Do They Always List All the Ingredients? Not Really
"Processing aid" ingredients are not
required to be listed by the FDA.
By Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed
Posted: 28 Muharram 1422, 22 April 2001
Muslims in USA face the dilemma on how to avoid Haram food products every week when
they go to shop for food products in supermarkets. Food products are very complex. Among
the complexities is that sometimes there are hidden ingredients, which are not declared on
ingredient list. Many Muslim are not even aware of this practice. One of those hidden
ingredients could be from Haram source.
For example Sunny Delight fruit drinks has gelatin in their products but it is not
mentioned on the list of ingredients. This gelatin is from fish bones and it is the part
of a plant pigment called Beta-Carotene. It provides yellow color to the food products.
FDA allows manufacturers to use addition
ingredients not exceeding 2% of the finished product without mentioning them on the
FDA allows food and ingredient manufacturers to use addition ingredients not exceeding
2% of the finished food product or ingredient. These are called "processing aid"
ingredients and they do not require mentioning on the ingredients list. The purpose of a
processing aid ingredient is to overcome difficulties in processing a product or using
ingredients in a food system.
Beta-Carotene (precursor of vitamin A) is a colorant producing a yellow to orange hue.
It is not soluble in water. Since it is obtained from plant source, it is considered Halal
but not so. The Beta-Carotene is available to food manufacturer in water-dispersible,
oil-dispersible, and oil-soluble forms. Oil-dispersible and oil-soluble forms require the
use of vegetable oil, thus these two forms of Beta-Carotene are Halal. Water-dispersible
form of Beta-Carotene utilizes gelatin from pork or beef or fish or kosher slaughtered
beef. Since juices or fruit drinks are water based food system and pure Beta-Carotene will
not dispersible in juices and fruit drinks, so gelatin is added to help Beta-Carotene
disperse in fruit juices and fruit drinks. Otherwise pure Beta-Carotene will forms lumps
in fruit drinks. These three forms of Beta-Carotene are not 100% pure, they are composed
of 98% Beta-Carotene and 2% either gelatin or vegetable oil. Gelatin and vegetable oil
will not appear on the ingredient list.
Beta-Carotene may contain unlisted pork
Sunny Delight California and Florida style (only) fruit drinks are genuine kosher
certified fruit drinks. They are Halal fruit drinks and do not contain alcohol in flavor.
Fish gelatin was used in Beta-Carotene as the processing aid ingredient.
Genuine Kosher certified food product containing Beta-Carotene, as an ingredient will
indicate that it is not made with pork gelatin. Otherwise Muslims are also required to
call the food manufacturer to confirm that there is no pork gelatin used in Beta-Carotene
as a processing aid ingredient.