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Symbol: Halal Halal   Symbol: Not Halal Not Halal   Symbol: Mushbooh or Unknown Mushbooh or Unknown   Symbol: Halal if no alcohol is used in flavor Halal if no alcohol is used in flavor   Symbol: MCG Certified Halal  MCG Certified Halal

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• Alcohol
• Annatto
• Brewer's Yeast
• Butter
• Carmine Red color
• Carrageenan
• Cheeses and their Halal Status
• Chocolate Liquor
• Colored Cherries
• Confectionary Glaze
• Cultured Lipolyzed Cream
• Denatured Alcohol (Not as Synthetic Alcohol)
• Encapsulated Ingredients
• Fermented Milk Products
• Food Color
• Gelatin
• Glycerin
• Halal Soy Sauce
• Haram Soy Sauce
• Isomalt
• Kosher Gelatin
• Lactose
• L-Cysteine
• Lipolyzed Butter Fat
• Mono & Diglycerides
• Natural and Artificial Flavor
• Nucleotides
• Processing Aid or Hidden Ingredients
• Shellac
• Synthetic Alcohol
• Tartaric Acid
• Torula Yeast
• Turmeric in Processed Food Products
• Vanilla
• Vanilla Extract
• Vanilla Products
• Vanilla without Alcohol
• Vanillin
• Vinegar
• Vitamins in Fortified Milk
• Whey and Its Halal Status
• Yeast Extract


Alcohol (also known as Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol) is a food but requires no digestion. Like other drugs, it acts on many organs in the body but has no cellular receptors. It is stable in the atmosphere to any chemical change, where as all other foods will undergo some kind of decomposition. It is the only food produced solely by microbial action beside the synthetic alcohol. Alcohol and water mix in every solution, including blood. Once alcohol enters the body, it is easily penetrated into the brain and it will provide a sequential depressant action on the central nervous system. We know this fact from our Holy Book, the Quran, where Allah says: O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when you are in a state of intoxication until you know what you utter (4:43). Use of alcohol in a food product is prohibited.

Ethanol or alcohol has the quality of making a person drunk. If alcohol is distilled out from wine or beer, a flavored solution is left behind. That solution does not have the same quality as alcohol resulting in the sequential depressant action on the central nervous system. Date juice is allowed to drink before it is fermented as reported in Sahee Bukhari. Thus the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in Islam is due to the presence of alcohol in those beverages. Many Muslim scientists wrote about alcohol in many books and magazines. They all agreed that alcohol is Haram without even mentioning the sources.. Alcohol is produced through alcoholic fermentation of material containing sugar or starch. Starch first has to breakdown into sugar and sugar is then fermented by yeast which converts it into ethyl alcohol or ethanol and carbon dioxide (CO2). Molasses from sugar cane, beet sugar, wood sugar (sulphite lye), fruits, berries are the raw material used to produce alcohol. Starchy products such as cereal, rice, corn and potato are also used as a raw material to produce alcohol. Alcohol obtained from fermentation is subject to separation, concentration and distillation. The chemical name of alcohol is ethanol and C2H5OH is the chemical formula. So alcohol obtained from above sources has the same chemical formula and has the same quality of providing a sequential depressant action on the central nervous system. There is no chemical and physical difference between alcohols obtained from grape or corn. So the statement that alcohol is Haram only from grape and dates does not hold up scientifically.


Annatto provides a yellowish to reddish-orange color when it is added to a food product. The source of annatto color is the seed coating of the tree Bixa orellanna. The carotenoid in annatto is called bixin. It is soluble in fats and oil. The water soluble annatto is norbixin. It is readily soluble in aqueous alkalis. In US food industry annatto is extracted by (a) Alkaline extract and used in cheese, (b) Bixin/Norbixin is extracted with methane and then precipitated by a acid for use in butter and the third one is oil wash.

Ethyl alcohol is not used in extraction of annatto color, so annatto extract is a Halal ingredient.

Brewer Yeast:

Brewer yeast is used in beer making. After beer making it is separated from beer, washed, dried and used in food products. MCG does not consider it Halal because alcohol or beer during beer making penetrate inside the brewer yeast cells and will not convert into a new thing.


The salted butter is made with cream mechanically separated from cow's milk and salt. So all salted butter from any brand is Halal regardless of Halal or kosher symbol.

