What Is Halal Milk?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

When foods are produced according to Islamic law, they are known as halal. Halal milk is milk that is produced from a halal animal, such as a cow. As long as the animal being milked is considered halal, the milk is permissible to consume. Forbidden animals, or haram animals, from which Muslims may not eat or obtain milk would include pigs and monkeys along with dozens of other species.

Most commercial produced milks are considered halal.
Most commercial produced milks are considered halal.

Production of food may also impact its halal status. Animals killed, for example, must be slaughtered quickly by the throat in the name of Allah. Foods that are not produced as such may not be considered halal. Foods that contain milk, such as cheese or whey, must contain halal enzymes in them and be made from halal milk in order to be consumed without sin. Any food that includes a haram food as an ingredient is said to be contaminated and haram itself.

In a general sense, "halal" means "lawful" in Arabic, and refers to that which is permitted under the rules of Islam.
In a general sense, "halal" means "lawful" in Arabic, and refers to that which is permitted under the rules of Islam.

Any animal that may be consumed under Islamic law may produce halal milk. In addition to cows, sheep, camels, and buffalo are considered halal animals. Goats, too, are halal animals. Hence, goat's milk is a form of halal milk as well.

Halal milk is prepared in accordance with sharia principles.
Halal milk is prepared in accordance with sharia principles.

Sometimes milk and milk products may fall into a questionable category, giving them a mashbooh status. This status implies that their enzymes, flavoring agents, or emulsifiers may not be halal. A chocolate flavoring in milk, for example, may not be halal; to be certain, those following these laws may wish to ensure that the chocolate is halal-certified.

Most mainstream milks that are produced are considered halal, whether they are powdered, skim, or whole varieties. Some milks that have vitamins and emulsifiers added that are pig-derived, however, are haram milks. Milks sold in the United States and Canada are considered to be halal.

Westerners might equate halal laws to kosher laws in terms of understanding what they mean, though the laws are not the same. If a food is not halal, it may be considered haram to Muslims. Such foods are prohibited for consumption by the word of Allah. Consuming such foods is considered to be sinful. Many other products made from non-halal animals, such as animal lard and bacon, are also forbidden to Muslims.

Halal markets sell a wide variety of halal foods and products, including halal milk.
Halal markets sell a wide variety of halal foods and products, including halal milk.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

bear78

Kosher and halal are not the same but I was told to select foods with the kosher symbol on them when in doubt about the ingredients. Many people seem to be of the opinion that kosher certified foods are also suitable for a halal diet.

literally45

@burcinc-- I specifically looked into this topic because I was also concerned about the vitamins added to milk and whether they are halal. From what I have found out about the vitamins they are used, milk in the US is halal. I've read that the vitamins added to milk are kosher certified and so do not come from animal products such as pork.

Now if anyone has done more research and has additional information to share, please do. But as far as I know, you can drink milk with vitamin D without worrying about it being halal.

It's always good to research these things because even foods that seem like they would be halal may have additives and processing agents that are in fact not halal. Thankfully, milk doesn't seem to present any issues in this regard.

burcinc

I'm glad to know that the milk sold in the US is halal. I had never even thought about it before. I just assumed that they are halal since the milk comes from cows. I never though about the things that may be added like enzymes.

Does regular milk at the grocery normally have enzymes added? I know that some milks have added vitamin D. And some people also say that regular milk (versus organic) has antibiotics. Does this affect the halal status of regular milk?

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