Are Mono & Diglycerides Halal?

June 14, 2011
Food Scientists at ISA analyze additives, flavors, colors, and ingredients in common consumables to ensure Halal Compliance.

What are Mono & Diglycerides and are they Halal?

 
This is one of the many questions that we are frequently asked to provide clarification and explanation on, so we thought we’d share some information in print on this subject.

 

 If you haven’t noticed, it just so happens that you can find mono & diglycerides just about everywhere and in just about any food product from peanut butter to ice cream to bakery products. All you have to do is look at the ingredient list on any store shelf and you’ll find mono & diglycerides in their list.


What are mono & diglycerides?


Mono & diglycerides are fatty acids usually derived from triglycerides or phospholipids which are both hydrophilic - attracted to water, and hydrophobic - repelled by water. Triglycerides are an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids. It is the main constituent of animal fats and vegetable oils.


What are mono & diglycerides used for?


Mono & diglycerides are used as emulsifier in many foods. Emulsifiers are a substance that stabilizes an emulsion by increasing its kinetic stability. The simplest way of explaining this is by referring to the phrase “Oil and water don’t mix”, or at least if they do, they will soon separate. However, through the use of emulsifier, the emulsion will not separate, because mono & diglycerides are both hydrophilic and hydrophobic, so they are soluble in both water and fat and are used to keep oils from separating in products. Mono & diglycerides will also increase the shelf life of products.


What is their source?


Mono & diglycerides are most commonly derived from the skin and bones of animals. The most common source is swine, but they can also be derived from the hides or bones of bovine (beef) sources as well. In addition to animal sources of origin, mono & diglycerides can also be derived from vegetable sources such as canola or soy.

Mono & diglycerides derived from vegetable sources are more expensive. Likewise when  food producers go to the extra expense of using mono & diglycerides of vegetable origin they are generally doing so to meet the dietary needs of various consumers who cannot consume animal derivatives. These consumers can be restricted by religious dietary requirements, personal choice not to consume animal products, health concerns, allergies, or other variables that restrict consumption of animal products.  Likewise if the mono & diglycerides are not noted as being sourced from soy or vegetable origin it is likely and safe to assume that they are derived from an animal source of origin.


Conclusion; Halal (Permissable) or Haram (Forbidden)?


Because too often there are no specific indicators pertaining to the source of origin for mono & diglycerides, one must assume that their primary source of origin is from swine due to industry preference for its properties and lower cost. Needless to say, it is very likely that the product with mono & diglycerides that you find in the store is Haram.

 

If the mono & diglycerides were of bovine origin, they would only be considered Halal if the animal that they were derived from was subject to a Halal slaughter and the processing of skin and bone was consistent with international Halal standards and Shariah.


If the source of origin for mono & diglycerides was derived from a vegetable such as soy or canola, it would be deemed Halal.

 

 

For more information please contact:

Islamic Services of America

319-362-0480

phabhab@isahalal.org

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