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What is Halal?

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of Halal is Haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and Haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. However, we will use these terms only in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, food ingredients, and food contact materials.

While many things are clearly Halal or clearly Haram, there are some things which are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categorize them as Halal or Haram. Such items are often referred to as Mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.

The following products are definitely Halal:

  • Milk (from cows, sheep, camels, and goats)

  • Honey

  • Fish

  • Plants which are not intoxicant

  • Fresh or naturally frozen vegetables

  • Fresh or dried fruits

  • Legumes & nuts like peanuts, cashew nuts, hazel nuts, walnuts, etc

  • Grains such as wheat, rice, rye, barley, oat, etc.

Basically, all food is Halal except for the following:

  • Meat from swine - pork, ham

  • Pork-based products and by-products - sausages, gelatin etc

  • Animals improperly slaughtered, or already dead before slaughtering  

  • Animals killed in the name of anyone other than Allah  

  • ntoxicants

  • Blood and blood by-products

  • Foods contaminated with any of the above products

  • Most of the desserts use non Halal Gelatin that comes from pigs.

About other animals such as cows, goats, deer, chickens, ducks, game birds, etc., are only Halal if they are slaughtered according to Islamic Law, called Zabihah in Arabic. 


The following ingredients should be avoided by all Muslims:

1)      Alcohol

2)      Animal Shortening*

3)      Animal Fat*

4)      Bacon

5)      Broth* (from animal)

6)      Enzymes*: Microbial Enzymes are okay

7)      Ethanol

8)      Ethyl alcohol

9)      Gelatin*

10)  Gin

11)  Ham

12)  L-cysteine (if from human hair)

13)  Lard

14)  Lipase*: Only animal lipase should be avoided

15)  Pepsin

16)  Rennet*: All forms should avoided except for plant/microbial/synthetic

17)  Rum

18)  Stock* (from animals)

19)  Wine

20)  Tallow*

21)  Vanilla Extract/Flavour

22)  Whey : should be avoided unless the rennet used in its production is plant/microbial/synthetic

  • May be consumed if from Halal, Slaughter animals

Key points in Halal Production

For a product to be Halal it must be:

  • Free of, and not containing any substance or ingredient taken or extracted from a Haram animal or ingredient. All the raw material and ingredients used must be Halal.
  • From naturally Halal animals, such as cattle, goat, sheep, etc. and slaughtered according to Islamic rites.
  • Made, processed, produced, manufactured and/or stored by using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that has been cleansed according to Islamic law.
  • Free of contamination and must not come into contact with Haram substances during preparation, production, manufacture processing and/or storage. Halal ingredients must not be mixed with objectionable ingredients.

Any group of foods cheese, meat etc., may be combined with others and consumed, as long as no prohibited foods are included