Sunday, May 6, 2007


3 May 07
Most people know Muslims don’t eat pork. However Halal (“permissible”) food requirements are much more complicated than a simple commandment not to eat pork. We like to share our care packages with the Iraqis but whenever we give them something they thoroughly study the ingredients before they eat the contents. Much like Kosher foods, Halal foods must be prepared in a certain way. For example beef or chicken is Halal only if it has been slaughtered with a knife. It is not Halal to strangle the animal. Additionally it is not Halal to feed animals hormones, etc. Essentially, they observe the same laws spelled out in the Old Testament.

Some foods that we wouldn’t give a second thought to are not Halal like Doritos. Arab Muslims, on the other hand, read the label of all western foods and look for Yellow 5 on the label. There are several types of Yellow 5 but one form of Yellow 5 is made from pork-based oil. Yellow 5 is in thousands of processed foods/products (i.e. Tylenol, Crayola crayons, M&Ms, Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit, etc). If Yellow 5 is present in the ingredients they won’t touch/eat it. You can’t really tell the difference in the Yellow 5 family so Iraqis simply avoid all Yellow 5.

We recently learned, however, that there are several Halal/Kosher food processing inspection groups that inspect foods and label them with a Halal/Kosher inspection label if the item meets standards. Generally speaking, if a food is Kosher it is also Halal (unless the item contains alcohol as an ingredient). If you look on the label of M&Ms there is a U with a circle around it which means it means it has been inspected by the Orthodox Union and they are Halal/Kosher…there are two types of Yellow 5 and M&Ms have the Halal/Kosher type.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the labels but I know I never realized their significance. We’ve also introduced it to the Iraqis but they are still cautious of Yellow 5. Below are the most common Halal/Kosher labels:

Unfortunately for my Iraqi friends, Doritos have pork-base Yellow 5…oh well, that just means more in the world for me!


emitch1 said...

Too funny! Hasn't someone figured that what they don't know won't kill them? Uh, um...perhaps that was a bad choice of analagies...

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Anonymous said...

thanks for information on yellow 5, it was very useful.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Just passing through and happened along your blog. Can you please show me a scientific article (meaning one other from wikianswers) that shows that yellow 5 comes from pork? Everything I look up says it's made from petroleum. I'm not doubting you, just looking for some answers :)

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