Crunchy and flavorful chips (also called crisps) are a popular snack around the world. However, Muslims must be careful in selecting halal certified chips made with permissible ingredients.
Islamic Guidelines on Food
The Quran provides clear guidance on permitted and prohibited foods:
“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan…” (Quran 2:168)
Haram or unlawful foods include:
- Pork and pork-derived ingredients
- Alcohol and intoxicants
- Animals improperly slaughtered or killed
- Carnivorous animals
Any food containing these ingredients would be prohibited.
On the other hand, plant-based and dairy-based foods are generally halal unless contamination with haram ingredients occurs. However, orthodox Muslims only accept meat and meat products as halal when certified halal.
With this background, we can now analyze common chips ingredients.
Non-Halal Chips Ingredients
Although chips mainly contain vegetable-based ingredients like potatoes, corn, rice or wheat, various additives of questionable permissibility are often added during production. These include:
- Natural and artificial flavorings can contain alcohol or pork-derived products in some cases. This depends on the manufacturing process.
- Pigments and dyes like carmine/cochineal (E120) may be derived from insects, which some scholars prohibit.
- Preservatives like whey, lactose, casein and gelatin may be derived from animals not slaughtered Islamically.
- The frying oils may be non-halal if they contain animal fats prohibited in Islam.
- Cross-contamination of equipment with non-halal ingredients can occur during manufacturing.
Without halal certification, chips containing such doubtful or non-halal ingredients would be prohibited for Muslims.
Verifying Halal Certification
To avoid the above issues, Muslims should verify the halal status of chips through checking for certification by accredited halal agencies.
Genuine halal certification indicates that:
- All ingredients have been verified to be halal
- Production facilities are inspected to prevent contamination
- Haram ingredients are strictly avoided
Well-known halal certifiers include:
- JAKIM (Malaysia)
- MUIS (Singapore)
- IFANCA (USA)
- HMC (UK)
The certification logo should be clearly printed on all halal certified products. Additionally, an approval code signifies the validity of the certification.
When purchasing chips, Muslim consumers must check packages carefully for such certifications to ensure permissibility.
4 Recommended Halal Chip Brands
Many popular chip brands have obtained halal certification to meet the needs of Muslim consumers:
1. Lay’s Chips
With certification from IFANCA, all Lay’s potato chips and most Lay’s flavored chips are classified as halal in the USA, Canada, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Australia. The certification codes should be verified.
Owned by Kellogg’s, Pringles carries halal certification for products made in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Middle East. Other countries may vary.
3. Kettle Chips
Kettle’s halal chips are certified by IFANCA in the USA. They use a separate fryer for halal chips to prevent contamination.
4. Cape Cod Chips
Cape Cod has IFANCA certification for all chips fried in canola oil. Chips fried in vegetable oil may contain non-halal additives.
Many smaller brands also offer halal certified chips found in ethnic food stores. Muslims should always check labels before purchasing.
How Chips Can Be Made Halal
For chip manufacturers wishing to make their products halal, they must follow guidelines set by halal certifiers:
All ingredients like potatoes, seasonings, oils and additives must be verified to be halal. Haram ingredients are prohibited.
Frying oil and production lines cannot be contaminated with haram products. Dedicated halal fryers are ideal.
Any meat based ingredients must come from halal slaughtered animals.
The facility must pass inspections by a halal certification body before getting certified.
The company must apply for halal certification by submitting ingredient lists and allowing inspectors access to the facility. Annual renewals are required.
By fulfilling such requirements, chip manufacturers can produce halal certified products carrying certification logos.
Muslims must carefully scrutinize ingredients before purchasing chips, as many contain questionable additives. Genuine halal certification is the best indicator of permissibility.
Well-known chip brands like Lay’s provide halal certified options in many countries, while niche brands also cater to Muslim consumers. By verifying certification and checking labels, Muslims can enjoy these crunchy snacks with a clear conscience!