Monday, January 19, 2009

Rennet & Whey Explained, and Kraft cheese products

I'm not a nutritionist or food expert, but for those of you who are unclear about what rennet and whey are, I'll put it in simple terms to inshaAllah be easily understood.

Rennet is a substance usually taken from baby calves to aid in the production of cheese. There are microbial substitutes that are sometimes used, but this is on a rare occasion and is usually specified on the foods packaging. Why is it taken from a baby calf's stomach? Because this is an enzyme found specifically in their stomachs to help them digest their mother's milk. The enzymes that make up rennet coagulates milk, causing it separate into curds and whey, to help form cheese.

So therefore, whey is the liquid leftover after milk has been curdled and strained. So if the whey was produced using an animal derived rennet, then the product containing whey is not permissible for consumption. This by-product is used in a lot of cheeses, cookies, crackers, breads and pastries. So you shouldn't only look for whey in cheese products!

Ok, so moving onto the Kraft cheeses. I did not even have to email the company about these questions because they were found on their FAQ page.

What is the enzyme derivative of KRAFT Singles?

The process of converting milk into cheese is dependent on coagulating through the use of an enzyme. The enzymes in this product are sourced from both microbial fermentations and animal sources. The animal sources are cow, sheep, and goat.

Well, sometimes they DO use microbial enzymes, which would make the cheese undeniablyhalal. However, because they bounce between microbial and animal enzymes, we never know which is being used at the time we pick up a pack of cheese, and also the equipment would be mixed without being cleaned as well. So we should avoid Kraft Singles inshaAllah, I believe they aren't even kosher either.



Due to an ingredient in this product and/or the manufacturing process, VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product is not certified Kosher.

Again, this would be an animal derivative in used in Velveeta cheeses and are not halal.

What enzyme derivative is present in KRAFT© Macaroni & Cheese?

....The enzymes used to make our cheese powder in packages of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese are derived from an animal source (calves and sheep).

And so again, this too contains animal derived enzymes.

Conclusion: Please be sure to check your food ingredients for RENNET, WHEY, and ENZYMES.


ModestJustice said...

Thank you for letting us all know what is halal and haram.
I've never knew there were so many impermissible things in the West.
Now I have to work on convincing my mom to stop buying Dove soap. "It's Haram" Never seems to sway her.

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

I know its very hard to convince some people. I mean some people don't even eat zabiha meat so that's a whole different story. But for those who do it makes no sense to consume foods with non zabiha meat derivatives in them. I know it seems freakishly weird that there is animal fat and enzymes in so many things but there is and so we have to try and make the best of it inshaAllah.

eeman said...

Salamu alaikum and Jazakulahikaihran for all your efforts at spreading information on what is halal and haram. I live in Nigeria and we eat mostly unprocessed food, but these days, we have quite an influx of imported processed food and personally i used to feel that as long as it is not pork, then it is edible. Thanks for the awareness.

Forgive my ignorance, but i will want to be educated further on animal fat and all that.

Does Nivea soap contain these too?
May Allah reward you. amin

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

As salaamu alaikum Eeman, thanks for visiting and for your comment. InshaAllah I will look into Nivea. Some companies however, their ingredients vary depending on location. For example, Wrigley's confectionary products are all halal in the Middle East, and a few products made here in the US (the same ones made in the Middle East) are haram here.

A lot of people never consider that there would be animal fats and enzymes in foods, I dont blame people for also taking some time to get used to the idea. It's ridiculous the types of things that go into our foods and into our bodies subhanAllah.

Abdul Quddus said...

Kraft is so orangey and haram looking anyway hahaaa

m said...

Salam to everyone

As far as I know, having studied in this area, rennet is an ezyme which is taken from the stomach of a baby cow. While it is still alive. So therefore the question of slaughter doesn't really come up. Also, I don't think rennet is ever obtained from pigs, mainly cows because they have the most active enzymes related to milk. You can;t obtain rennet from a plant becasue it's an animal enzyme, sort of like cholesterol which is strictly animal. These days, as far as I know, most rennet is grown microbiologically, which means it is artificial so should be ok.

The hadeeth about the Prophet eating cheese without asking how it was made etc would indicate that we can do the same,. And if it was cheese then it had rennet. it's the enzyme which makes it set, all cheese has it.

Thats my 2 cents worth smile.:)


Anonymous said...


I was wondering - would an animal enzyme be considered haraam?

Just to make it a bit clearer, could you please direct us to some reference that is used to infer the above?

I'm sad that I find a LOT of these ingredients & products in the UAE - I dont know if these are different from the ones made in the west & that confuses me a lot.

Anonymous said...

