When you are in an area where the majority are not Muslim, vegetarian restaurants are generally a choice for Muslims. The reason is, the restaurant does not serve meat-based menus whose halalness is doubtful. However, is it true that various vegetarian dishes are halal guaranteed?
Even though vegan food is made from vegetables or plant-based ingredients, a vegan menu has an aroma, texture, and taste close to real meat. Veganism circles usually refer to this food as vegan meat.
Today, veganism has become a way of life. A vegan diet is considered to be a solution to reduce the risk of diseases caused by an animal diet, such as obesity disorders, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
However, it turns out that some vegetarians still allow the use of meat seasonings, meat broth, gelatin, and dairy products in their food and drink menus. If explored deeper, these materials have a high critical point of prohibition. This needs to be a concern for Muslims.
An example is the use of flavor. According to the Halal Audit Service, Dr. Ir. Muslich, M.Si., one type of flavor can consist of 70 ingredients. Of course, this cannot be seen with the naked eye, so it requires knowledge of the process and the material through laboratory testing.
Next, the broth. Generally, the broth is made by boiling meat or animal bones, it can come from beef, chicken, fish, or pork. Therefore, the source of the broth must be ensured from halal animals slaughtered according to Islamic standards.
Then there is also gelatin. This material is a protein-derived compound obtained by extracting animal collagen. Unfortunately, until now, there are no producers that produce collagen commercially in Indonesia.
“Nearly 60% of the world’s use of collagen and gelatin comes from porcine,” said Dr. Mala Nurimala, S.Pi., M.Si., Lecturer at the Department of Aquatic Products Technology, Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, IPB University as well as a researcher at the Halal Science Center IPB.
The next critical point of the imperative is dairy products. Cheese, for example, comes from cow, sheep, goat, or camel milk. Then it takes microorganisms (such as the enzyme rennet, pepsin, renin, renilation) into the milk clotting process.
“The rennet enzyme used can come from the microbial process or the stomach of the calf. If it comes from a microbial process, it must be ensured that the media used for microbial growth does not contain prohibited ingredients. Meanwhile, if it comes from the stomach of a calf, the method of slaughter will determine its halalness,” explained Executive Director of LPPOM MUI, Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Si.
The use of liquor or rum also needs to be watched out for. Because, vegetarians do not prohibit liquor or the like, either to be drunk or used in cooking additives.
As Muslim consumers, we need to be extra careful in choosing any food. At least we need to find information on whether vegetarian food has the opportunity to use ingredients that are haram and unclean or not. You can find a list of halal products on the website www.halalmui.org or the HalalMUI application which can be downloaded via Playstore (Android). (ZUL/YN)