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1. What is Halal Food? Discuss the role of food ingredients in halal food production?

The world is made up of different groups of people with different traditions and backgrounds. One of the most common groups of people in the world is Muslims. Muslims is one of the most commonly practiced religions in the world, who are expected to live their lives based on Islamic teachings. Halal food can simply be defined as foods that are permitted or lawful in Islamic dietary laws. On the other hand, is haram foods, which are foods that are not lawful or permitted in Islamic dietary laws. The major properties of halal food are as follows:

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·        They are not manufactured, processed or prepared with equipment contaminated with najs based on Shariah law. (Najs consist of three types: they include pigs and dogs as well as their objects and liquid discharged from their orifice known as severe najs, urine from a child below two years who have only taken his mother’s milk known as light najs as well as objects, liquid, carrion, khamar, blood, pus and vomit that are discharged from the orifices).

·        They are safe to be consumed as they are not hazardous, intoxicating or poisonous.

·        They don’t contain najs based on the Shariah law.

·        The do not contain any products or parts of animals that are haram based on the Shariah law as well as any products of parts of animals that were not slaughtered based on the Shariah law.

Muslims are expected to eat only halal foods, while they must avoid haram foods. This is similar to other cultures and group of people who are able to eat some types of food and then reject some other types of food. Another common group of people could have foods that are permitted to them and those that are not permitted to them are vegetarians. Vegetarians are very popular, because they do not eat dishes that include meat. Similarly, every Muslim is expected to eat just Halal foods and avoid Haram food. Some examples of food that are not halal include pork meat, meat that is not slaughtered in line with Islamic dietary law, ice cream, yoghourt and cheese that contain whey or artificial or pure vanilla extract, pepsin, lipase and gelatin, fruit and vegetable prepared with alcohol or other haram ingredients as well as products from grains that were prepared with haram ingredients.

Ingredients play a very vital role in the production of halal food. This is due to the fact that the application of a haram ingredient to a food that would otherwise have been halal will make that food haram. The major reason for the ingredient been able to make the food haram is due to the fact that the ingredient itself is also haram. This is when one of the components of the ingredient is a haram or the ingredient is made from a material that is haram. There are several haram ingredients including those made from pork, made from animals not slaughtered according to the dietary law in Islam and ingredients that are made from or preserved with alcohol. Others are ingredients that is made from or contain artificial or pure vanilla as vanilla is prepared with alcohol, ingredients made from products that contained blood as well as ingredients that contain L-cysteine, sodium stearoyl-lactylate, animal shortening, rennet and non-microbial enzyme among others. It is thus important for Muslims to be careful of what they eat especially when they did not prepare the food on their own. Fortunately, some countries have restaurants that serve halal foods, just like there are also markings on some halal food ingredients and products. Muslims who want to fully comply with the Islamic dietary law can take advantage of these markings to buy only products that have been marked as prepared with Islamic dietary law in mind.

2. Define E codes. Enlist some of Halal and Haram ingredients mentioning their codes.

The E codes are some numbers that has the E alphabet preceding it, which are used to indicate some particular food additives that are used in the food industry for the production of different types of food products. The European Economic Community (EEC) came up with these set of numbers, which have been adopted by the food industry all over the world. The major purpose for the development of the E code was to facilitate the identification of additives for food by the European Union. An E code is used to identify every food additives that is used within the European Union. There are cases of related additives that could have an extension added to the E code. The extension could either b “a”, “b”, “i” or “ii”. The E-codes are grouped as follows:

·        Food colors – 100 to 199

·        Preservatives – 200 to 299

·        Phosphates, antioxidants and complexing agents – 300 to 399

·        Emulsifiers, humectants, phosphates, gelling agents, thickeners – 400 to 499

·        Salts and related compounds – 500 to 599

·        Flavor enhancers – 600 to 699

·        Used for feed additives and not used as food additives – 700 to 899

·        Surface coating agents, sweeteners, gases – 900 – 999

·        Miscellaneous additive – 1000 to 1399

·        Starch derivatives – 1500 to 1499.

The E codes list is made up of only substances that are applied to food products directly. This implies that you will not find processing aids, enzymes and contaminants in the E code system, even though they are referred to as additives in the United States of America.