Ingredients of Unsalted Butter:

The ingredients of unsalted butter is pasteurized sweet cream and natural flavoring or pasteurized sweet cream and lactic acid. Unsalted butter is Halal only if it is made with pasteurized sweet cream and lactic acid. But some time dairy companies add lactic acid and termed it as natural flavoring. It is better to call companies to confirm it. The natural flavoring is also made from Star Distillate. Starter Distillate in many unsalted butter brands contains Diacetyl. As we reported in our Ingredients section about Starter Distillate as "Besides diacetyl, starter distillate also contains minor amounts of acetaldehyde, ethyl formate, ethyl acetate, acetone, ethyl alcohol, 2-butanone, acetic acid and acetone. Since this minor amount of ethyl alcohol Starter Distillate is consider not Halal. If the dairy companies guarantee that their Starter Distillate do not contain minor amount of alcohol then it can be used. But our advice is to always use salted butter or if you see Pasteurized Sweet Cream and Lactic Acid under ingredients statement of Unsalted Butter then you can use the unsalted butter for example Horizon's Organic Unsalted Butter.


Carmine or  Cochineal is a natural red color made from red female beetles in South America. All insects except locust are Haram under Hanafi fiqah.


Carrageenan is a mushbooh gum obtained from seaweeds but during its production it is crystallized either by Ethyl Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol or Potassium Chloride (KCl) or nothing. If Potassium Chloride (KCL) or nothing is used during the processing of Carrageenan then it will be Halal. But if Ethyl Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol was use to crystallized the Carrageenan then this Carrageenan will become NOT HALAL ingredient. Only the manufacturer of Carrageenan know what they use to crystallized Carrageenan during its processing.

So ask manufacturer of food product who used Carrageenan to find out from their Carrageenan supplier whether Ethyl Alcohol was used during the processing of Carrageenan.


The following things have to be Halal in order for a cheese to be considered Halal: 1. Ingredients used to make the Mother Starter Culture growth Media ((if whey used, it has to be made from non animal rennet, Lactose is also from non animal rennet, yeast extract has to be from baker’s yeast, starter culture growth media has to be kosher certified). 2. Ingredients used to make the Bulk Starter Culture growth Media ((if whey used, it has to be made from non animal rennet, Lactose is also from non animal rennet, yeast extract has to be from baker’s yeast, bulk starter culture media has to be kosher certified). 3. Starter Bacterial culture are Halal if they obtained from milk source and not from meat source, usually in practice they obtained from milk. 4. Milk Coagulating Enzyme, such as Microbial rennet used to coagulate milk or Rennet obtained from Zabiha slaughtered calves (not available in USA and Canada) and has to be kosher certified 5. Fat Hydrolyzing Enzyme, such as Microbial Lipases has to be kosher certified 6. Dairy ingredients such as Non Fat dry milk solid or cream or dry milk or whey protein concentrate if added has to be kosher certified 7. Artificial color such as artificial blue or green color is added to neutralize natural yellow color in curd for Asiago or Blue cheese has to be kosher certified 8. Media to grow mold Penicillium roquefortti providing blue color in blue cheese has to kosher certified 9. Harmless plant based enzyme is if added for curing or flavor development and growth media for biological curing agent used on the surface of Brick cheese has to be kosher certified 10. Flavoring, hydrolyzed lactose, whey for cold packed cheese food is allowed in cream cheese but most manufacturer use gums. 11. Cheese must be Kosher certified and the kosher certification must meet the Halal requirements with exception cheese used on pizza, in that case cheese does not have to be kosher certified but if they used kosher certified starter culture bacteria, media and enzyme then meet above requirements then it is consider Halal. Cheese if Halal certified by other Halal certifying organizations must meet above criteria and if above criteria used for Halal certification then it must display on their websites otherwise MCG will not consider their Halal certified cheese as Halal.

Chocolate Liquor:

Chocolate Liquor is manufactured from grinding the cocoa nibs from cocoa bean. It is a Halal ingredient and does not contain any liquor or alcohol.

Colored Cherries:

The cherries are artificially colored and also it is colored with carmine (carmine color is obtained from insects/beetles and this color is not considered Halal). If the cherries are colored with artificial FD&C then there is a chance FD&C might contain pork glycerin as a solvent. So colored cherries have to be Halal or Kosher certified. Colored cherries are added in fruit cocktails. If the fruit cocktail can does not have a Halal or Kosher symbol, then the fruit cocktail containing colored cherries is not Halal. So always look for Halal or Kosher symbol in a product containing colored cherries.

Confectionery Glaze:

Confectionary Glaze or Resinous Glaze is made from Shellac (Shellac is a insect secretion) which is dissolved in alcohol, and then alcohol is evaporated and glazed on the surface of food products. It is also part of sprinkles on top of bakery products and ice cream. MCG does not consider it as a Halal ingredient because of alcohol.

