Viral about Natto, What’s the Halal Critical Point?

Recently, the virtual universe has been discussing one type of traditional food from Japan, namely Natto. Generally, Japanese people consume natto with warm rice and mixed soy sauce. Some Japanese menus also mix natto as a complement to the dishes.

Although it is mainly made from plant-based ingredients that are included in the list of non-critical, in Indonesia with a Muslim majority population, of course, natto consumption is still the pros and cons of the halal aspect. What are the tipping points?

Let’s look ahead of how it is made. Natto is made from cooked soybean seeds. It aims to make bacterial spores easy to penetrate soybean seeds. Then, these soybeans are drained and given nattō-kin containing bacteria dominated by Bacillus subtilis, then stored for fermentation to occur. Once finished, natto is packaged and can be sold with a wide variety of seasonings, such as soy sauce and mustard.

Many consider the fermentation process to be one of the critical points of halalness of this product because it is considered to be able to produce by-products in the form of alcohol. In fact, not all fermentation can produce by-products in the form of alcohol.

In addition, the Fatwa of the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) Number 10 of 2018 concerning Food and Beverage Products Containing Alcohol / Ethanol states that fermented food products containing alcohol / ethanol are legally halal, as long as in the process do not use illicit ingredients and if medically not harmful.

Even so, it turns out that natto has a critical point of halalness that needs to be watched out for. Corporate Communication Manager The Institute for the Study of Food, Medicines, and Cosmetics of the Indonesian Ulema Council (LPPOM MUI), Raafqi Ranasasmita, M.Biomed, said that the media for growing Bacillus bacteria in the process of making natto is one of them.

“Traditionally, bacteria are taken from the rest of the previous production. However, its manufacture could have used a mycorbiological medium. The critical point of microbiological media lies in the source of nitrogen, which can come from meat extracts, meat hydrolysis peptones, and other ingredients,” explained Raafqi.

The origin of this meat that needs to be traced comes from halal animals slaughtered according to Islamic sharia. The next tipping point of halalness can be seen from complementary seasonings that may contain non-halal ingredients, such as liquor or meat broths whose halalness is not clear. In Japan, the use of khamr such as sake and mirin is commonly used as a mixture of dishes.

Therefore, it is important for Muslim consumers to always ensure the halalness of the product. To make it easier for Muslim consumers, LPPOM MUI provides a feature to check halal products on the website and the MUI Halal application which can be downloaded on the Playstore. (YN)

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