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Eating halal: When is a product "halal"?
What does "halal" mean?
"Halal" means something like "pure" or "allowed". So it is about which foods, things or actions are permissible and Islamic-compliant from an Islamic point of view.
"Halal" in the diet
Among non-Muslims, the term “halal” is mainly known in relation to food.
"Halal" is for example:
- the meat of herbivores (meat from chicken, beef or sheep - slaughtered according to certain regulations, so-called slaughtering)
- Fresh milk
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- vegetable oil
Whether a food falls into the "halal" category depends on various criteria, some of which are interpreted differently by Islamic legal scholars. There are also no lists of foods that are valid for all Muslims and that are expressly considered "halal".
What does "haram" mean?
In contrast to "halal", forbidden or prohibited foods are referred to as "haram".
"Haram" is typical
- Pork or products made with its components, such as onion tart with bacon, meatballs, etc.
- Gelatin made from raw pork materials as well as foods made with it such as yoghurts, cakes, gummy bears, etc.
- Alcohol and foods containing alcohol, for example ice cream and chocolates (in traces or possibly hidden as a carrier for flavors or colorings)
- foods containing blood, such as black pudding
Gelatin for clarifying fruit juice
If gelatine comes from slaughtered pigs, it is not "halal" according to Islamic regulations.
The clarification of fruit juice with the help of gelatine is therefore a problematic production process. Even if it does not remain in the product or only to a negligible extent.
The background is that the Islamic legal sources (Koran and Sunna) only set out the categories "halal" and "haram" as well as other dietary regulations, without a clear classification of the food.
No uniform labeling: What do “Halal” seals mean?
In the EU, the term "halal" is used under food law Not protected. For "Halal" products so far exist no uniform standardsthat are checked during certification. As a result, there are many different "Halal" seals on the market from traditional or manufacturer-oriented certifiers. It is seldom clear to consumers how these differ or what specific criteria are based. While some certifiers recognize meat as "halal" when short-term electric stunning or captive bolt guns have been used, others assume that the slaughtering process is free of anesthesia.
A "Halal" certification is also not based solely on the ingredients or a specific one Type of slaughter, but also checks compliance with "Halal" regulations in the production process. This includes cleaning and maintaining the systems with the appropriate means (without alcohol and impermissible fats). In terms of the ethics of the Koran, it is also important whether animals come from factory farming or suffered for a long time during slaughter. Meat from permitted animal species can be considered "haram" if the keeping, feeding and slaughter of the animals were not "halal" -compliant.
Shafts forbidden in Germany
The slaughtering (ritual slaughtering without stunning) of animals is in Germanyforbidden in principle - An exemption is only granted if certain conditions are met. "Halal" slaughter takes place almost exclusively in this country with anesthesia. Some Islamic legal scholars accept pre-slaughter stunning for animal welfare reasons. The import of meat from slaughtered animals is permitted; there are no EU-wide uniform regulations regarding slaughter. The meat of slaughtered animals does not have to be labeled accordingly.
Ask the manufacturer!
When advising consumer advice centers, questions are often asked that relate to the production or use of additives or ingredients such as alcohol or gelatine, for example:
- Is the emulsifier "mono- and diglycerides from fatty acids" suitable for Muslims?
- Which fruit juices are not clarified with pork gelatin?
- What additives (flavors, colors, etc.) are made with the help of alcohol?
In most cases one can only speculate here: emulsifiers, for example, are more likely to be made from vegetable fats because they are cheaper. Ultimately, only the manufacturer can provide more detailed information. In addition, the claim "vegan" can help, for example with fruit juices, chips, etc. Muslims prefer to buy their "halal" meat in ethnic supermarkets or at trusted regional butchers.
Mandatory minimum requirement for Halal labeling
A large number of seals with different expressiveness is confusing and not helpful when making a purchase decision.
For more reliability and transparency, it is essential that Islamic scholars set binding criteria for "Halal" certification and labeling in cooperation with manufacturers, retailers and legislators.
Halal shopping (German tone).
You can activate German, English, Arabic or Farsi subtitles via the YouTube settings. "
This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with the consumer advice center Schleswig-Holstein for the network of consumer advice centers in Germany.
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