Cultured Lipolyzed Cream:

Cultured lipolyzed Cream is considered Halal if the culture media, which is used to grow cultures is made from Halal ingredients. The use of microbial Lipase enzyme is the second requirement for cultured lipolyzed cream to be considered Halal. Cultures has to be from milk to be consider Halal. Cultured Lipolyzed Cream is made with use of cultures and Lipase enzyme.

Lipase enzyme is used to split milk fat into free fatty acids eventually leading to methyl ketones, lactones and other volatile compounds for flavor.

Denatured Alcohols (Not same as Synthetic Alcohol):

Synthetic ethyl alcohol and denatured ethyl alcohol are not the same thing. Denatured ethyl alcohol can be made from synthetic alcohol and also from ethyl alcohol produced through fermentation method. Denaturation of alcohol is the act of rendering ethyl alcohol unfit for beverage use by addition of substances known as denaturants. To prevent the ethyl alcohol in a cosmetic from being diverted illegally for use as an alcoholic beverage, it may be "denatured." This means that it contains an added "denaturant" that makes it undrinkable. The regulatory requirements pertaining to denaturation operation and manufacture are contained in 27 CFR Part 19, Subpart N. The substances, formulas to make the denatured alcohols is regulated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm of the U.S. Treasury Department (ATF).

There are two type of denatured alcohol

1.      Specially Denatured Alcohol (SDA)

2.      Completely Denatured Alcohol (CDA)

The quantity and character of the denaturants specified are carefully chosen so as not to interfere with specific legitimate industry use that each formula authorizes. All transactions in SDA are carefully regulated. For example: introducing Benzene during the distillation process drives out the water contained in ethanol creating a very pure and potent fuel source - denatured alcohol.

Completely Denatured Alcohol:

The ethyl alcohol is so thoroughly denatured that the product is utterly unfit for beverage use and denaturants used are very nearly inseparable from ethyl alcohol. The use of Completely Denatured Alcohol is authorized without permit because pure ethyl alcohol cannot be extracted and diverted to beverage use.

Denatured alcohols lose their quality of intoxicant due to addition of chemicals to ethyl alcohol, so the cosmetic and personal care products containing denatured alcohols can be permitted if all other ingredients in those products are Halal.

Encapsulated Ingredients:

Pharmaceutical industry is using encapsulation of bitter antibiotic medicine since long time. The use of encapsulation of food ingredients is on the rise in the food industry. The use of encapsulation in food industry is to protect the ingredient for controlling the delivery of maximum flavor in the finished product, physical appearance of the product such as baked product where loss of height of cinnamon or raisin bread due to adverse effect of the cinnamon and acid leaching from raisin on yeast activity. The loss of flavor intensity due to heat of the processing and much other processing issue. Beside encapsulation, there other new process of protecting the ingredients during processing is on rise such as micro fluidization is a unique technique of combining high pressure homogenization and heat denaturization, Liposomes which is a lipid (fat) cavity, Coacervation where two liquids mixed together through colloid, milk fat coated microcapsule, use of matrix material for coating, lecithin vesicles, timely release capsules, fluid bed, spray drying and use of modified food starch for coating and many more techniques.

The material used for capsulation is gelatin, gum Arabic, cellulose gum and other colloidal material, modified food starch.


There are distinct fermented milk around different part of the world based on the taste of the users. Lactic acid is present in all fermented milk products. Kefir and Koumiss milks are additionally transformed by lactose- fermenting yeast which produces ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. If Kefir milk stopped before it transformed to alcohol and Co2 then it will be suitable for Muslims but he production of ethyl alcohol in finished Kefir and Koumiss makes these milk fermented products as Not Halal. Here are the type of fermented milk products and nature of fermentation:

Type                                           Nature of Fermentation

Kefir                                            Acid and Alcohol

Koumiss                                      Acid and Alcohol

Yogurt                                         Medium Acid Cultured 

Buttermilk                                    Low Acid

Cultured Cream                          Low Acid

Leben & Dahi                              Medium Acid

Cheese                                       Acid, Diacetyle, Propionic Acid & CO2

Pickles from cucumber and sauerkraut from cabbage are made by salting (brining). No alcohol is produced during the processing of these products. However, when flavors are added, those flavors may or may not contain alcohol as a carrier.

Food Color:

Food colorants which act as food additives are either Natural or synthetic derived. FDA categories the colorants in use as GRAS (Generally Recognized AS Safe).

