Halal 101

What is Halal, and What Does it Mean?

Halal is a word that in Arabic means permissible. With respect to food products, it means that which is permissible according to Islamic laws.

The list of products identified below are considered to be Halal

  • Milk [cows, goats, sheep]
  • All Legumes & Nuts [peanuts, cashews, macadamia. etc.]
  • Fresh or Naturally Frozen Vegetables
  • Grains [wheat, barley, rice, rye, oats, etc.]
  • Fresh or Dried Fruits
  • Honey
  • Fish
  • Water

For some products to be considered halal, especially ones derived from meat, they must be from an acceptable source such as a cow or chicken and slaughtered according to these laws. The process of halal slaughter is defined as zabihah and there are certain rules that must be adhered to:

  • Tasmiah (the name of Allah) is invoked just before or during the act of slaughtering.
  • The animal to be slaughtered must be permissible (NO pork, insects, carrion, etc).
  • The animal must be alive at the time of slaughter, in accordance with sharia law.
  • The animal must be in good health at the time of slaughter, in accordance with sharia law.
  • The instrument/blade must be extremely sharp to ensure humane slaughter and the animal must be slit at the throat.
  • The animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry. Eating blood is not halal.
  • The slaughter should result in the animal’s trachea, esophagus, carotid artery, and jugular vein severed.
  • The animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal by-products.
  • These steps must be accomplished by a Muslim who swears to adhere to these rules.
  • Certain types of stunning can be used, but the animal must not die as a result of stunning.
  • Certain types of mechanical slaughter can be used, under strict supervision by Muslim slaughterman .
  • The slaughter facility must follow all federal safety and sanitation guidelines.

What is the difference between Kosher and Halal?

Halal does not allow food products or consumables to contain any alcohol whatsoever whereas kashrut, the Jewish dietary guideline, can allow for this exception.

There are also other differences, for example kashrut does not allow for the consumption of shellfish like shrimp or lobster or mammals that do not eat cud like camels or rabbits. Both of these food groups are permissible under halal guidelines.

How Are They Similar?

In both halal and kashrut certain animals are forbidden such as swine, carnivores, insects, frogs and birds of prey. Certain food products like gelatin must come from halal or kashrut sources such as cows or vegan alternatives and cannot come from swine.

In Summary

Unfortunately millions of Muslim consumers around the world have very limited access to halal certified products. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to share your amazing products with this truly under-served demographic. Best of all, we can help!


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