Do They Always List All the Ingredients? Not Really"Processing aid" ingredients are not required to be listed by the FDA.
By Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed
Posted: 28 Muharram 1422, 22 April 2001
Muslims in USA face the dilemma on how to avoid Haram food products every week when they go to shop for food products in supermarkets. Food products are very complex. Among the complexities is that sometimes there are hidden ingredients, which are not declared on ingredient list. Many Muslim are not even aware of this practice. One of those hidden ingredients could be from Haram source.
For example Sunny Delight fruit drinks has gelatin in their products but it is not mentioned on the list of ingredients. This gelatin is from fish bones and it is the part of a plant pigment called Beta-Carotene. It provides yellow color to the food products.
FDA allows manufacturers to use addition ingredients not exceeding 2% of the finished product without mentioning them on the ingredients list.
FDA allows food and ingredient manufacturers to use addition ingredients not exceeding 2% of the finished food product or ingredient. These are called "processing aid" ingredients and they do not require mentioning on the ingredients list. The purpose of a processing aid ingredient is to overcome difficulties in processing a product or using ingredients in a food system.
Beta-Carotene (precursor of vitamin A) is a colorant producing a yellow to orange hue. It is not soluble in water. Since it is obtained from plant source, it is considered Halal but not so. The Beta-Carotene is available to food manufacturer in water-dispersible, oil-dispersible, and oil-soluble forms. Oil-dispersible and oil-soluble forms require the use of vegetable oil, thus these two forms of Beta-Carotene are Halal. Water-dispersible form of Beta-Carotene utilizes gelatin from pork or beef or fish or kosher slaughtered beef. Since juices or fruit drinks are water based food system and pure Beta-Carotene will not dispersible in juices and fruit drinks, so gelatin is added to help Beta-Carotene disperse in fruit juices and fruit drinks. Otherwise pure Beta-Carotene will forms lumps in fruit drinks. These three forms of Beta-Carotene are not 100% pure, they are composed of 98% Beta-Carotene and 2% either gelatin or vegetable oil. Gelatin and vegetable oil will not appear on the ingredient list.
Beta-Carotene may contain unlisted pork gelatin.
Sunny Delight California and Florida style (only) fruit drinks are genuine kosher certified fruit drinks. They are Halal fruit drinks and do not contain alcohol in flavor. Fish gelatin was used in Beta-Carotene as the processing aid ingredient.
Genuine Kosher certified food product containing Beta-Carotene, as an ingredient will indicate that it is not made with pork gelatin. Otherwise Muslims are also required to call the food manufacturer to confirm that there is no pork gelatin used in Beta-Carotene as a processing aid ingredient.