Halal ice cream is ice cream that conforms to specific standards promoted by Islamic dietary laws. Although many varieties of ice cream are halal, some are not, and this leads Muslims to extensive conversations about what kinds of ice cream are halal. The general term “halal,” or “law,” refers to a wide set of rules for Muslims that includes somewhat strict dietary requirements. Thus, foods like ice cream that may not be in compliance with these regulations are not “halal.”
One issue with making halal ice cream is that the vanilla extract used to treat many flavors of ice cream is not always considered halal. This is because methods of extraction for this element may include the use of alcohol. Vanilla and other similar flavors of ice cream may not be halal for this reason.
Another issue with halal ice cream regards the use of bovine growth hormones in cows. In some Islamic communities, there is controversy and debate over whether these items in the feed of cows make the resulting animal products non-compliant with halal standards. This issue has not been widely resolved, and continues to get attention from those who are looking for clear designations on halal products.
The use of additional animal products can also interfere with the designation of an ice cream product as halal. For example, additional fats added to the food can compromise the halal designation, though this is not commonly done. A more frequent issue with added animal products is the use of gelatin in ice cream and other dairy products. While some experts believe that types of gelatin sometimes disqualify ice cream products for halal compliance, others feel that the most common gelatin products are still halal as long as they don’t come from pigs, since pork is a food widely considered to violate halal standards.
Many Muslims have confusion over what exactly constitutes halal ice cream. Some experts have urged the average halal shopper to use the guide of kosher designations, where foods that qualify as kosher are also likely to qualify as halal. Others recommend taking only basic common sense precautions avoiding non-halal products, and not worrying about gray areas of the dietary laws. Those who want to consume only halal foods can get further guidance from experts in their local communities, or more information from various ice cream manufacturers about exactly what goes into their products.