South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)


June 2020 : Shawaal 1441

The all-pervasive multi-functional ingredient used extensively by the food and allied industry. Favoured for its unique properties of dramatically enhancing a product without affecting the taste, colour or odour, it is a derivative of collagen which is the most common protein in the animal kingdom.

This animal by-product is commonly derived from pig skin, cattle hides, bones, tendons, ligaments and hooves of animals and less frequently from poultry and fish. This raw material is treated with hydrochloric acid and a process of acidified hot water with a filtering and cooling process. The remaining liquid is evaporated, purified and made available in sheets, shreds, flakes or coarse powder.

Most gelatine is one of two types:-

  • Type A is exclusively made from pork skins.
  • Type B is made from cattle skins or bones and are usually from non-Halaal slaughtered animals. In terms of current labelling laws, no legislation exists where processors are obliged to disclose this ingredient on their packaging. Hence, terms like gelling agent, stabilisers etc., is used at times. A non-specified gelatine is highly questionable and could even possibly be pork gelatine.


Gelatine, is the “magic binder” and gives “smoothness” and “sheen” to dairy products such as yoghurt, processed cheese, sour cream and ice cream. Chocolates, sweets, jams, pastries, marshmallow, cheesecakes, jellies etc. at times also contains gelatine as a smoothing and stabilizing agent.

Even meat processors and the general food industry may use gelatine in varied applications such as jellied meats, flavours, corned meats and even as a clarifying agent for cider and fruit juices.


You will be amazed at the extensive use of gelatine in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Gelatine is used as a binding, moisturizing and coating agent. Gelatine is commonly used by this industry in the manufacture of both the hard and soft type capsules. You will also find it in some tablets, lozenges, cough drops, suppositories and as a carrier in certain dietary supplements.

As for cosmetic, frequent use is made as an emulsifying and soothing agent. Creams, wave set lotions and the protein in “protein” shampoos and hair conditioners can be from gelatine. Amazingly, gelatine is also used in the manufacture of rubber substitutes, adhesives, lithographic and printing inks, photographic plates, films and matches.


Our position on gelatine is well-known, consistent and remains unchanged over the years. Some Ulama contend that a drastic metamorphic change occurs in the non-Halaal animal material used in gelatine manufacture thereby rendering the impure collagenous protein into Halaal gelatine.

Many Ulama and International Halaal certification bodies are of the view that such metamorphic change does NOT occur and therefore they do not accept this view. They have adopted a very holistic position on gelatine and other such ingredients of non-Halaal animal origin used in food production.

SANHA's Theological Committee holds the latter view and reiterates that it is not acceptable to use raw material of such origin in the manufacture of food products when an abundance of Halaal raw material is available.

SANHA understands the existence of differing views. It recommends to those that have confidence in us and are guided by our pronouncements, that all products containing gelatine from such sources be avoided.

Be a stickler on the instruction of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), where he stated, “leave that which is doubtful for that which is free from doubt”.

Your Duas, constructive comments, criticism and feedback is truly appreciated
  facebook      twitter      instagram
View in printable pdf View in pdf