Completely Peeled the Critical Points of Halal-ness of the Capsule Shell

Hearing the term capsule shell, is closely related to drugs and supplements, be it chemical or herbal. This is because the capsule shell is a technology that has many benefits. Two of them facilitate the consumption of drugs (mainly because of their bitter aroma and taste) and protect the drug from air and light (hygroscopic).

Generally, capsule shells are made of gelatin or seaweed (carrageenan). Ir. Chilwan Pandji, M.Apt.Sc., lecturer at the Faculty of Industrial Technology, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) as well as the Supervisory Board of LPPOM MUI, explained that gelatin capsule technology was chosen by pharmaceutical producers because it is superior in bioavailability, apart from being easier to modify in terms of biopharmacetic. 

Gelatin raw materials are generally skin and bones from mammals, such as cows and pigs. Broadly speaking, the source of gelatin for the manufacture of capsules is divided into type A gelatin which comes from the skin of both cattle and pork and type B gelatin which comes from both beef and pork bones, “explained Chilwan.

This source of gelatin is the biggest critical point of the capsule shell. According to Dr. Mala Nurimala, S.Pi., M.Si., Lecturer at the Department of Aquatic Product Technology, Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, IPB University as well as a researcher at the Halal Science Center IPB, gelatin is a protein derived compound obtained by extracting animal collagen. Usually, gelatin comes in powder or sheet form.

“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 pigs, ”said Mala. Therefore, Mala and her team are still developing alternative sources of halal collagen and gelatin derived from fish skin. 

Apart from the source, the next critical point for the halal-ness of gelatin lies during the extraction process. There are several ways to extract collagen into gelatin, namely by using acid, alkaline, and enzymatic methods. Therefore, the source and the halal of the type of solvent must be ascertained.

If the collagen is extracted using enzymes, the enzyme used is the protease enzyme, which can break down proteins. However, so far the protease enzymes that are widely sold come from pigs, such as pepsin.

Therefore, it takes knowledge and accurate supporting methods to be able to find out every ingredient used in making gelatin. One of the things that can be done is to perform laboratory analysis to identify pig DNA and pig-specific proteins.

“The results of the lab analysis can provide confidence and comfort with scientific proof, in the halal certification process. So, it can ward off any claims that may occur from interested parties,” said Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Sc., Deputy Director of LPPOM MUI. 

On the basis of all that, it is important for Muslims to really select the products to be consumed, including drugs and supplements. Now, selecting halal products is not a complicated matter. LPPOM MUI presents a list of halal products through the website and the Halal MUI application. Both can be accessed by the public easily and transparently. (YN)

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