Use of Alcohol-sourced Food Additive as an Emulsifier and Fruit coating agent

Dec 16, 2023 | Food & Drink


Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Dear Sheikh,
I am asking to inquire whether the following food additive (E471- Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids) is halal or not. This additive is used as an emulsifier in many foods and as a fruit coating agent. According to most sources, it is considered Halal if sourced from plant fat, and Haraam if sourced from animal fat. However, whether it is derived from animal or plant fats, the process used to extract it, which is either esterification or interesterification, requires the use of alcohol, in its pure form or as a by-product. What would be the ruling for it in this case? If it is Haraam, then what can be done about fruits and vegetables that have been coated with this product?



There is some difference of opinion in the Hanafi school regarding intoxicating liquids. According to Imam Muhammad all intoxicating liquids are unlawful and impure regardless of the source of the intoxicant, the purpose of drinking it and the quantity being consumed. This is the opinion upon which fatwa is issued in the Hanafi school and is adopted in normal circumstances.

There is however, another position within the school and that is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Abu Yusuf which states that alcohol derived from sources other than grapes and dates can be used in certain circumstances with certain conditions. For example, the usage must not lead to intoxication, and there must be some benefit behind the use beyond just enjoyment.

Hence, even though the position of Imam Muhammad is adopted in general circumstances, the position of the latter scholars can be benefited from in cases where small quantities of alcohol, not sourced from dates and grapes, are used for a particular purpose whereby the final product does not lead to intoxication. This is why E471 can be considered halal if sourced from plant fat.

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel