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Is vanilla extract halal?

Is vanilla extract halal?

There are hundreds of ingredients to avoid on a halal diet. Some ingredients, such as pork, gelatine, and whey, are obviously not halal. 

However, others are less obvious. This is particularly the case with additives or unclear ingredients termed "natural flavours."

In this article, we take a closer look at vanilla extract to determine its halal status and whether or not it's permissible for consumption by Muslims.

Quick Answer: Yes and No. There are two varying schools of thought regarding the halal status of vanilla extract. 

Read on to delve deeper into the subject and discover why some Muslim scholars believe vanilla extract isn't halal.

Vanilla Extract: Brief Breakdown

Vanilla extract has long been a favourite addition to cakes, beverages, desserts, and other confections. 

The extract is famous for its subtle, delicate flavour — which enhances the flavour of other ingredients in more intricate dishes. 

Take, for example, a sponge cake. If you compare the taste with and without vanilla extract, you'll notice a significant difference.

In essence, the vanilla extract helps make recipes more delicious.

Pure vanilla extract

How is Vanilla Extract Made?

The manufacturing process has a significant role in determining whether the vanilla extract is halal or not.

There are two methods for manufacturing vanilla extract; natural and artificial.

Artificial Method

Roughly 99% of the world's vanilla extract is a knockoff imitation not derived from the vanilla plant itself.

Artificial vanilla extract, which you can quickly identify by its low price — is made from guaiacol, a byproduct of the wood pulp industry. It is flavoured chiefly with synthetic vanillin.

While it mimics the fragrance of vanilla, many would say that it falls short of capturing all of the subtle floral and woodsy overtones produced by the numerous additional taste components in actual vanilla.

Conclusion: Artificial vanilla extract does not contain alcohol or any other halal ingredients, and thus, is halal.

Natural/Traditional Method

Natural vanilla extract is created by splitting vanilla pods and soaking the beans in an ethanol/water solution to extract its flavour components. 

The FDA states vanilla extract must contain at least 35% alcohol and 100 grams of vanilla beans per litre. 

When looking for high-quality extract, look at the ingredients: It should only include vanilla beans, alcohol, and water, with no other ingredients like sugar or artificial colours or flavours.

Vanilla essence

Natural Vanilla Extract: Halal or Haram

Muslim scholars are still at loggerheads over the consumption of natural vanilla extract. 

Some argue that it is illegal to consume since it has been dipped and mixed in ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) at a concentration of at least 35%, and the legal reason for its ban, intoxication, remains in it. 

They refuse to award vanilla extract the halal certification since they have not gotten a complete assurance that it is incapable of intoxicating a person.

On the other end of the spectrum, some argue that it is permissible since the alcohol does not affect the vanilla. Hence, the person consuming it does not become intoxicated.

Conclusion

Whether or not to consume vanilla extract comes down to your personal choice. You have to make your own decisions about what school of thought to follow. 

When you choose, stick to that choice — not only when it's convenient.

Although, if you’re ever in the mood for 100% halal treats, head over to our website for gummies you can enjoy without breaking any health or religious rules.