Natural Colorants



Beet root juice and betanin

Beta-carotene (Halal only if Fish gelatin or Zabiha gelatin or Vegetable oil is used as a carrier)



Cochineal and carminic acid (They are not considered as Halal because all insects are Haram according to Hanifa madhab)

Paprika powder and paprika oleoresin

Turmeric and turmeric oleoresin

They are Halal only if used in pure powder or granules forms. They are not Halal if they are extracted with ethyl alcohol. Please call the manufacturer to confirm that no alcohol is used as an extracting solvent.


Synthetic Colorants are FD&C (Food and Cosmetic) Dyes and Aluminum Lakes which are available in powder, granular and liquid forms.

A dye is a pure chemical which exhibits coloring power when it dissolved in only water because it will not mix with oil. So pure dye color as a powder or granule or dissolved only in water is Halal.

A Lake pigment is an insoluble chemical which colors by dispersion.

All the synthetic colorants are certified by FDA and FDA allows only the following solvents for dispersion and carrying agents:

Glycerin (Haram, if it is from pork fat)

Propylene Glycol (Halal)

Dextrose (Halal)

Sucrose (Halal)

Vegetable Oil (Halal)

Water (Halal)

The above solvents and carrier are used only in liquid synthetic colors because dry synthetic colors cannot be use in a liquid food. These solvents do not appear on the ingredients list because they consider as processing aid ingredient or hidden ingredient.


There are three ways to find the Halal status of synthetic color such as yellow no. 5 in a food product.

The manufacturer of the food products containing synthetic colors are only one who know in what form the synthetic colors are added to a food product. We do not recommend this approach if the said food product is not under Halal/Kosher certification because the manufacturer can change the form of color from powder to liquid.

If the product is Halal or kosher certified with Halal or kosher symbol on the food product package containing synthetic colors. This Halal or kosher symbol indicates only Halal carriers are used in a liquid color which is added to a food product.

If a kosher symbol such as U or UD, Circler K, Triangle K, CRC, COR, V, kuf K appears on the food product containing FD&C Yellow No. 5 or FD &C Red NO. 40 or any synthetic color. This kosher symbol on the package indicates no pork glycerin was used as carrier in the synthetic colors.


Only fish gelatin is Halal. Gelatin in USA and Canada is not Halal but if it obtained from pork then it will be Haram. Gelatin is also made from Non Zabiha beef which is considered as not Halal by many Islamic Scholars. There is no gelatin from zabiha Halal beef in USA and Canada. Fish Gelatin has to be mentioned under ingredients statement. The ingredient gelatin means either Haram if obtained from pig or Not Halal if obtained from non zabiha beef. Please do not consume any food products or vitamins with gelatin unless it says fish gelatin or made from fish gelatin.


Glycerin is a fat based ingredients used in foods and non food products. Since it is a fat based ingredient so it is either obtained from animal fat such as pork or beef or it is obtained from vegetable fat. Only vegetable fat based Glycerin is Halal or it is Halal if there is a Kosher symbol on the food package containing glycerin which means glycerin the food is obtained from vegetable fat.

Halal Soy Sauce:

All purpose soy sauce or non naturally brewed soy sauce is a Halal soy sauce made from water, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, corn syrup and sodium benzoate. La Choy All Purpose Soy sauce is a Halal Soy Sauce.

Haram Soy Sauce:

The Naturally Brewed Soy is the Haram soy sauce. It is made just like wine containing 2-3% alcohol. The ingredients list contains Wheat, Soy and other ingredients. Food companies do not mention Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce under the ingredients statement. They just mention soy sauce but within parenthesis they write Wheat and Soy. This is the only way to find a Haram Soy Sauce.


Isomalt is a sugar replacer used in both foods and pharmaceutical products. It is also provide low calorie. It is manufactured by Palatinit Mannheim, Germany. It is made with beet sugar without the use of bone char. The sucrose from beet sugar (saccharose) is enzymatically transformed into isomaltulose. The isomaltulose is then hydrogenated to produce ISOMALT. This product is Halal certified by Islamisches Zentrum Aachen. No alcohol or pork by products are used in its manufacturing process.

Kosher Gelatin:

Kosher gelatin is not Halal because it is made either from pork or non zabiha beef and therefore kosher gelatin from pork is Haram. Kosher gelatin is also obtained from kosher certified beef but it is not Halal because the Sachet a Rabbi who slaughter animals pronounce Allah's name on the first animal and last and no in between. Some liberal Rabbis is also consider pig gelatin as kosher with  kosher symbol K appears on yogurts containing kosher gelatin and Jell-O Gelatin because they think the original pig collagen changed during gelatin processing.


Lactose is a milk sugar. It is a disaccharide carbohydrate that is a part of milk. It functions as a flow agent, humectants, crystallization control agent and sweetener.

