Asalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh,
I’ve been really struggling with my OCD recently, to the point that I can’t focus on other things.
So, I recently learnt that yogurts, cheeses and other products contain live culters/lactic ferments (bacteria) etc as part of their production process, these bacteria that are added can be derived from human/animal/plants and still say suitable for vegetarians, so its really difficult to know fully whether the cheese or yogurt etc is fully halal. From what I have understood, they almost always have these bacteria/cultures added in order to change the milk into cheese/yogurt.
Is it permissable to consume these products while being unsure of the source of the lactic cultures/ferments/bacteria etc?
And if not, are these products then regarded as impure? So if they were to spill on you would it be regarded as an impurity?
I would really appreciate your advice regarding this.
The food industry is a very complex industry. At times numerous ingredients are used in single products. To add to the complexity the source of these ingredients as well as the formula adopted can change within short periods of time. For this reason, it becomes necessary to utilise a practical framework which will determine what can and cannot be consumed.
When it comes to non-meat products, like yoghurt, cheese, probiotics etc the default assumption would be that the product is lawful to consume. The shari῾ah has not prohibited us from these types of products. This would be the case even more-so if the product is marked as suitable for vegetarian and does not list any of those ingredients which are definitely known to be problematic such as gelatine. The mere doubt that a particular bacteria may have been sourced from human or animal source would not render the product unlawful and trying to investigate this upon each purchase would also result in extreme difficulty. In your case it would also exacerbate your OCD.
Therefore, based on this default assumption of permissibility and the absence of evidence of animal or human based ingredients, it would be permissible to consume these types of products and you would not be obliged to contact manufacturers each time you purchase a product.
Ifta Research Fellow
Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel