Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alcohol in Flavourings

Most food products nowadays contain some type of flavouring - natural, artificial, or a combination of both. Many of these flavourings contain alcohol, which is used as a carrier or solvent for the flavouring. The actual amount of alcohol in the finished food product may vary, but it is usually around 1% or less, as the alcohol evaporates during the production process. Items such as drinks and ice creams can contain a bit more, since no evaporation takes place. Such a small amount of alcohol is not required to be declared on the ingredients declaration on the packaging of the product.


The Foodguide follows the opinion of major contemporary Hanafi scholars including the venerable Mufti Yusuf Sacha of the UK (highly acclaimed foods expert) and Mufti Ashraf Usmani of Pakistan. The fatwa in our times is that synthetic alcohols (and all alcohol not sourced from dates and grapes) in foods and otherwise is pure (tahir), and permitted to use and consume on the conditions that:

(a) it is not used as an intoxicant;
(b) it is not used as intoxicants as used (i.e. for alcoholic consumption, even a little);
(c) it is not used in an amount that intoxicates;
(d) it is not used in vain (lahw).

Courtesy: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This is the view propounded by the Foodguide service and rest assured that it is of sound Hanafi scholarship. Nevertheless, if you are a follower of a Maz-hab (school of thought) apart from the Hanafi School or you prefer to refrain from such products then that is fine too. We will try to facilitate such persons by indicating which products are affected on this web-site as far as possible.

http://www.gmwa.org.uk/foodguide2/index.php?page=viewquestion&id=200

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