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Complete Misguidedness about Alcohol

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Ordinary people know alcohol, ambiguous with alcoholic beverages (khamr) as a liquid that if drunk can be intoxicating. Meanwhile, industry players know alcohol as ethanol which is widely used as a solvent, disinfectant or auxiliary agent in a production process both in the process of making food, medicines, to cosmetics.

Chemically, alcohols are compounds with a characteristic hydroxyl group (-OH) and are one of the names of groups of organic compounds. Ethanol is one of the compounds in the alcohol family in addition to other compounds, such as methanol, propanol, butanol, propylene glycol and so on. It's just that in everyday life, alcohol is generally identified with ethanol.

This is because ethanol is used as a base in alcoholic beverages, not methanol, or other alcohol groups. Likewise with alcohol used in the pharmaceutical world. Judging from the manufacturing process, ethanol can be divided into ethanol by-product of the khamr industry and ethanol from the non-khamr industry, either the result of petrochemical-based chemical synthesis or the result of the non-khamr fermentation industry.

In industry, according to a professor of IPB University as well as a senior auditor of the Institute for the Study of Food, Medicines, and Cosmetics of the Indonesian Ulema Council (LPPOM MUI), Prof. Dr.. Ir. Purwantiningsih M.S., ethanol is often used as a disinfectant, additive and auxiliary ingredient in the production of food, beverages, medicines to cosmetics.

"Ethanol is used as a disinfectant, because ethanol can inhibit or kill microorganisms (for example bacteria, viruses and fungi except bacterial spores) on the surface of inanimate objects, such as furniture, rooms, floors, and others," explained Purwantiningsih.

Ethanol, he continued, is also used as a helper or additive, which acts as a solvent or enhancer of the aroma and taste of food. In the use of ethanol-containing ingredients such as rum, mirin, angciu, or sake as an additive to foods that use a high heating or roasting process, the ethanol will evaporate, but the aroma and taste of the added rum, mirin, angciu, or sake are still attached and give the desired aroma.

For example, rum is usually used to make cookie dough, so that the cake lasts more and also binds the aroma well. In the manufacture of steaks often added red wine or white wine, various seafood dishes or fried rice are sometimes added angciu, and in various Japanese dishes mirin is added.

"While in the drug or perfume industry, ethanol is usually used as a solvent (solven), while in some flavor and herbal medicine industries, ethanol is usually used as a process helper to extract a component in a material," said Purwantiningsih.

For example, essential oil plants are extracted with ethanol to take their essential oil (essential oil) or other components of the compound. At the end of the process, ethanol is evaporated and a residue is obtained with a relatively low amount of ethanol content.

Due to the many possibilities of a product using alcohol or ethanol, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) regulates the use of alcohol in food, beverage, drug, and cosmetic products. Here are some MUI fatwas regulating the use of alcohol.

1. MUI Fatwa Number 11 of 2009 concerning Alcohol Law

2. MUI Fatwa Number 11 of 2018 concerning Cosmetic Products Containing Alcohol / Ethanol

3. MUI Fatwa Number 40 of 2018 concerning the Use of Alcohol / Ethanol for Medicinal Materials

4. MUI Fatwa Number 10 of 2018 concerning Food and Beverage Products Containing Alcohol / Ethanol (*)

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