It is commercially obtained from rennet whey and its Halal requirements are the same as rennet whey. Lactose is also used in medicine.

MCG considers Lactose Halal only if it is Halal or Kosher certified.


L-Cysteine is an essential amino acid and it is used as a dough conditioner in bagels, pizza, bread, and hard rolls. If L-Cysteine is manufactured from human hair then it will be Haram. If it is obtained from non zabiha or dead chicken/duck feathers then it will not be Halal according to MCG's criteria. Halal L-Cysteine is made from synthetic sources and Halal fermented processes. MCG consider L-Cysteine Halal only if it obtained synthetically or through non alcoholic fermentation.

Lipolyzed Butter Fat:

The use of microbial Lipase enzyme is used in lipolyzed butter fat. Lipolyzed butterfat is made by use of Lipase enzyme to break butter fat to provide flavor. Only use of Salted butter and microbial Lipase enzyme from Halal source in Lipolyzed Butter Fat are consider Halal.

Mono and Diglycerides:

Mono and Diglycerides are fat based emulsifier and are made by reacting glycerol (fat based) with fats and oils. Mono and diglycerides can be made from beef, pork, or soybean fat. Only soybean or zabiha slaughtered cow fat based Mono and Diglyceries are Halal. A Halal or Kosher symbol (which meet the Islamic dietary requirements) on a food package containing Mono and Diglycerides indicates that it is obtained from soybean fat. In the absence of Halal or Kosher symbol on the package Muslim consumers should contact the manufacturer to find out the source of Mono & Diglycerides.

Natural or Artificial Flavor:

In order for a natural or artificial flavor to be Halal, it has to be made from Halal flavoring material and a Halal solvent such as vegetable oil or propylene glycol. If ethyl alcohol is used as a solvent then MCG will not consider it as Halal according to the MCG Islamic scholars. If a Kosher symbol (which meets the Islamic dietary requirements) appears on a food package containing natural or artificial flavor, this indicates that it is manufactured from Halal flavoring material but ethyl alcohol may or may not be used as a solvent. It requires further investigation from food manufacturer to confirm that no alcohol is used as a solvent. Only food manufacturers know whether alcohol is used as a solvent or not in natural or artificial flavor.


Nucleotides (building block of nucleic acid) are obtained from Torula yeast cells grown on alcohol, used in Infant baby formulas to help babies build a good immune, digestive system and decrease incidents of diarrhea. MCG does not consider it as Halal ingredient.

Processing Aid or Hidden Ingredients in a food product or in a food ingredient:

FDA will allow up to 2% of processing aid ingredients or hidden ingredients in a food product or in a food ingredient without reporting them in the ingredients statement. Only Halal or Kosher symbol on food products  or food ingredients protect Muslim consumers from adding Haram processing aid ingredients or hidden ingredients in food products or ingredients by food manufacturers. Example of Hidden ingredient is use of pork gelatin during apple juice processing if the apple juice bottle do not have a kosher symbol on it then that apple juice could be made with pork gelatin.


Shellac is a insect resin secretion by female lace bugs (Kerrie lace on the trees in India and Thailand. It is available  in dry flake form. It is dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac. The Shellac in its dry flake form is Halal but not in its liquid for. The liquid shellac is used as glazes such as confectionary glaze on food products and pharmaceutical glazes on medicine. 

Shellac is made by scrapping from the bark of the trees where the female lace bug (Kerrie lace) deposits its secretion in the form cocoons like tunnels. The raw shellac is made of bark shavings and lace bugs removed during scraping and it is place in in canvas tubes and heated over a fire. This causes the shellac to liquefy, and it seeps out of the canvas, leaving the bark and bugs behind. Then this hick, sticky shellac is dried into a flat sheet and broken into flakes and bagged. So the dry shellac flakes do not contain any part of insects. Shellac is Halal only if no alcohol is used in it.

Synthetic Alcohol:

Many Islamic Scholars define synthetic alcohol as a alcohol made from other than grapes or dates sources. But scientifically it is not true. Synthetic alcohol is  made from gases. It is not made from fermentation of sugar. It has wide application in the process industries as solvent, in the production of cosmetics and intermediates in the manufacture of other chemicals. It is produced by ethylene (gas) dehydration and also produced by petroleum sources. It has the same chemical formula C2H5OH and has the same quality of providing a sequential depressant action on the central nervous system. Synthetic alcohol is not different scientifically from alcohol obtained from fermentation method. Regulatory status of synthetic alcohol and alcohol produced through fermentation (Sec.5100 alcohol; use of synthetic alcohol in foods Compliance Policy Guide CPG 7120.10 revised 2/1/1989) Practically and scientifically, pure ethyl alcohol synthesized from natural gas or petroleum products does not differ from that obtained by fermentation with subsequent distillation.

