Essays by the halaal foundation pakistan

Food and Food Additives

If the ingredients of foods and beverages produced commercially are analyzed, they are found to be of two kinds:

  • Food

  • Food Additives


There are two main sources of human food (Though, there is a third non-traditional source called yeast, but it is not a big source of food):

  1. Plant Source
  2. Animal Source

Plant Sources:

Plant sources are as under:

  • Vegetables

  • Fruits

  • Pulses

  • Grains

  • Oil Crops


Root Vegetables

such as Potato, Carrot, Beetroot, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, etc.

Vegetables which Grow Above the Ground

such as cauliflower, pea, tomato, brinjal, pumpkin, bitter gourd, zucchini gourd, ladyfinger, pepper, cucumber, cabbage, spinach, etc.


Banana, apple, guava, pear, watermelon, musk melon, apricot, peach, mango, orange, tangerine, pomegranate, pineapple, plum, berry and black berry, etc.


Gram, green gram, lentil, soybeans, etc.


Wheat, corn, rice, millet, rye, etc.

Oil Crops

Olive, corn, sunflower, cottonseed, canola, coconut, sesame and soybean, etc. (From these crops cooking oil is extracted).

Shariah Ruling on Plant Sources:

All plants are Halaal except those which intoxicate or which are harmful to health.

Animal Sources:

Animal Sources are as under:

  1. Land Animals
  2. Birds
  3. Aquatic Animals

Land Animals

Animals are used for meat and milk. They are of two types:

(i) Domesticated such as cow, buffalo, camel, goat, sheep, etc.
(ii) Wild such as deer, stag, antelope, etc.


Birds are used for meat and eggs. They are of two types:

(i) Domesticated such as chicken, pigeon, quail, etc.
(ii) Wild such as swan, sparrow, partridge, quail, etc.

Aquatic Animals such as fish.

Shariah Ruling on Animal Sources:

  1. Pig has been explicitly declared Haraam in the Holy Quran.
  2. Besides, animals or birds which prey another animal and bird, or whose food is only impurity, are not allowed to consume. Examples are lion, wolf, jackal, cat, monkey, falcon, vulture, etc.
  3. Apart from the above-mentioned, all animals and birds are Halaal. Examples are parrot, starling, dove, sparrow, quail, swan, pigeon, deer, duck, rabbit, etc.
  4. The meat of permitted animals and birds will be Halaal only if they are slaughtered in compliance with the Shariah.
  5. According to the majority of Shariah scholars, among aquatic animals, only fish is Halaal.

Food Additives:

Food Additives are substances added to food to enhance its flavor or appearance or to preserve it.

Food Additives are added for various purposes:

Food additives have no or less nutritional values. These are added to food for different purposes. Their names are different according to the purpose they are used for. For example, to mix the water with oil, emulsifier is added in Ice cream, chocolate and margarine, etc. It means the function of emulsifier is to mix substances which do not mix by themselves such as oil and water. The name emulsifier is because of a specific kind and purpose. So, any ingredient added as an emulsifier is a food additive.

Some Food Additives used as Emulsifiers:

The Following food Additives are added to products as emulsifiers:

  1. Soy Lecithin
  2. Yolk
  3. Polysorbate
  4. Sorbitan Monostearate

Types of Food Additives According to Sources:

In the same way, food additives are used for different purposes like flavoring, durability, stabilizing, coloring, etc.
There are three types of food additives:

  1. Natural
  2. Natural Identical
  3. Artificial

Natural, For example, beetroot juices with its bright purple colour is used to colour other foods such as sweets.

Nature Identical food additives are the man-made copies of substances that occur naturally. For example, benzoic acid is a substance that is found in nature and is also made synthetically. It is used as a preservative.

Artificial Additives are substances made synthetically and are not found naturally such as Nisin (E-234) which is used in dairy products and puddings, etc.

Shariah Ruling on Food Additives:

Food additives are usually from one of the following sources:


  1. Animals
  2. Plants
  3. Minerals

Approach #1

  1. Food additives extracted from plants or minerals are Halaal if they do not intoxicate, or are not harmful to health.
  2. Alcohol from grapes and dates is Haraam in all the cases, even if it does not intoxicate or is not harmful to health.
  3. Food additives extracted from animals will be Halaal only if they are extracted from Halaal animals slaughtered in compliance with the Shariah.
  4. Food additives made of the milk from only Halaal animals are permissible.
  5. Food additives made of the eggs from only Halaal birds are permissible.

Approach #2

Any food additive will be Haraam if any of the following causes of Hurmat (Impermissibility) is found therein:

  1. Impurity (نجاست)
  2. Intoxication (اِسکار)
  3. Harmfulness ( مضرت)
  4. Abominableness (استخباث)
  5. Human Dignity (کرامت)