Vanilla Extract – Halal or Haram? This is fast becoming a common question being asked by todays practising Muslim youth. So we thought lets break this down so that one can understand this.

This ingredient is found in many chocolates and sweets across the supermarkets around the World so this would apply to many.

VANILLA PRODUCTS:
  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 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).
  2. Vanilla extract (extracted with alcohol).
  3. Vanilla flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  4. Concentrated vanilla flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  5. Vanilla powder (no alcohol is used)
  6. Vanilla-Vanillin extract (extracted with alcohol)
  7. Vanilla-Vanillin flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  8. Vanilla-Vanillin powder (Vanillin may be obtained with or without alcohol)
The more significant statement in the standard, which should be noted, require that the finished extract have no less than 35% ethyl alcohol and contains no less than one unit of vanilla bean per gallon. There is no animal derived ingredients are used in the above products.
VANILLA WITHOUT ALCOHOL:
  1. New Methods of Extractions: Modern methods of extraction are used 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, but they are 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.
  2. Vanilla beans: Pure Vanilla beans (21CFR-169.3) are available for both food manufacturers for processed foods and common consumers for home bake products (McCormik brand of pure vanilla beans are available in supermarkets).
  3. Vanilla Flavor: A vanilla flavor may be in fact being non-alcoholic but it has to be outside of standard of identity.
  4. Vanilla Powder: This is a standard vanilla product (21CFR-169.179). Vanilla powder is a mixture of ground vanilla beans or 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 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.
  5. Vanilla-Vanillin Powder: This is the same, as vanilla powder but contains not more than one ounce of added vanillin. This is also a standard product (21CFR-169.182). But this product is Halal only if added vanillin is obtained from vanilla bean without alcohol.
Vanillin
Vanillin (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde) a pleasant smelling aromatic compound occurs naturally in vanilla bean and also obtained from as by-product of pulp and paper industry by the oxidative break down of lignin. It may also be prepared by synthesis.
LIGNIN VANILLIN VANILLA BEAN VANILLIN
(vanilla bean flavor component)
C8H8O3 Molecular weight: 152.16
HALAL STATUS OF VANILLIN:
Artificial or synthetic vanillin do not contain alcohol and it is also Halal or Kosher certified. It is a Halal ingredient.
Artificial or synthetic vanillin is made with all Halal ingredients and Halal process without alcohol. Lignin which used to make the artificial vanillin is plant products which is Halal by nature. Only methane is used as a solvent which is a Halal solvent.
HOW TO IDENTIFY HALAL VANILLA AND ARTIFICIAL VANILLIN IN A FOOD PRODUCT:
There are three steps, a Muslim can used to identify the Halal Vanilla and artificial vanillin in a food product.
Step Number 1: Read the ingredients list on the food package. If you find a vanilla extract under the ingredients statement, this means the vanilla is extracted with alcohol and alcohol containing vanilla extract is added to the products. Vanilla Extract is a Haram ingredient. Stop here, do not use the product.
Step Number 2: If the ingredient statement does not indicate the presence of vanilla extract but indicate the presence of vanilla flavor or Natural flavor or Natural and Artificial Flavor, look for kosher symbol, if you find kosher symbol, this indicates that no animal derived ingredients are used in vanilla flavor or Natural & Artificial flavor.
This does not mean the product is Halal. Use of alcohol in vanilla flavor or Natural and Artificial flavor has to be investigated.
Step Number 3: Contact the food manufacturer to find out whether alcohol is used as the carrier or solvent in the vanilla flavor or Natural and Artificial flavor, if not, then consume the product.
If alcohol is used as a solvent, then do not consume the product.
ICE CREAM PRODUCTS WITHOUT VANILLA OR FLAVORS:
Some Ice Cream manufacturer used rework ice cream products with flavors containing alcohol in an Ice Cream product, which do not have any flavor, or vanilla at all as indicated by the ingredient list. Good Humor Company is using this practice for their Breyer brand of Ice Cream. It is possible others do not use this practice.
The above information should help you determine wether Vanilla Extract – Halal or Haram? in your product!
ISLAMIC SCHOLARS’ VIEW ON THIS TOPIC:
Some Islamic Scholars considered a food product Not Halal if it is made with flavor containing alcohol as a solvent. But the others considered it Halal because they said the small or large quantity of the product does not intoxicate a person. Please consult your Local Imam on this topic.
So in conclusion is Vanilla Extract – Halal or Haram? well that will depend on how it will extracted
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Source: AlaHazrat