Is Gelatin Halal? What about Bovine sources?

14 Aug 2012
Joe
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gelatin

“Is gelatin Halal? What if it is from a bovine source but not slaughtered according to shari’ah”

Answer:

Gelatin, as far as my research has shown, does not go through a chemical or molecular change in which it is modified into another substance.


Gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolysed form of collagen, without any chemical or molecular transformation. Basically the collagen of the animal is washed (with peptides and other substances added), and through this process the collagen is broken down and processed into another form, whether that be liquid or solid. There is no transformation that renders it into a totally different and separate substance.

Looking at Gelatin Sources

Based on this, you have to look at the source:

  1. Naturally, fish and vegetable sources are completely acceptable.
  2. Bovine sources (as well as any other animal with is Halal to eat) are acceptable
    • if that animal was slaughtered in a manner acceptable to the Shariah.
    • If the gelatin is from an animal slaughtered or killed incorrectly, then it is not permissible.
  3. If it is from Porcine sources, it is categorically forbidden.

and Allah knows best

updated 09/30/2012

To add a little more context, I thought I’d add this from the above linked Wikipedia article:

While there are many processes whereby collagen can be converted to gelatin, they all have several factors in common. The intermolecular and intramolecular bonds which stabilize insoluble collagen rendering it insoluble must be broken, and the hydrogen bonds which stabilize the collagen helix must also be broken The manufacturing process consists of three main stages:

  1. Pretreatments to make the raw materials ready for the main extraction step and to remove impurities which may have negative effects on physio chemical properties of the final gelatin product,
  2. The main extraction step, which is usually done with hot water or dilute acid solutions as a multi-stage extraction to hydrolyze collagen into gelatin, and finally,
  3. The refining and recovering treatments including filtration, clarification, evaporation, sterilization, drying, rutting, grinding, and sifting to remove the water from the gelatin solution, to blend the gelatin extracted, and to obtain dried, blended and ground final product.

UPDATE:

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Many of you have emailed me asking for more information on this topic. In fact this post is one of the top posts on my site. In order to go into more detail, I’m planning a webinar on the Fiqh of Food and Drink, where we will discuss these issues in more detail. If you are interested in attending, please signup below.