According to FDA synthetic alcohol may be used as a food ingredient or in the manufacturing of vinegar or other chemicals for food use, within limitations imposed by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Alcohol Administration Act and regulations promulgated under these acts. Any labeling reference to synthetic alcohol as Grain Alcohol or Neutral Grain Spirits, is considered false and misleading. This is another fact that there is no difference between synthetic alcohol and alcohol obtained through fermentation.

Tartaric Acid and Cream of Tartar:

Tartaric Acid is an acidulant that occurs naturally in grapes. It is used in grape and lime flavored beverages and grape flavored jellies. It is used as an acidulant in baking powder. Cream of Tatar is the acid potassium salt of Tartaric acid. It is used as a chemical leavening to release carbon dioxide, which produces loaf volume in bake products.

Tartaric acid and Cream of Tartar in USA is made from unfermented crushed grapes according to Tartaric Acid manufacturer. So both are Halal since it is made from unfermented crushed grape. But in other countries like South Africa the tartaric acid is made from the deposits left over on wooden barrels after wine making. These deposits are washed before making the tartaric acid. In that case Halal status of Tartaric acid is questionable.

Torula Yeast:

Torula Yeast has the capacity to utilize pentose sugars. It is not used in making bread,  beer or wine. It is grown on refined sugar feed stocks such as cane sugar, corn syrup, glucose, or alcohol. Torula yeast is grown on alcohol in USA to manufacture Nucleotides for infant formula and this is the reason Nucleotide is not a Halal ingredient. In other countries if it is grown on cane sugar, corn syrup, or glucose then it will considered Halal. Torula yeast grown on alcohol is also used in other food products then it is not considered Halal by MCG according to its criteria. It is a mushbooh ingredient.

Turmeric in Processed Food Products:

Turmeric used in processed food products are not available in its 100%. Emulsifier such as Polysorbate 60 or 80 are added as a processing aid or hidden ingredient to help distribute turmeric in dry or liquid food system. Polysorbate 60 or 80 is a fat based emulsifier and it is Halal only if it is made from vegetable fat. A Halal or Kosher symbol on the package containing turmeric indicates that vegetable fat based Polysorbate 60 or 80 was used in turmeric as a processing aid or hidden ingredient.


Vanilla is the most world prized flavor. It is obtained from the beans of a tropical vine of genus vanilla. The beans at harvest do not have the characteristic vanilla fragrance but requires curing processes to obtain the vanilla fragrance.

All curing methods involve four basic phases:

Wilting or killing of the beans that stops the natural respiratory metabolism and vegetative life of the pod.

Sweating the wilted beans which involves a fairly rapid dehydration and slow fermentation. The characteristic flavor compounds develops here during which sugars, phenols, vanillin compound are developed by enzymatic and non-enzymatic reaction.

Drying of sweated beans at very slowly at a lower temperature to 20-25% moisture.

Conditioning of the dried beans in closed boxes for a few months where they finish the development of their characteristic fragrance.

Vanilla Standards: Vanilla extract is the only flavoring material with a US FDA standard of identity. It is included in the code of Federal Regulation (21CFR-169).

When word vanilla flavor or vanilla appears under the ingredients list of any food product, it means that ethyl alcohol is used to extract natural vanillin (vanilla flavor or vanilla) from vanilla beans. It is not consider as Halal because it was extracted with alcohol and alcohol remained in the vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Extract:

Vanilla Extract is a liquid solution containing natural vanillin which is obtained from vanilla beans by use of alcohol and water solvent. FDA both in USA and Canada requires that vanilla extract solution must contain a minimum of 35% ethyl alcohol otherwise it will not called as Vanilla Extract.

Vanilla Extract is a Haram ingredient according MCG's Halal standard or Criteria.


1. Vanilla Beans: Vanilla beans are identified as the properly cured and dried fruit-pods of Vanilla planifolia in vanilla standard 21-CFR-169.3. Vanilla Extracts and 2. Vanilla Powders: The reminder of the standard is involved with describing in general terms how the extract is made and what other ingredients can be used. It also defines other products related to pure vanilla extract (what constitutes them and how they can be labeled).

