Syrup and its Critical Point

The syrup has been broadly well known. This instant drink appears on the print and electronic media almost every day. Especially in the month of Ramadan and before Ied Al- Fitr. The syrup has been the icon whenever Indonesian Muslims perform the iftar. The tantalizing colors make us even more thirsty.

In traditional markets, supermarkets and minimarkets are also competing to display and provide promos related to this syrup product. Various brands and flavors of syrup make this product not only delicious to drink directly with water, but also a mixture of other dishes such as fruit ice, mixed ice, pudding, milkshakes, ice blends, smoothies, cocktails, and other products. (HalalMUI)

Be Extra Careful of the Following Ingredients

As same as the processed products, syrup also has a critical halal point that we as consumers should know. Based on the HalalMUI interview with the Executive Director of LPPOM MUI, Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Si., said that there are many ingredients in syrup besides water as the biggest ingredient. These materials are usually sugar, fruit concentrate, colorants, flavors, acidity regulators, preservatives, stabilizers, and artificial sweeteners.

Of these ingredients, they must be aware of their halalness, because they may come from products with unclear halal status. Materials to watch out for include sugar, fruit concentrate, flavor, acidity regulator, and artificial sweeteners.

One of the ingredients is sugar, for example, even though it comes from vegetables, its halal status can be a blessing. The source of the raw material for sugar is sugar cane or beets. However, during the process, the halal sugarcane or beet extract results in contact with other additives that may not be halal, such as in the bleaching process. In the industrial field, this type of sugar is called refined sugar. The critical point of prohibition of refined sugar lies in the refinery process, which is the stage of the process that uses certain ingredients to whiten the sugar. The bleaching process sometimes uses activated charcoal.

If it is analyzed from the aspect of ingredients, activated charcoal can come from coconut shells, sawdust, coal, or animal bones. If it is used vegetable ingredients, surely there is no need to doubt their halalness. “However, if the activated charcoal comes from pork bones, it is clear that the sugar will become unclear or haram. Meanwhile, if the activated charcoal comes from a cow, it must be ensured that the cow is slaughtered based on Islamic Rules or Sharia,” he told HalalMUI.

Another ingredient in the syrup that must be criticized is concentrate. Fruit concentrate is an additional ingredient to add to the syrup’s taste so that it resembles or is the same as a certain fruit, for example, orange, guava, mango, grape, or others. At first glance, this fruit concentrate will not be a problem it is seen by its halal status. However, even though it comes from fruit, the concentrate may also use additional ingredients that are doubted its halalness. For example, to make the material is not turbid, additional materials such as enzymes or gelatine are needed. Talking about enzymes, what must be ascertained is the source of the enzyme, whether it comes from plants, animals, or microbial.

If the enzyme is obtained from the enzyme microbial, it must be ensured that it uses media that is free from haram and unclean substances. If the syrup purifier uses gelatine, it must be ensured that the gelatine comes from a halal source. Because in the industrial field, the raw material for gelatine comes from animal bones and skins. The problem is, most of the gelatine used in Indonesia comes from abroad.

The taste and variants of the syrup also come from the flavor. Without these substances, it is difficult for syrup producers to produce syrup if the fruit flavor comes from fresh fruit. This is because fresh fruits are not always available because of their seasonal nature. So that the flavor is used. The flavor is made industrially and sometimes the elements of the fruit are not contained in it and only use ingredients derived from the synthesis of certain chemicals, which must also be criticized for their halal status.

Muti emphasized that another ingredient in the syrup is an acid regulator or citric acid. Citric acid is a microbial product, so it is processed microbial as well. The producers of this material must use microbial growth media that is free from haram and unclean ingredients.

Artificial sweeteners are also a concern. An artificial sweetener that can be problematic is aspartame. This artificial sweetener consists of two amino acids, they are phenylalanine and aspartic acid. These two amino acids are also processed microbial, of course, they must meet the halal requirements of microbial products.

Selecting the Halal Products

It is not difficult to determine which syrup is safe and halal to be consumed. The easiest way is to see the MUI halal logo on the syrup label or packaging. Moreover, it can also be checked the halalness of the syrup through the website, Halal Journal magazine, HalalMUI Apps on Android.

Keep in mind to pay attention to the condition of the packaging that the syrup is not damaged, leaks, or turbid. The validity period or expired date must also be considered so that the syrup we consume is not only halal but also safe (thayyib) for consumption. (AH) 

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