South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)
Yoghurt on a Sticky Wicket  
September 2010 : Shawaal 1431

Yoghurt, today’s modern super food with its proven enormous health benefits is actually one of the world’s oldest processed foods. The evidence of this production is recorded as far back as 4500 years ago in Asia and Eastern Europe. It was spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria living in goat skin bags carried by the nomadic people such as the Bulgurs in the Caucasus regions.

Yoghurt plays an important role in the cuisines and health of nations such as Turkey, Greece, India, Middle Eastern, Asian and Eastern European countries. Yoghurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. People who are moderately lactose-intolerant can consume yoghurt without ill effects and it may also be used in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. It is believed to promote good gum health.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity (11 January 2005) also found that the consumption of low-fat yoghurt can promote weight loss. The French label it as “la lait de la vie eternelle – the milk of eternity” for is therapeutic power.

Making yoghurt at home can be a simple and gratifying process and much material abounds in the library, internet and with local cookery authors. A traditionally produced yoghurt will require no stabilizers to produce a firm fine gel.

Commercially produced yoghurt that needs to be pumped, stirred, fruited, flavoured and filled and pasteurized through a heat process will definitely require to be stabilized. And the most popular “magic binder” that gives “smoothness and sheen” to dairy products is the animal by product of gelatin. It is commonly derived from pig skin, cattle hides, bones, tendons, ligaments and hooves of animals and less frequently from poultry and fish.

There are two views in the Islamic world on the Halaal status of gelatin. Some Ulama contend that a drastic metamorphic change described in Islamic jurisprudence as Tabdeelul Mahiyat occurs during the production process thereby rendering the impure collagenous tissue into Halaal gelatin protein. Those that follow this ruling are entitled to do so in keeping with their individual responsibility and accountability with the Creator.

However, SANHA and a majority of Ulama locally and internationally hold fast to the view that Halaal gelatin can only be made from material of Halaal animals slaughtered according to Shariah laws. This principle should not be compromised by pandering to commercial interests that seek to serve the market with “cheaper gelatin” from the larger pool of non Halaal slaughter.


For a list of yoghurt manufacturers certified by SANHA who do not use by products from non Halaal animals in the manufacture of yoghurt click here or send your request to HELPLINE - Email: helpline@sanha.org.za Tel: 0861 786 111.


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