Answered by: Maulana Mohammed Haroon Hussain
Please advise me. Many Muslims buy baked beans, tomato ketchup, crisps etc from supermarkets. Popular brands such as Heinz have told me their products cannot be certified as halal, and Branston’s who make baked beans etc also said “we do not certify our products as halal”
Yet Muslims are buying these brands as they have ‘suitable for vegetarian’ on their packaging. Now I’m concerned. Do I have to phone every brand I use, say Asda to ask if their baked beans, ketchup etc are halal? Because most likely they wouldn’t be making non-animal-containing products in a separate closed-off area from the animal products. The companies are all about making a profit and not ensuring products are halal. Yes, they have the suitable for the vegetarian sign but as Heinz pointed out – their vegetarian products are not halal. What can be done as many Muslims consume supermarket food across the UK? One company, Bisto, told me they manufacture vegetarian products on the same production line as their animal products. But she also said a full clean of the line is done in between. In this scenario what is acceptable? Jazakallah khayran for your time
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
There is no doubt that staying away from the doubtful is the best path for a Muslim to choose because that is what we have been advised.
إن الحلال بين، وإن الحرام بين، وبينهما مشتبهات لا يعلمهن كثير من الناس، فمن اتقى الشبهات، استبرأ لدينه وعرضه
What is lawful is clear and what is unlawful is clear, but between them are certain doubtful things which many people do not know. So he who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and his honour blameless.1
When it comes to something being “suitable for vegetarians” that means that it does not contain any animal product therefore it is most likely halal also. A Muslim should not rely purely on “suitable for vegetarians” but should also double-check to make sure there is no alcohol added. Most of the time, products that are suitable for vegetarians are also halal whether or not the manufacturer says it. As long as there is no haraam substance inside it, it will be considered halal.
The best thing to do would be to ask the manufacturers why the substance is not halal. Essentially halal and suitable for vegetarians is almost identical (as far as they are concerned) besides the addition of alcohol. So what makes them say that it is not halal? They may not want to get into the legalities and technicalities of calling it halal so they just stick to saying it is suitable for vegetarians only.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammed Haroon Hussain
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 Sahih Muslim 1599a (Book 22, Hadith 133)