What are the right questions for your food manufacturer?

When we talk about raw materials and ingredients, there are multiple ways to process and develop them. If you are a buyer, you must know what you buy. This way, your customer is protected, especially Halal is critical on cross-contamination and the components, the origin of substances, and other stuff that the manufacturer uses.

One of the big questions is, does it exist anymore in the final product, such as a processing aid?

 

The following questions may help identify whether the manufacturer uses any critical material in your product.

 No. Question Remarks
1 Are animal products or by-products used as raw materials/ingredients in manufacturing? For obvious reasons, animal traces or derivatives need an explanation. Land animals that are prescriptive must be slaughtered according to Halal principles.
2 Do you use glycerine in production? Glycerine is E422. It is commonly used in products, e.g. liquors, confectionery, dried fruits, low-calorie foods, etc. It is a substance derived from an animal or plant source.
3 Is there any direct and in-direct processing aid or additive that does not have to be specified or labelled on the packaging as required by the regulations? In general, these substances may come into contact with food as part of packaging or processing equipment but are not intended to be added directly to food (coatings, paper and paperboard components, polymers, and adjuvants and processing aids).
4 Did microbial fermentation apply in the product’s manufacturing process? Microbial fermentation needs media to make the final outcome. Media environment, in this instance, requires fat or an animal-based protein.
5 Is ethanol or its derivatives or carry-over used as raw material, solvent, carrier, or aiding material in the product’s manufacturing? Two types of ethanol may need to be clarified:
Type 1) Industrial ethanol produced by the chemical producer for food, pharmaceutical, medical or cleaning industry;
Type 2) Alcohol produced by consumer alcoholic or liqueur manufacturer, e.g. wine, beer, champagne, vodka, etc. – literally, it is called khamar production, which is prohibited in Islam.

Type 1 is widely accepted in the industry. Several fatwas (Malaysia, Indonesia), standards have already underlined the use of type 1 ethanol is permissible with a controlled amount for the consumable product. According to SMIIC, the alcohol amount shall not cause euphoria to the person who consumes it (less than 0.05 BAC),this means that the alcohol limit shall not exceed the 0.5% w/v or w/w of the final product.
– BAC is Blood Alcohol Concentration measured by g/100ml.

6 Do you use any gelatine, enzyme, or genetically modified organism (GMO) in product manufacturing?
  • Similar remarks on the animal product.
  • GMO – Genetic modification is the transfer of genes of other living species to a plant, animal, and microbiological source by genetic modification technologies and the modifications made in the food’s DNA. Food and beverages containing products and/or by-products of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or ingredients caused by the use or manipulating the genetic material of animals and plants that are non-Halal, according to Islamic Rules, are not Halal. – SMIIC
7 Do you use any food contact chemical that contains an animal substance or Glycerine (E422) or Stearic Acid (E570) or equivalent during maintenance and cleaning in the production area? Glycerine and Stearic Acid that may be derived from an animal are commonly used in cleaning chemicals. However, it is also possible to be made from plants or chemicals. Halal certification would help to ascertain the source. 
8 Do you use any active carbon or activated carbon filtration in the water treatment? Active carbon has several ways of making it. The risky one is that it may be derived from animal bones. You can identify it based on several standards. For example:

IMDG Class UN Number Description
Class 4.2 UN 1361 CARBON animal or vegetable origin
Class 4.2 UN 1362 CARBON, ACTIVATED
Class 4.2 UN 3088 SELF-HEATING SOLID, N.O.S (technical name: Charcoal)
9 Do you use other raw materials, which may derive from animal sources or their derivatives or carry-over (additive, antioxidant, emulsifier, carrier, colourants, fatty acid, preservative, vitamin etc.)? The components such as additive, antioxidant, emulsifier, carrier, colourants, fatty acid, preservative, vitamin – require a definition that you may find in Codex.

Carry-over on the other hand is an ingredient or raw material substance used in other forms of food or carried over to the food via the food additive, food enzyme or flavouring.

10 Is there any use of animal material such as tallow, fatty acid, gelatine film in the primary packaging  (food contact) for the product? The only way to ensure the primary packaging is free from an animal substance such as tallow oil, fatty acid, gelatine film is to ensure your manufacturer does a migration test. Then, you need to specify the purchasing specification.

Even though Istihalah allows transformation, the average consumer would want the producer to achieve a purity level and avoid any form of shubahah (a mix between Halal and Haram). Therefore, the manufacturer should respect Halal values and comply with them. If you do not specify in the purchasing specification, i.e. animal-free, the manufacturer will perform as they see deemed fit.

11 Is there any other commercial product containing animal or their derivatives produced in the same line as the product manufactured above, according to your supplier’s raw material/ingredient and your current production technologies and recipes? This matter is one of the main problems in the industry since the manufacturer may not understand that although cleaning is performed, sharing a production line will never elevate the food contact surface to a purity level. Therefore, impurities are one of the biggest issues in the Halal, Vegetarian, Vegan and Kosher industries. 
12 After reviewing your supplier raw materials/ingredients and your current recipes, do you use any porcine substance or other porcine components in other materials located in the same building with the product(s) mentioned above, e.g. at the storage area, production, pipeline (fluid conveyance) etc.? Porcine or swine is widely used in the industry due to the recycling industry offers cheap materials mainly from animal plant. Even though proper segregation is being done, the food industry will never fall under zero-defect. There is contamination due to negligence of people, unlearned workers, and a shared area as specified in the question.

Fluid conveyance – Pipe or tube to deliver fluids, either gaseous or liquid, in a process plant from one point to another point in the process. Also delivery of bulk solids, powder in a food or process plant from one point to another point in the process.

“Halal (the Lawful & Permissible) is clear, and haram (the Unlawful & Impermissible) is clear. Between halal and haram lays some doubtful things. Many people do not know whether it is permissible or not. Whoever leaves out these doubtful things in order to protect his religion and honour, then he is safe. Whoever indulges in these doubtful things/matters it is very possible that he will fall into haram, similar to a person who grazes his animals near the royal pasture it is very possible that one day he will graze in the royal pasture. Behold! Every king has a royal pasture and the royal pasture of Allah is those things which have been made impermissible.” (Tirmidhi 1205)

At the end of the day, the more we manage the risks, the easier our life will be. Why? Because not only Government perform surveillance, related non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as consumer associations will also take your product for assessment with the laboratory as part of their social responsibility. They are the pressing groups of the industry. Assessments such as DNA analysis would be able to detect any animal trace less than 0.01%.

If anyone finds any other relevant points let me know. We’ll try to create questions for meat or animal slaughterhouses soon. See you in another post. إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللَّٰ

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. ABDUL AZIZ MOHAMAD 22 March 2021 at 9:26 AM

    Well-done Bro Haizad to take this initiative for the user and producer. However, these issues should be clearly explained and stipulated in the halal standards and procedures.

    Reply

    1. Thank you, Mr Aziz. I hope policymaker able to use the knowledge and adapt it to the standards.

      Reply

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