There is several food additives listed on the E codes that has haram ingredients in them. Most of the haram additives are those that were gotten from insects or animals. Some examples of such additives are the red color gotten from female insects known as Cochineal and listed as E120, gelatin gotten from hides and/or bones of pigs and cattle listed as E441, edible bone phosphate extracted from the bones of animals listed as E542 and resin gotten from lac insect known as Shellac and listed as E904. Some other codes for ingredients that are haram that could be haram, with the haram coming from the use of pork fat, liver, kidney or meat include Tumeric / Curcumin – E100, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – E101, Idigotine / Indigo Carmine – E132, Beta-apo-B-carotenal – E160e, Ethyl ester of Beta-apo-8-cartonoic acid – E160f, lutein – E161b, ascorbyl palmitate – E304, Tocopherols rich natural extracts – E306, Bytylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) – E320, Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) – E321, glycerol – E422, fatty acids calcium salts, potassium and sodium – E470, mono and diglycerides of fatty acids – E471, different esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids – E472, fatty acids sucrose esters – E473, sucroglycerides – E474, fatty acids polyglycerol esters – E475, fatty acids propane 1,2 diol esters – E477, sodium stearoyl-2 lactylate – E481, calcium steroyl 2 lactylate – E482 and stearyl tartrate – E483. There are some other food additives that could be haram due to other factors that are not related to Pork but alcohol and other haram substances that are not listed in the examples above. Examples of E codes for halal food additives include caramel colors with chemicals – E150 (a to d), norbixin, bixin and annatto – E160b, titanium dioxide – E171, hydroxides and iron oxides – E172, aluminum – E173, silver – E174, gold – E175, sortic acid – E200, sodium sorbate – E201, potassium sorbate – E202, calcium sorbate – E203, benzoic acid – E210, sodium benzoate – E211, potassium benzoate – E212, sulphur dioxide – E220, sodium sulphite – E221, sodium hydrogen sulphite – E222, sodium metabisulphite – E223, potassium metabisulphite – E224, calcium sulphite – E226, and hexamine – E239 amongst others.

3. Elaborate the rules and regulations required for halal production in different industries?

There are different industries in the food sector, for which careful production processes must be maintained to avoid the production of haram food. Some of such industries include the meat and alternatives, milk and milk products, vegetables and fruits as well as grain products. There is also the combination food industry and other industries.

Meat and alternatives: For the production of halal food in the meant and alternatives industry, it is important for the poultry and meat to be slaughtered based on the dietary law in Islam. Alternatives for halal meat include halal deli meats, peanut butter, eggs, dried beans, lentils and peas, tofu, seeds and nuts as well as seafood. However, meats and alternatives that are not halal include porks and products from ports such as sausage, ham, deli meats and bacon; poultry and meat that are not slaughtered based on the dietary law in Islam, canned beans, lentils and peas that contain pork as well as any meat and alternative dish that was prepared with animal shortening, pork products or alcohol.

Milk and milk products: For milk and milk products, ice cream, cheese and yoghourt produced with microbial enzymes or culture such as microbial rennet is halal. However, frozen tofu deserts, ice cream, yoghourt and cheese made from whey, artificial vanilla, pure vanilla, pepsin, lipase, gelatin or animal rennet is haram. This is considering the fact that vanilla is usually processed with alcohol, thereby making it a haram.

Vegetables and fruits: Every raw, canned, frozen or dried vegetable is halal as far as it is not produced with any ingredients that are haram. This also includes fruits and vegetable that are served or cooked with vegetable oils, butter and water. Every type of fruit juice is also halal as long as it is not alcoholic. To avoid making fruits and vegetables haram, it is important to make sure they are not produced with some margarine that contain diglycerides or monoglycerides from an animal source. Other ingredients that when added to fruits or vegetables, could make them haram, include lard, gelatin, bacon, animal shortening and alcohol.

Grain products: Grain products such as pasta and rice are halal. Other products made from grain that are also halal include baked goods, breakfast cereal or bread as long as no halal ingredient was used in the production process. Based on this, any grain products that was produced with ingredients that are halal such as vanilla extract, lard, animal shortening or alcohol is haram.

Combination food: For combination foods, sweets and desserts that alcohol, extract from vanilla or any other haram ingredients were not used in the production process is halal. Sauces and soup that are prepared without the use of any haram ingredient or food is halal. Main dish entries such as rice, pasta, pizza, zabihah meat or alternative dish that is made without haram ingredients and food are halal. On the other hand, sweets and desserts made with vanilla extract (artificial or pure), alcohol or any other haram ingredient is haram. Sauces and soups that are made with haram ingredients and foods are haram. Any main dish entries that also contains haram ingredients and foods are also haram.

Others: Sweeteners such as chocolate liquor (syrup from roasted ground cocoa bean), syrup, sugar and honey are halal. Also deserts made with only carrageenan and/or agar base is also halal. Fats and oil such as some salad dressings, vegetable oils, mayonnaise, margarine and butter are not halal. Beverages including coffee, tea, cocktails, punch, fruit juice and carbonated drinks are not halal. Also not halal are spices, pickles, jam, coconut milk and chutneys. Sweeteners such as chocolate liquor which is produced from alcohol is haram. Desserts made with gelatin as well as fat and oils such as lard and animal shortening are haram. Beverages such as liquor, alcohol, wine and beer as well as vanilla extracts, candies and chocolates made with alcohol are haram.

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