Canned Fish Is Not Necessarily Halal

Quoting the Al-Qur’an the letter of Al-Maidah verse 96: “Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food as provision for you and the travelers, but forbidden to you is game from the land as long as you are in the state of ihram. And fear Allah to whom you will be gathered.”

Rasulullah saw. said about the halalness of two carcasses and two types of blood:

“It has been halal for us two carcasses and two types of blood. The two carcasses are fish and grasshoppers. The two types of blood are the liver and spleen.” (HR. Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi).

Basically consuming fish is halal, including carcasses. However, along with changes in people’s lifestyles, the status of the fish become syubhat.

Today, fish dishes are served in various forms, such as fried, grilled, to preserved in cans to last longer. These various processed methods make the status of fish move into haram. For example, when frying fish used cooking oil containing pork, the fish becomes haram. When grilling fish involves substances that are not halal, then the status will also move into haram. Likewise, when preserved into canned fish, other ingredients need to be considered which have the potential to change the status of fish to be haram.

Canning is a processing technique by heating fish in tightly sealed cans to deactivate enzymes, kill microorganisms, and change raw fish into ready-to-serve products but the nutritional value is slightly decreased compared to fresh fish because the protein denaturation process is due to the heating process, but is higher when compared to vegetable protein sources such as tofu and tempeh.

The preservation method by canning was discovered by Nicholas Apert, a French scientist. Food canning is a method of preservation of food ingredients which are packaged hermetically, then sterilized. Hermetic packaging means that the cover is very tight so that it cannot be penetrated by air, water, oxidation damage, or changes in taste. In food canning, foodstuffs are packed hermetically in a container, either cans, glass or aluminum.

What are the aspects of halal canned fish?

According to the Halal Auditor of LPPOM MUI, Ir. Hendra Utama, canned fish are potentially syubhat when adding other spices. Tomato sauce is one canned fish seasoning. However, there are also other types of herbs, such as chili sauce, salt, or vegetable oil. Usually on packaging appearing beside trade names is the name of the product. For example, Sardines in Tomato Sauce or Chili Sauce, Mackarel in Tomato Sauce or Chili Sauce, or other types of fish such as Tuna in Oil or Tuna in Brine.

1. Tomato Sauce

The material that needs to be criticized is the addition of Canthaxanthin coloring agent. This is including the natural dye group. The types include the carotenoid pigment group. First, this type of pigment was isolated from fungi, although it was also found in green algae, crustaceans (shrimp, crabs, etc.), and certain fish. If raw materials come from materials like this, it shouldn’t be a problem. Then, where is the problem?

Natural dyes, during storage, tend to be unstable. To be stable, it is usually overlaid or coated with certain ingredients. The riskiest coating is gelatin. Because 40% of the world’s gelatin is produced from pork skin. Besides that, it also comes from the skin or bone of a cow.

If the gelatin comes from cows, it must be ensured that the slaughter is done in syar’i.

2. Chili Sauce

For chili sauce, the ingredients that need to be preserved are the use of flavor enhancers such as MSG or vitamin. MSG is a fermented product. According to MUI standards, for fermented products, what needs to be considered is the medium. Fermentation media must be clean of everything that is unclean, one that might be used as an auxiliary material is an enzyme, its halal must be ensured.

3. Tuna in Brine

If in brine tuna is tuna which is put into salt water, there is no fringe critical point, but if tuna in oil or tuna is included in oil, the oil source must be considered (whether vegetable or animal) and there are several other ingredients that also need to be criticized halalness.

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