Pork Vegan, using plant-based ingredients but cannot be halal-certified

Meat Vegan, this term is very popular among vegetarians. The reason is, vegan meat has an aroma, texture, and taste that is closer to real meat. Not only beef or chicken, but even vegan meat with pork flavors can also now be created as the culinary world continues to develop. In the market, this product is circulating as vege BBQ pork, vege pulled pork, vege roast pork, vege beef meat, vege beef ball, and others.

As is well known, undoubtedly that Muslims are forbidden to eat pork. As has been mentioned in the Al-Qur’an, surah Al-An’am verse 145, Say, “I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it is a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine – for indeed, it is impure – or it is [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah.1 But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.”

The basic principle of making vegan meat using vegetable protein, such as soy or wheat. Then processed with modern technology to produce a product with very high protein content, like meat in general.

In its manufacture, this pork-flavored vegan meat does not involve prohibited ingredients in the manufacturing process. So, does this allow Muslims to consume it?

Even though vegan meat is made from plant-based ingredients, it cannot be certified halal, and Muslims are advised not to eat it.

This is based on the Fatwa of the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) Number 4 of 2003 concerning the Standardization of Halal Fatwa, one of the points is to determine the problem of using names and materials, which consists of four things. First, the product must not use the name and/or symbols of food/drink that lead to kufr and falsehood.

Second, the product must not use the name and/or symbols of food / drink that point to the names of prohibited objects/animals, especially pork and khamr, except those that have been traditional (‘urf) and certainly do not contain elements that are prohibited such as the names of meatballs, noodle, bakwanbakpia, and meat bun.

Third, the product must not use mixed ingredients for food/beverage components that create the taste/aroma of prohibited objects or animals, such as pork-flavored instant noodles, bacon flavor, etc.

Fourth, the product must not consume foods/drinks that use the names of prohibited foods/drinks, such as whiskey, brandy, beer, etc.

The regulation regarding this matter is also stated in the Decree of the Director of the Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics Indonesian Council of Ulama (LPPOM MUI) Number 46 of 2014 concerning Provisions for Writing Product Names and Product Forms. In addition to the Decree of the Board of Directors, there are also Halal Assurance System Criteria (SJH) which serve as a guide for all LPPOM MUI halal auditors in serving halal certification.

In the criteria of Halal Assurance System (SJH) in the “Product” section, it is emphasized that the characteristics / sensory profile of the product must not have a tendency to smell or taste that leads to haram products or those that have been declared haram based on the MUI fatwa.

“Product names containing pork and dog names and their derivatives, such as roast pork, fried pork, beef bacon, hamburgers, hot dogs. Even though they do not use ingredients derived from pork and their derivatives, the naming of products as above, halal certification cannot also be done,” said Executive Director of the Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics Indonesian Council of Ulama (LPPOM MUI), Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Si

That is caution and protection from LPPOM MUI so that Muslim consumers do not approach and consume unclean or haram products. If Muslims are accustomed to consuming products that resemble haram ingredients, it is feared that someone will get used to the taste, aroma, or texture. So that one cannot distinguish between a haram product when accidentally consuming a food product that is haram, because the sensory properties are identical or difficult to distinguish

In addition to things that resemble the haram, the source of the ingredients used in vegan pork turns out to be a kind of microorganism enzyme which is still unclear whether it is halal. Muslims should avoid products that have not been verified as halal.

In the composition of pork vegetarian products, there are whey protein and vegetarian essence. Whey protein can be obtained from the products of agglomeration from the cheese processing industry. However, the source of the coagulant material can be derived from the enzymes of microorganisms, therefore the halal status of whey makes the protein very doubtful.

Meanwhile, vegetarian essence consists of various chemical compounds that must be examined in detail on their halal status. On the other hand, vegan products do not require alcohol-free khamr in the composition of the product so it is possible to use yeast when producing them.

As Muslim consumers, we need to be critical when 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 or the HalalMUI application which can be downloaded via Playstore (Android). (ZUL/YN)

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