS