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Being a muslim in a non-muslim majority country, I have always had to scrutinize ingredients at the back of food products to determine whether they are halal or not. If not approached in the right way, halal shopping can become a confusing process and it is easy to give up if you don’t understand where or who to check with.

One thing I did sometime last year was email Halal helpline in order to clarify some issues. Firstly, I found out that Australia had stopped producing emulsifiers since 2006 and that all emulsifiers used in Australian made products are being imported from Malaysia (and have been certified as halal by the Malaysian government).

In other words, if you are holding an Australian Made product, you can be sure that the emulsifiers used in the product are halal. This still means that you need to check products that are not made in Australia and also scan for other haram ingredients like gelatine and alcohol.

Halal Helpline was initiated by the Halal Certification Authority Australia (HCAA) which is currently one of the largest certifiers in Australia, along with Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) and few others.

While products that contain only halal or some haram ingredients can be obvious, things get confusing if there are many ‘masbooh‘ or doubtful/questionable ingredients. In cases like that, it is best to call up the number on the packaging and check with the company’s customer service directly. Good questions to ask are “does this  product have halal certification?” or “is this particular additive plant  or animal based” or “is this product suitable for vegetarians?”.

To brush up on the various haram and masbooh ingredients you need to watch out for, download this brochure by AFIC http://www.afic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/what-is-halal.pdf.

Also, here is a rather old but reasonably comprehensive Halal product guide from that lists many halal products.   http://www.international.utas.edu.au/student-support/australian-culture-customs/documents/HalalFoodGuide.pdf

To download a comprehensive guide on halal establishments in NSW, click here –> http://www.msda.org.au/web_images/halal%20restaurants.pdf. As it says on the file, the establishments listed may change status without notice. Therefore please also inquire directly.

And finally, if you have any product enquiries, you can always email or call Halal Helpline. They are very quick at responding to emails and are a very  helpful team to speak to.

Halal Helpline: Email – info@halalhelpline.org, Tel = (02) 9232 6731

Alternatively, you can contact AFIC on halal@afic.com.au (if you are in Sydney) and aficmelb@bigpond.com (Melbourne).

Thanks for reading! Please share any resources, checklists or guides that you are currently using. How do you go about halal shopping?

 Disclaimer: Above information is subject to change or differ based on schools of thought/halal certification company. EatprayGrow is not liable for any action based on this information.

For Non-Nuslim health professionals – links to save for the future!  🙂 

Here is a friendly site for those looking to better understand food habits of Muslim clients/patients www.ifanca.org, run by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA).

And here is a really good brochure specifically written for Non-Muslim healthcare professionals on caring for Muslim patients. 🙂 http://www.afic.com.au/?p=497&c=2024

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