I just want to add to my above post that when in doubt again, call the companies or just don't eat it! I don't claim to know everything but I tried to share what I do know. Only Allah knows, inshallah you do what you think is best for you, and don't make your choices based on people's articles or posts, use the articles and posts in your decision making process and always looks things up for yourself. Again, only Allah knows, I'm only trying to improve upon the article and correct what I see as misinformation. Only Allah knows what is best for us, I don't claim to be a guru, just trying to share what little information I have gathered. Inshallah.

Fred said...

Hello friends:
I have a question for you. I am not of your religion, but would like to know what it is about rennan and these products that are not allowed? Is it because it comes from an animal and involves some harm? or...? Just curious. Sorry to ask such a question.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kindness in asking the question Fred
Like Jewish people, Muslims only consume animal ingredients derived from an animal slaughtered by religious customs. What makes our meat different isn't much, it's just the method in how the animal is slaughtered. For both Jews and Muslims it must be slaughtered for God's sake and in His name only. Muslims face the animal in the direction of Makkah and they also slaughter the animal as quickly as they can and do not do it in front of other animals (so not to instill fear in them) and do not allow the animal being slaughtered to see the knife either. As for pork, we do not consume it because healthwise and religiously it isn't a clean animal to eat from.

Anonymous said...

nice information, thank you.

in answering one of the comments, as said before rennet has three sources - plant, microbial, and animal. while theoretically some forms of animal rennet can be taken from a live animal in reality that usually is NOT the case - the rennet is actually taken from a slaughtered animal; therefore it is often not considered halal/kosher, and definitely not vegetarian. microbial rennet is usually considered suitable for vegetarians and also halal/kosher, while plant rennet is almost always allowed. sometimes the companies openly state which rennet they use (and use only a specific kind) while others are more careless and mix or switch between types of rennet. there are many pages on the internet - including this blog - listing which products are acceptable and which are not. just be careful.

i am not muslim but hindu (so lacto-vegetarian) and so this information is helpful to me. it is very surprising and disappointing what sorts of non-acceptable animal products and other items are in our foods and the other products we use and most people don't know about them. we should be spreading this information to those who do not know and discouraging the use of non-approved products. thank you for doing this.

Indian cheese said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rumi said...

i live in brazil and i just want to know about brazilian cheese wheather its halal or haram ?i am facing problem due to language coz every one here spaeaks portuguese andthe same language is printed on the packs so i am much confused .plz help me in this matter .thanx once again

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

Jazaak Allaah khair for your blog, very informative. I just wanted to put it out there that I called Kraft regarding velveeta, and was told very politely that the enzymes are obtained from two sources: one is microbial and the other is cow, lamb or goat. She specifically said 'non-porcine' afterward, for what it's worth.

Nageen Pervez said...

jazakAllah, but i want to make sure whether these enzmes, renet, etc are from cow or pigs? because according to one school of fiqh, one is allowed as long as its cows nt nt pigs, so would you now the answer to this??

sj42192 said...

Anonymous said...

The topic of 'halal cheese' is very confusing. I stopped eating Krafts cheese a while ago, but today I found these articles and feel differently:

Cheese Making Supplies said...

I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.

Liquid Rennet said...

I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.

SFK said...

sj42192 ur article was no doubt very informative & logical

SunniAndLoveIt said...

Hi! I am SO confused about this whole kraft cheese concept!!So, kraft cheese isn't halal?

Nisrine said...

Here is a quote from Kraft's Website concerning Kraft Singles and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese only
"The process of converting milk into cheese is dependent on coagulating through the use of an enzyme. The enzymes in this product are sourced from both microbial fermentations and animal sources. The animal sources are cow, sheep, and goat."

Kytriya said...

Thanks for posting about Whey and Rennet. I can only have Vegetarian Rennet cheeses. My only wish is that there was an exhaustive list of all foods and brands in the world, that would tell me if Alcohol was used in the processing or not of any of its ingredients. Alcohol causes infections in me, so I eat only Kosher/Halal Cheeses and Ice Cream. Carrageenan I have to be careful of, because alcohol is often used in the processing, and is contained in some cheeses. Haagen-Daz and Turkey Hill have the only Ice Creams I can eat so far.
signed a Messianic Jew who supports Freedom for all Faiths - including Muslim.

Samira Regag said...

Can somebody gave me names of cheese slices halal please my kids love cheese i dont want them to eat haram product

Anonymous said...

So if this is tru thn can u guide us wat type of cheese nd soaps would be appropriate...

Motahareh mehraban said...

My father brought vanilla ice cream and it has whey powder ( milk) in it...I read in a few articles that said whey is okay but they add rennet to it which makes it haram!!! What should I do, should I avoid eating the ice cream and tell my parents ? Or??!!

Nihal Celik said...

Does it come from pig? Far is my understanding comes from cow, goat, about pig? What could be use instead? How about if person strict vegan, and looking replacement for anything, maybe not quiet but nearly close to same ? Thanks for your

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing!!