Halal Ice Cream
Just about everyone loves ice cream, and it’s perfect for everything from a casual summer afternoon to a special celebration. As with any beloved food, ice cream tends to evoke strong preferences, so it’s nice to have a wide variety of flavors of styles – chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, caramel swirl, mint chocolate chip...the list goes on! Unfortunately, there are limited options for those who follow a Halal diet. Virtually all ice cream products mention ‘natural’ or ‘artificial’ flavors on the ingredients list, which offers no indication whatsoever as to the nature or origin of the flavor. Given the many potential additives to ice cream that may not be Halal, certification is important to assure consumers that it does not contain unacceptable ingredients.
Many ingredients in ice cream are potentially, but not inherently unacceptable
While nothing about the basic components of ice cream is inherently problematic – milk, cream, eggs, and sugar are all acceptable – doubts arise as it is a processed food sold commercially that might contain many other things. Ice cream products may contain unacceptable ingredients, such as gelatin from non-Halal sources (for example in a marshmallow swirl). There are even alcohol-infused ice creams that contain up to 5% alcohol. In addition, some ice creams contain mono- and diglycerides, a byproduct of animal fat. While glycerides are not inherently prohibited, they would need to be certified Halal. Similarly, whey powder is sometimes added to processed foods, and since it can be produced using beef enzymes, requires a Halal certification. Food colorings are also common in ice cream and may not be Halal or would need to be certified in order to eliminate doubt.
Any added emulsifiers, stabilizers, or colorings would thus be another factor necessitating Halal certification.
In virtually all processed food products, you will see ‘natural’ or ‘artificial’ flavors listed – or both. Since there are thousands of flavorings that can be derived from a wide range of Halal and unacceptable ingredients, these additives are not necessarily Halal. Natural flavors might be produced from plant ingredients, in which case they are likely Halal. They can also come from pork ingredients, or cows that were not slaughtered according to Islamic standards. Similarly, alcohol-based flavorings such as pure vanilla extract which are diluted and sometimes burned off in the production process may be unacceptable. In tiny amounts, they cannot cause intoxication and so are accepted by some Halal authorities. However, this is dependent on the level of residual alcohol concentration in the finished product, and some Muslims also take the view that even a very small amount contaminates the whole product. Either way, these types of flavorings create doubt about the product’s acceptability. Adding a Halal certification to your ice cream product, especially if it contains mono- and diglycerides and added flavors, would remove any doubt Muslim consumers may have about the acceptability of your products.
Ice cream is an extremely popular product – Halal certification makes yours stand out!
Halal certification can be a great investment: a major benefit of Halal certification for ice cream is the popularity of the product itself! This is true all over the world - in the US and Europe and from Morocco to Malaysia, supermarkets and corner stores sell ice cream treats from freezer chests. People love ice cream, but they also want to be sure that it meets the religious standards that are important to them. In fact, this is an often-asked question online: which ice creams are Halal? Dozens of websites, forums, and blogs offer lists of Halal and unacceptable products, and many companies include consumer questions about ice cream on their FAQ page.
Rather than making consumers comb through extensive lists to see if your product is acceptable, add a Halal certification and make it the easy choice at the supermarket.
Halal certification also indicates purity and high productions standards to consumers
Unfortunately, while there are many high-quality ice cream products on the market, there are many not-so-good ones too: products made with artificial colors and flavors, and fluffed up with stabilizers and gums. While many of these ingredients can potentially be Halal suitable, Halal certification indicates a higher standard of purity, and many consumers associate a Halal seal with higher quality products. Regardless of whether or not a consumer is specifically looking for Halal products, certification indicates that the manufacturer has nothing to hide, and that they care enough about consumer confidence that they have taken extra steps to bolster it. Consider adding Halal certification from Islamic Services of America (ISA) to your product to make it stand out.
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