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Understanding MUI fatwa on ethanol levels in food and beverage products

By: Heryani — Halal Laboratory LPPOM MUI

MUI fatwas, like the world of medicine, are familiar with evidence-based fatwas. This is an advantage of the fatwa taken by the MUI, so that the MUI halal certification along with the HAS23000 halal standard (which is taken from the fatwa) become a reference for other halal certification bodies in the world. This can be seen, one of which is in the fatwa for determining the ethanol content of products that can be certified halal by the MUI.

Ethanol is one of the alcohol compounds that has the chemical formula C2H5OH. Naturally ethanol is found in ripe fruits, such as durian, pineapple, orange, and others. Commercially, ethanol is obtained from synthetic and fermented results. Synthetic ethanol is made from petrochemical ingredients through an ethylene hydration process, while fermented ethanol is made from vegetable materials containing starch or sugar with the help of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The result of the fermentation of these vegetable materials not only produce ethanol, but also other alcohol compounds so that it is necessary to carry out the ethanol separation process by distillation.

Then, what kind of ethanol can be used for products that will be mui halal certified? In the industrial world, ethanol is widely used in production processes such as solvents and extractors as well as as sanitary materials. Latest MUI Fatwa No. 10 Year 2018 concerning Food and Beverage Products Containing Alcohol / Ethanol states that only ethanol derived from khamr cannot be used for halal products because it is illegitimate and unclean. If it does not come from the khamr industry, other types of ethanol may be used with the restrictions set out in the fatwa. For example, synthetic ethanol or non-khamr fermentation industrial products.

In addition to the above, there are at least some new things contained in this fatwa. First, the ethanol content in the final product of the food is not limited as long as it is medically harmless. Secondly, the ethanol content in the final product of the drink is tolerated at less than 0.5% provided that it is medically harmless. Third, ethanol levels for intermediate products such as flavors and seasonings are not limited, as long as their use in the final product is in accordance with the first and second provisions. Of course, this non-harmful requirement for retail products has been evaluated by BPOM for granting product distribution permits. This latest rule changes the direction of the previous MUI fatwa that does not tolerate ethanol content in ready-to-consume foods and beverages.

So what is the underlying MUI Fatwa in providing limits on ethanol content in beverages? As it turns out, the answer is research. Every halal certification issued by the MUI is based on fatwas that can be accounted for shari’a and scientifically. Some scientists have long asked about the intolerability of ethanol content. Whereas many of its fruits and processed products naturally contain ethanol and never cause hangover (Table 1).

Table 1 Ethanol content in fruits and their processed products (Gunduz et. al. 2013)

No.MaterialEthanol content (% w/w)
1Citrus Fruits0.21 x 10-1
2Pears0.19 x 10-1
3Lemon Fruit0.82 x 10-2
4Pineapple Fruit0.48 x 10-2
5Apples0.76 x 10-3
6Orange Juice0.42 x 10-3
7Orange Concentrate0,68
8Grape Juice0.94 x 10-3 – 0.84 x 10-2
9Wine Vinegar0.38 x 10-2
10Apple Vinegar0,0145 – 0,44

Finally, Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Si representing the halal certification body LPPOM MUI, tried to study this matter. He was assisted by Rahajeng Aditya, a student of the Department of Food Science and Technology IPB, who conducted a research entitled Analysis of the Halal Certification Process and Scientific Study of Alcohol as a Substance in Khamr at the Institute for the Study of Food, Medicines and Cosmetics of the Indonesian Ulema Council (LPPOM MUI) under the guidance of alm. Dr.. Ir. Dahrul Shah. Research was conducted to stimulate the hadith of the prophet H.R. Muslims of Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. in the Book of Sahih Muslim 23 No. 4971 related to nabidz ( ???? ) which mentions that Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. says that nabidz was prepared for Prophet Muhammad pbuh in the evening, then in the morning he drank it, then drank it again the next morning and evening (the second day). Likewise in the morning and evening the next day again (the third day) i.e. on ashar. If there is still left, he gives it to the maid, or tells her to throw it away.

Based on the hadith above, LPPOM MUI conducted research on grapes, apples, and dates that were fermented for 5 days at a temperature of 29 °C to measure ethanol, sugar and acid fraction content every day with an HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) tool. The results are very interesting. After being stored in a sealed container with microaerophilic conditions, samples from grapes, apples, and dates respectively produced ethanol of 0.76% (v/v), 0.32% (v/v), and 0.33% (v/v) on the third day. When the storage time is extended to 5 days, the ethanol concentration is still below 1% (v/v).

Another study was reported by Najiha et. al. (2010) which conducted the same experiment using dates, grapes, andraisins made by Nabidz and analyzed using the GC-FID (Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detector) tool. The results of this study recommend that ethanol levels that are still allowed at 0.78% based on observations on the third day. In addition, Rizqiyah (2007) reported that nabidh from dates on the third day contained ethanol by 0.51% (w/w). From some of these studies, the MUI Fatwa Commission did not take the limit of the highest yield (0.78%), but took a safer limit for caution, which was 0.5%.

These studies show how scientific the decision-making method of the MUI Fatwa Commission is. Scientific standards will be easily accepted by academics and the industrial world as users.


  1. Aditya R, Shah D, Arintawati. 2015. Fermentation Profiles of Nabidh (Fruit Juice). Journal of Halal Research. 1(1):25-29.
  2. The latest MUI fatwa on No. 10 years 2018 about Food and Beverage Products Containing Alcohol / Ethanol
  3. Gunduz S, Yilmaz H, Goren AC. 2013. Halal Food and Metrology: Ethyl Alcohol Contents of Beverages. J. Chem. Metrol. 7(1):7-9.
  4. Najiha AA, Tajul AY, Norziah MH, WanNadiah WA. 2010. A Preliminary Study on Halal Limits for Ethanol Content in Food Products. Meadle-East Journal of Scientific Research. 6(1):45-50.
  5. Rizqiyah R. 2007. Effect of Variations in The Time of Deepening on the Ethanol Content of Date Juice (Scientific Analysis of the Prophet’s Hadith). UIN Sunan Kalijaga. Yogyakarta.

Photo source: satujam.com

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