What is halal certification? It is a certification provided for beverages and certain other food items to provide the Muslim community a sense of relief and assurance it’s permitted to consume under Muslim law. Halal certification is essential to protect the consumer rights of Muslims, assure the certainty of affirming religious principles, and provide the consumer with a sense of comfort and protection over prohibited food. This article will focus on halal food and certification needs and its importance to the Muslim community, and what ingredients make it halal. And the most frequently asked question, ‘Is mozzarella cheese halal,’ are there any alternatives for non-halal cheese and different available brands?
What Halal Certification Means and Why It Is Important to Muslims?
What is halal? Halal is the Arabic for lawful or permitted. So, when you say halal food, it means food permitted or lawful to consume and use. So halal certification, on the other hand, refers to the certificate or certification to prove a company’s product is produced following the Islamic guidelines on lawful ingredients and production techniques.
Here are some of the criteria the certificate serves:
- The product or process should comply completely with Islamic rulings on halal consumption.
- Make sure it is manufactured with the best hygiene practices and safety measures.
- The halal products should not include any chemical, substances, objects, or environmental conditions that serve to be impure or prohibited by Islamic law.
- Halal certification on food and beverages is provided when this ‘haram’ or ‘prohibited’ food items are excluded entirely from the production facility and store: pork, cattle slaughtered Islamically inappropriate, any carnivore animals, birds, insects, amphibians and reptiles, blood, alcohol, and other intoxicating food and drinks.
Is Mozzarella Cheese Halal?
As per Islamic rulings, not all cheese available in the consumption market is halal. And mozzarella, among them, is a very popular cheese no one can resist. We need it for cheese sticks, pasta, and pizza. Whether a cheese becomes halal or haram depends on the rennet used.
Well, if the rennet used for mozzarella cheese is that of the cow, goat, or sheep, vegetarian or microbial: The cheese is halal to consume. It is essential to check the ingredient list and, most importantly, the halal certification logo on the package in black or green.
On the other hand, it is debatable on animal rennet used. Animal rennet is an enzyme extracted from the animal’s stomach to digest milk. So, the rennet, according to Islamic principles, if extracted from pigs, becomes non-halal. And rennet is halal if only the animal is slaughtered according to Islamic law. Otherwise, the cheese made using rennet from unknown slaughter is considered non-halal.
The making of mozzarella cheese begins with the fermentation of milk by adding active bacteria. Next, the milk is coagulated using a rennet. This rennet will separate the milk curd. This curdled milk is removed and kneaded by stretching and forming mozzarella cheese.
How this cheese-making process affects the sources and halal certification depends on the source of rennet used;
- Animal Rennet: If the rennet is extracted from baby goats, cows, or sheep, it must be slaughtered Islamically. Then the source of mozzarella is halal. Otherwise, the cheese is non-halal. And if the rennet is extracted from pigs, consuming the mozzarella is prohibited.
- Vegetarian Rennet: Halal cheese can be produced using plant rennet extraction. Plants like nettle, fig, and thistle are used for coagulation. This kind of mozzarella is from a halal source and can be consumed without doubt or fear.
- Genetically Modified Sources: this refers to chymosin, an alternative to natural rennet used. As long as the extraction of chymosin is halal, the mozzarella produced using chymosin is also halal.
- Microbes: Some cottage industries for mozzarella use fungi extracts or mold extracts. This is a halal source of mozzarella production.
How to Identify Halal-certified Mozzarella Cheese Brands?
It is easy to identify halal mozzarella cheese brands. One way to find out is by looking for the halal logo on the package. The halal foods are provided with a halal sign or symbol indicating the food is permitted to consume.
In case the halal certification is not mentioned, make sure to check the ingredient list. If the ingredient list mentions 100% vegetarian or vegan, you can buy the cheese without a doubt. And, if it is not vegetarian or vegan, one can type in the brand name of the cheese on halal certification websites provided by google and confirm its permissibility.
If the ingredients mention animal rennet without specifying the animal, better avoid the cheese. It can be haram to consume sometimes.
Halal-Certified Mozzarella Cheese Brands
Here are some halal mozzarellas recommended from amazon and whole food markets: 365, Arla, Tillamook, Axelrod, Miller’s, Buf creme, Cabot cheese, Sorrento, Rumiano, mozzarella by PIZZA PIZZA, Schnall mozzarella, etc.
And here are some non-halal cheeses available in the market: Swiss knight, Saputo, Kraft single Swiss, Krinos, Black Diamond and Clear Field, Dorman, Happy Farm, Aldi, etc.
How to Make Halal Mozzarella Cheese at Home?
Many alternative homemade halal cheese recipes exist, with and without adding rennet. Let’s see how to make halal homemade mozzarella cheese without rennet and with halal rennet;
- First, gather all the necessary ingredients, such as a spoon, a dense or thick bottom pot, a thermometer, a clean cloth, or cling wrap, and the relevant ingredients.
- Pasteurized or raw whole milk 1 l
- Salt as required
- Vinegar ¼ cup or halal rennet-like fungi enzyme
- Water as required.
- Pour the milk into the thick and deep bottom pan. And place it on the stove at medium to medium-low. While heating, gently stir the milk with the spoon until the temperature reaches 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the thermometer to check.
- Now turn the stove off, and add the ¼ cup vinegar into the hot milk and stir it in for a few seconds (without rennet). Or else use fungi culture or enzyme and stir (with rennet).
- Next, place the milk pot aside with the lid closed; the milk will coagulate to form curd after around 20-30 minutes.
- Check whether the milk has curdled completely. If so, separate the curdled milk from the rest of the white liquid called whey.
- Now use a clean, thin cotton cloth, and place it in a bowl. Now pour the curd into the cloth and form a bundle squeezing the extra whey.
- Next, place the curd in a bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds or less. If you do not have a microwave, use a pot and heat it to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Now place the cheese in a bowl and stretch it for some time. Now, you can add salt as desired and stretch enough to make mozzarella.
- Knead the mozzarella into a neat ball, place it in cold water or ice, and refrigerate it overnight or for at least 20 minutes.
- Take the cheese ball out, wipe it with a paper serviette, and use it.
Halal-Certified Mozzarella Cheese Alternatives
Here are some halal alternatives to mozzarella cheese that are similar in texture and taste. One is halal Gouda, Provolone, and Cheddar. Even Fontina would be a good alternative. The substitutes aren’t limited to the above. One can buy other substitutes from halal-certified brands like feta, paneer, and Cotija.
Look at this video,
Video Credits – Assimalhakeem
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