Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Haram Oreo products?

As salaamu alaikum,

Of the Nabisco Oreo products, the following two contain animal derived ingredients is confirmed by the associate director of customer affairs of the company. Most likely it is the mono and diglycerides that are animal derived from these 2 products because after looking over the ingredients labels only these 2 products contain mono and diglycerides.

These 2 products are:
-Oreo Reduced Fat varieties
-Oreo Sugar Free varieties

So basically, eat the fatty oreos and you're good to go =)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Haram Wrigleys Products

Here are the few Wrigley's products that are haram. They include pork derivatives, most likely gelatin.

-Extra Polar Ice
-Orbit Crystal Mint
-All Life Savers Gummies
-All Altoids Mints
-All Five Elixir gums

This information was given to me by a Wrigley's Customer Affairs rep via email.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wrigley's Gum

As salaamu alaikum

Sorry I've been lagging behind! Some companies I send inquiries to 'only discuss those matters over the phone'... okay...?

Others completely misunderstand my question. I sent an inquiry to a company and they replied back (via mail for whatever reason!) and this is a jist of their letter:

Thank you for contacting us inquiring if our products include any animal derivatives.

To answer your question, we are very proud to say we do not test our products on animals!

What the..?! HELLO! You just stated the question and then answered something totally off topic. Pshh!

Something I found frustrating is that while some ingredients can be derived from either plant or animals or synthetically made, most companies use whichever is available to them. This means, sometimes a bar of soap IS halal and sometimes it IS haram but because they bounce between the two we are never sure when it is okay to use, x-ing it off the list. After contacting some places they said they never even considered just sticking to one and that it even made a difference to some consumers. So contacting these companies can make a big difference.


Moving along, Wrigley's Gum has certainly come a long way. I remember just a couple of years ago there were several of their gums which did contain animal derived ingredients, and they've shown much progress in trying to make their products Halal, Kosher, and Vegetarian friendly alhamdulillah.

Here is a list of Halal gums they offer. Please note that this list only applies to consumers in the US and Canada as their ingredients differ from country to country. If you're in the Middle East no worries as their products are ALL Halal alhamdulillah. I see most of their products on the list, I think the only thing which I do not see are Altoid's Mints which have been known to be haram for years now, including pork gelatin as far as I know. You can point out anything you don't see - most likely it means they haven't made it Muslim-friendly as of yet.

Also, please note before reading this list that just because you may see your favorite brand name gum on here does not mean ALL their flavors are halal. Please be sure to check for the specific flavor on this list. Why? Because there are specific dyes used in foods which are animal derived believe it or not. So while a red colored gum may be halal, the yellow one may not. I don't believe this is the case with Wrigley's Gum, but just something to keep in mind inshaAllah.
Thank you for contacting the Wrigley Company to inquire about the use of animal-derived ingredients in our products sold in the United States.

The majority of Wrigley products sold in the U.S. are free from ingredients of animal origin, including egg and dairy products. A list of these acceptable products is included or attached with this response.

While a small percentage of the products we sell in the U.S. may contain ingredients of animal origin, we take great strides to ensure our products are free from any animal-based ingredients in geographies with dietary restrictions preventing such ingredients. For example, all Wrigley products sold in the Middle East and Indonesia are free from animal-derived ingredients.

Our priority is, and always will be, to manufacture only the highest quality confectionery products using ingredients that meet the needs of our customers around the world. By understanding our global customers and adjusting product offerings accordingly, we are able to deliver great tasting confections to more than 180 countries.

We hope this information is helpful.

U.S. Wrigley Products Without Animal-Derived Ingredients

• Wrigley's Spearmint® gum
• Doublemint® gum and mints
• Big Red® gum
• Juicy Fruit® stick gum
• Winterfresh® gum
• Five® Cobalt, Rain, Flare and Lush gums
• Extra® Cinnamon, Bubble Gum, Peppermint, Spearmint, Winterfresh, Cool Green Apple, Cool Watermelon, Supermint, Berry Pearadise and Fruit Sensations flavors
• Eclipse® gum and mints
• Hubba Bubba® chunk and tape gums
• Big League Chew® shredded gum
• Freedent® gum
• Orbit® Bubblemint, Wintermint, Peppermint, Spearmint, Cinnamint, Sweetmint, Citrusmint, Fabulous Fruitini, Lemon Lime, Maui Melon Mint, Mint Mojito, Raspberry Mint and Sangria Fresca
• Orbit® WhiteTM pellet gums
• LifeSavers® hard candies and LifeSavers® lollipops
• Altoids® Sours and Altoids® gum

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Caress, Dove, & Lever 2000

These soaps are all made from the same company, Unilever. After contacting them, they confirmed that their bar soaps contain animal ingredients. Their sodium tallowate is derived from cows' tallow. Basically this is beef fat in the soaps. I noticed that Unilever also makes Lux soap which also contains the same matter inside.

However, regarding their body washes (bath/body soaps in liquid form), as long as they don't contain any of the following ingredients, they are okay to use:
  • STEARIC ACID: from beef fat
  • LANOLIN ALCOHOL: derived from animal matter (usually sheeps)
  • OLEIC ACID: derived from beef/pork

So keep a lookout for these words on the labels of their Moisturizing Body washes, Lux too, and inshaAllah we can use those =) I'm yet to hear back if the same applies to Unilever's lotions and shampoos.

Here is the email they sent me:


Thanks for writing!

Caress, Lever 2000, and Dove Ultra Moisturizing Body Washes do not contain animal matter. The glycerin in the product is not of animal origin.