3. Vanilla extract (extracted with alcohol contains minimum of 35% alcohol).

4. Vanilla flavoring or vanilla or natural vanilla flavor or natural flavor(extracted with alcohol)

5. Concentrated vanilla flavoring or oleoresin vanilla(extracted with alcohol)

6. Vanilla powder (vanilla flavor is first extracted with alcohol then alcohol is evaporated to make vanilla powder and it is not consider as Halal by MCG)

Vanilla Bean Specks (vanilla bean specks are made mostly from vanilla bean seeds which are obtained after alcohol extraction of vanilla beans for vanilla flavors. The seeds leftover after alcohol extraction are dried and grind to make vanilla bean specks. This is called exhausted Vanilla bean specks in the food industry. Vanilla beans specks without alcohol extraction are very expensive, so many ice cream manufacturers use exhausted types of vanilla bean specks. Our Islamic Scholars consider exhausted vanilla bean specks as not Halal because it is obtained after alcohol extraction. Alcohol is used on vanilla beans to get vanilla flavor and it contaminates the Halal vanilla bean seeds)

Vanilla beans (vanilla beans mentioned under ingredients statement are vanilla beans left over after vanilla flavor is made through alcohol extraction. MCG do not consider them as Halal because use of alcohol).

Vanilla beans in spice isle of any supermarket is pure Vanilla beans (21CFR-169.3) available for food manufacturers for processed foods and common consumers for home bake products (McCormick brand of pure vanilla beans are available in supermarkets and it is Halal). This 100% pure vanilla beans available in supermarkets are Halal because they are not treated with alcohol.

Vanilla Powder: This is a standard vanilla product (21CFR-169.179). Vanilla powder is a mixture of vanilla oleoresin or both with one or more of the following optional blending ingredients (a) Sugars, (b) dextrose, (c) Lactose, (d) Food Starch, (e) dried corn syrup, (f) Gum acacia. Vanilla powder is not Halal because the alcohol is evaporated to make vanilla powder

Vanilla Sugar: Vanilla sugar is different from vanilla powder with sugar. Vanilla Sugar is made with sugar and vanilla extract and considered as Haram ingredient because of alcohol.


Modern methods of extraction are used in obtaining vanilla flavor such as supercritical carbon dioxide extraction and reverse osmosis for concentration. These methods produce useful products for industrial flavoring but they either fail to fit the regulatory requirements (alcohol extraction) for standard products, they are very expensive. These specialized products differ in solubility, flavor profile, and appearance but add to the list of natural vanilla flavoring available to food and beverages manufacturers. Mostly available in Europe.


A flavorant made from synthetic or artificial vanilla which can be derived from lignin of whey sulfite liquors (not Haram) and is synthetically processed from guaiacol and eugenol. The   related product, ethyl vanillin, has 3.5 times the flavoring powder of vanillin.

Vanillin and ethyl vanillin are both Halal artificial vanilla flavors.


Vinegar has been known for centuries. It is simply a dilute solution of water and acetic acid that contains coloring and flavoring agents in very small quantities from source of raw material. A typical distilled vinegar contains 95% of water and rest is acetic acid , minor constituents.

It is made by two successive microbial processes:

First is being an alcoholic fermentation effected by yeasts and the

Second is an oxidation of alcohol by Acetobacter, a genus of aerobic bacteria.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation states that the unmodified name vinegar apply only to the product derived from apples and that this product contain not less than 4 g of acetic acid in 100 ml of vinegar.

Vinegar also contains small quantities of ash, sugars, phosphoric acid, alcohol, and glycerol.

Vinegar is made by two process:

1. The packed generator; and

2. Submerged fermentation system.

Air is used in both process.


The fermentation of sugar into alcohol (ethanol) and which comprises the first step in manufacturing of vinegar using the yeast Saccharomyces sp, which proceeds as follow: C6H12O6 -------> 2C2H5OH + 2CO2 (sugar source) (Ethyl Alcohol) (Carbon Dioxide)

The second fermentation step requires the microorganism acetobacter (Bacterium aceti) and oxygen as indicated below: 2C2H5OH + 2O2 ---------> 2CH3COOH + 2H2O (Ethyl Alcohol) (Oxygen) (Acetic Acid) (Water)

FYI: Malt vinegar is used extensively in Britain, and wine vinegar in continental Europe. Distilled white vinegar and cider vinegar is preferred in USA and Canada.

Types of Vinegar:

There are six type vinegar is used throughout the world.

1. Distilled White or Grain or Spirit Vinegar: It is produced from the natural fermentation of dilute alcohol to vinegar. The vinegar is filtered and contains Natural mellow aroma. It is a Halal vinegar.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar: It is produced from unprocessed apple juice and vinegar retains its natural amber color and fruity flavor.

