What is Gelatin Made of?

Gelatin in food can be from halal or haram sources.

Gelatin is an animal by-product, the partially hydrolyzed collagen tissue of various animal parts . Common sources of gelatin are pigskin, cattle hides, cattle bones, and, less frequently, fish skins and poultry skins.

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In general, a product label does not indicate the source of the gelatin in halal food, so halal consumers normally avoid products containing gelatin unless they are certified halal.

Gelatin is used in many food products, including jellies, ice cream, confectionery, cookies, and cakes. It is also used in nonfood products, including medical products, and in veterinary applications.

As Muslim countries have increased imports of food products, there has been growing awareness of the problem gelatin presents to Muslim consumers.

Malaysia, Indonesia, and several other Muslim countries now require that imported as well domestic products containing gelatin be produced with halal gelatin.

Several gelatin manufacturers in Europe, India, and Pakistan produce halal gelatin.

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Gelatin’s halal status depends on the nature of raw materials used in its manufacture. Most gelatin is one of two types:

i. Type A gelatin is exclusively made from pork skins, and is hence haram for Muslims to use.

ii. Type B gelatin is made either from cattle and calf skins or from demineralized cattle bones. Cattle and calf skins used in gelatin manufacture are usually from animals slaughtered by non-Muslims.

Whether this type of gelatin is permitted or prohibited for Muslims is controversial. However, gelatin made from bones of duly halal-slaughtered cattle is available. Fish-skin gelatin is halal as long as it is free from contamination from other sources and is made from a fish species accepted by Muslims who use the product.

A food processor understands that a nonspecific gelatin is highly questionable regarding its source, highly suspected of containing pork gelatin, and very strongly discouraged for use by the Muslims.

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