Any products containing the following ingredients may have animal byproducts. Please check the ingredient label.

Stearic Acid comes from Beef Tallow

Lanolin Alcohol is derived from animal matter

Oleic Acid - Derived from animal (beef or pork)

We hope this information is helpful!

Your friends at Unilever HPC

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Start of a new project

Unfortunately we live in a time where all kinds of nonsense is put into the most basic of foods. Tomato sauces don't only contain tomatoes and seasoning, but a wide range of additives. We have to be very careful of what we consume.

How many times do we scan an item to see if it is halal or not and dump it in the cart because nothing 'stands out'. The fact remains that most of us are not familiar with a lot of these ingredients and since it doesn't straight out say GOAT FAT or BEEF TALLOW we assume its okay. Wrong. Everything else is in scientific terms, so will be those other additives.

After contacting a company they told me if any of their products contain any of these ingredients, it was not halal: stearic acid, lanolin alcohol, and oleic acid. Now honestly, if the definitions of these words were not given to me, I would have assumed they were natural chemicals or something of the sort. However, these words define substances that are all derived from beef or pork! I'm sure many of the everyday things we use contain ingredients and words like these.

I'm no scientist and neither am I good with memorization, so for me to pick up something off the shelf at the supermarket and really read through the ingredients and understand what I'm seeing is not possible. This is the case with most people. We tend to rely on the Kosher sign as the green light to consume products. That is incorrect as well. What's kosher is not always halal. A small example, wine is kosher, but most definitely not halal. And the terms for wine are numerous.

Therefore, as Muslims, who hold cleanliness as half of our faith... it is our duty to be sure we're not only consuming halal, but even our hygiene products are halal too. For example, I eat only halal zabiha meat, but before Jumu'ah salah I hop in the shower and slather pig matter all over my body (sorry I mean a bar of Caress soap) then walk over to the masjid and stand before Allah thinking I'm clean... it just doesn't seem right. We need to contact these companies and see what they put into their products and avoid that which needs to be avoided inshaAllah.

I know some of us don't have this on the top of our to-do lists... or don't see it as a big deal. What's worse is sometimes when I tell people something is haram, they 1) Think I'm being extreme, 2) tell me they were better off not knowing and now because I told them they "can't" use it, which is a totally immature way of thinking, 3) Don't seem to care. Hmm.. now why go out of your way to eat only zabiha meat, deprive yourself of all the food places you could dine out at and all the precooked "tv dinners" you could stash in your freezer and yet still use products with beef and pork gelatin in it? What's the difference? It's still being consumed just not in the form of shawarma, steak, or a plate of biryani.

So this is what I plan to do about it. I know there are websites and books out there listing halal and haram products, but I don't see explanations. People want to know why, understandably. Why is my drink haram? What makes my cheese unlawful? What could they possibly put into fabric softener making it haram?! We're entitled to these answers most definitely. I know some people are busy or don't put much effort into getting this information from companies, but inshaAllah that is what I will be trying to do. I'll post the responses for people to see, and after that it's between them and Allah if they continue using something or not. Please do pass the word around to other brothers and sisters about widely used products inshaAllah. Please don't play the game where no one is looking and you think it's okay or you act like you didn't just read what you did because you don't want to face the facts - we're all going to be held accountable for our actions, even food consumption. Really, people make finding out these things a bigger deal than it is, when it's quite simple. But for those busy ones, inshaAllah they can come by here and see what's been discovered, rather than going through the steps of contacting the company.

Now another thing, there are people out there who do believe that non zabiha animal derived ingredients are not haram, and so I'm not here to argue with those people. Personally, I prefer to be on the safer side and avoid these foods. Better safe than sorry, Rasulullah (SAW) said when something is doubtful, avoid it. Come on guys, it's just Goldfish and Kraft Mac n cheese, I know it tastes good, but the foods of Jannah are better, inshaAllah ta'ala! Yes, so please don't come to me and cop an attitude or doubt the companies responses if proof is staring you in the face. I too was not a happy camper when I got the email from Pepperidge Farm confirming beef in their goldfish, but it is what it is. The best thing we can do is send emails to these companies asking them to consider more natural ingredient and if they see many suggestions for that, they may change. Kraft mentions they are working on more naturally derived ingredients because of many Vegans and Jews contacting them - what about the Muslims? When the Mar's chocolate scare came out about them wanting to use beef derivatives in their chocolates, the Muslims forwarded emails and lashed out on their blogs but who really emailed Mars or called them? It was the Vegans who took a stand. We're so lazy! When I emailed Caress about their bar soaps they said no one really mentioned before wanting only naturally derived ingredients in the soap and they never really explored the idea or thought it even mattered!

But back to what I was saying, if you don't eat zabiha meat, please don't come here and spew hate. You're welcome to read and discuss but no saying 'this is extreme', 'this is overboard', 'then what can you eat? nothing!' 'youre wrong!' There are many other alternatives for haram foods out there, it's just parting with the ones we've gotten comfortable with and finding better ones inshaAllah.

Please feel free to leave suggestions of companies/brands to contact in the most recent entry's comment section inshaAllah and I will try my best to get in touch with them. I am benefiting from this as much as others will be inshaAllah. Of course whatever products I use I will contact, but there are so many products out there you and others use that we need to know about too, so if some things slip my mind, help me out!

I hope I can provide direct answers as to what makes some of our favorite brands unlawful rather than just seeing a black and white yes or no.

Right now I'm waiting on responses from maybe a dozen companies. So sit tight until I get a proper response inshaAllah.

JazakumAllahu khayran
-Lazeena Umm Yusuf