3. Wine Vinegar: Wine vinegar is produced from Burgundy wine and other wines. It retains a ruby color and wine like flavor. It is used in Oil-Vinegar Dressing and gourmet cooking and condiments.

4. Corn (Maize) sugar Vinegar: This type of vinegar is produced from corn sugar. Sugar is first converted to alcohol then alcohol is converted to acetic acid and water. It is also a amber color vinegar.

5. Malt Vinegar: Malt vinegar is produced from the fermentation of malt to alcohol and then it is converted to vinegar.

6. Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar is produced in Modena Italy from white and sugary Trebbiano grapes with special labor intensive method to special flavor and aroma It is a aged vinegar and there is possibility of left over wine in this vinegar. MCG do not consider it as Halal vinegar.

All above vinegar are consider Halal except wine vinegar and Balsamic vinegar by MCG

Halal Status of wine vinegar:

There is a different of opinion among Hanafi and Shafi fiqah schools regarding wine vinegar. Scientifically 100% alcohol in the wine cannot be converted to acetic acid and water. Left over alcohol in wine vinegar means it is wine itself. MCG considers wine vinegar is not a Halal vinegar.

MCG consulted  to a famous vinegar  manufacturer regarding amount of alcohol left in any vinegar  except wine vinegar  and balsamic vinegar. The manufacturer told MCG that  the alcohol content of 0.5% or less always present in any vinegar.

Vitamins in Fortified Milk:

Milk from buffalo, camel, cow and goat is Halal by itself however milk in the US and Canada from cows and goats must be fortified with vitamins A and D by law. California is the only state where milk can be sold without vitamin fortification.

Milk from buffalo, camel, cow and goat is Halal by itself however milk in the US and Canada from cows and goats must be fortified with vitamins A and D by law. California is the only state where milk can be sold without vitamin fortification.

What are the source of Vitamins A and D:

Vitamin A for milk fortification is produced commercially by reacting calcium carbonate with water and then esterifies with palmitic acid (source can be from a plant or an animal or a synthetic).

Vitamin D3 is produced from sheep's wool lanolin (Halal).

Presence of an emulsifier in Vitamin Mixes: A fat based emulsifier Polysorbate 80 is added to the vitamin mix for milk fortification s as a processing aid ingredient to help vitamins to be mix and distributed evenly with milk so that it is satisfy the law requirement of a specific amount of vitamins per quart of milk. This emulsifier is not mentioned on the ingredient declaration on the milk containers because it is considered a processing aid. This emulsifier should not be from pork fat. It has to be from plant fat such as soy bean.

Hidden or processing aid ingredients in vitamin mix for fortified milk which are not reported on milk bottle:

Polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier help in keeping to together the fat and water in milk.

Propylene Glycol is used to prevent freezing of vitamins mix.

Sodium Benzoate is used as a preservative for vitamins mix.

Vitamins mix used in fortifying the milk is kosher certified and Halal (MCG is used to Halal certify the vitamins mix for milk)

Every dairy in USA and Canada is used kosher certified and Halal vitamins mix for milk. So every brand of milk in USA and Canada is Halal.

Whey and its Halal Status:

Muslims think that if whey is a milk based ingredient then it has to be Halal, but this is not true. There are two kinds of whey, one is sweet or rennet whey and the other is acid whey. Acid whey is obtained during the making of acid type of cheese such as cottage cheese. Sweet or rennet whey is used more in food products then acid whey. Sweet whey or rennet whey is a by-product of rennet cheese  such as cheddar cheese or Mozzarella cheese. Whey is a portion of milk remaining after coagulation and removal of curd. Whey is Halal only if the Halal starter culture bacteria, Halal medium on which starter culture bacteria are grown (Starter culture bacteria are Halal if they are obtained from milk source not meat source), and media on which these starter culture bacteria are grown. These requirements can only obtained if the cheese and whey are Halal or Kosher certified (which meet the Islamic dietary requirements). A Halal or Kosher symbol (which meet the Islamic dietary requirements) appears on a food package containing whey indicating that it is manufactured under Halal or Kosher supervision.

Yeast Extract or Autolyzed Yeast:

If the yeast extract or autolyzed yeast is made from baker's yeast then it is a Halal ingredient. However if it is made from brewer's yeast, a by-product of beer making then it is not considered as Halal according to the MCG criteria because beer can penetrate in the yeast cells and never convert other things. Autolyzed Yeast Extract or Yeast Extract from beer is use mostly in cheese and crackers to provide bitterness. Autolyzed Yeast Extract from baker yeast is used in food products such as soups and other products to give a meaty taste without adding meat.