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What Is Halal Yogurt?

Halal markets sell a wide variety of halal foods, including halal yogurt.
In a general sense, "halal" means "lawful" in Arabic, and refers to that which is permitted under the rules of Islam.
There are several criteria that determine whether or not a given yogurt can be considered halal.
Halal yogurt must be prepared in accordance with Islamic law.
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  • Written By: Mark Wollacott
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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Halal yogurt is a dairy product produced according to Islamic Law. Like other types of yogurt, halal yogurt is produced from the fermentation of milk using bacteria. It comes in a wide variety of forms, as its halal status does not determine what type of yogurt it is, but only the products used to create it. This means halal yogurt ranges from plain yogurts to creamy fruit yogurts to traditional Greek yogurts.

There are a number of factors that determine if a yogurt is halal or haram. Halal means lawful and haram means unlawful. In general, it means food products must not contain pig products such as meat, oil, fat and gelatin, and they must not contain traces of blood, alcohol, carrion or meat slaughtered in a non-Islamic fashion.

Deciding if a yogurt is halal or not is a tricky business for people who are just learning to shop for halal products. Even when all of the ingredients are listed, it is not always possible to know about potential cross-contamination from the machines used to manufacture the yogurt. One safe way a Muslim can be certain that most haram products have been excluded is to buy vegetarian-friendly yogurts. These will definitely have no blood, carrion or meat products.

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The key to ensuring the yogurt is completely halal is by creating a new form of whey and, more specifically, using rennet enzyme. Rennet is an enzyme that digests a mother’s milk and is extracted from within the mucosa in a calf’s fourth stomach. As the cow has not been slaughtered according to Islamic tradition, the enzyme is haram. Manufacturers have, instead, developed a range of halal whey, which curdles the cheese and yogurts just the same.

As well as using halal whey, a halal yogurt must use halal gelatin if it is to use gelatin at all. This means using a gelatin not made from pig bones. Again, vegetarian-friendly gelatin is the best to use and the least confusing from an Islamic moral standpoint. Yogurt producers seeking to be halal can also buy gelatin from halal manufacturers that guarantee the gelatin is made from bones of cows sacrificed to Allah.

Apart from those factors, most kinds of non-alcoholic yogurts can be halal. Most yogurts use sweet products such as caramel, chocolate and honey or fruits such as strawberries and bananas. They can be eaten alone or applied to meals, so long as those other meals also conform to Islamic Law.

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Discuss this Article

turquoise
Post 3

@feruze-- Make your own yogurt! That's the only way to be one hundred percent sure that it's halal.

I've been making my own halal yogurt for years. I buy the yogurt enzyme online and I ferment my own yogurt which is so easy. And once you make halal yogurt once, you can use that to ferment the next batch. So you can make halal yogurt indefinitely that way.

I don't trust any of the ready-made yogurts, even if they claim to be halal. Plus, those have so many additives and preservatives in them that they are not healthy anymore.

ZipLine
Post 2

@feruze-- I agree it is difficult to know if you buy your yogurt from the grocery store. If you usually buy one brand, you could contact that brand and ask them what the source of the gelatin is. Or you can look out for organic yogurts without gelatin. I think those are halal.

The last option might be to buy your yogurt from international groceries that carry halal or kosher foods. I buy yogurt from a Pakistani grocery and I know that yogurt is halal for sure because it is produced by a Muslim manufacturer according to Islamic standards.

bear78
Post 1

Oh wow. I follow a halal diet but I had no idea that yogurt could be non-halal.

But how can I know whether the yogurt at the grocery store is halal?! I've never heard of vegetarian yogurt before. I also don't think that yogurt labels mention the source of the gelatin that is inside.

So basically, there is no way for me to know.

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