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Critical point of haramnessing emulsifiers

Assalamu’alaikum Sobat Halal-Mu

Sobat, have you often heard the word emulsifier?

For your Halal friends who like to cook cakes, you may often use emulsifier products such as Ovalet, SP, and TB. In the process of making cakes, it is usually not enough to just use eggs, flour, and sugar. In order for the cake batter to be perfect when cooked, there are several ingredients that are often added. One of them is an emulsifier because it can unite water and fat so that the dough is perfectly mixed, soften the dough, and extend the shelf life of the cake.

What is an emulsifier? Quoted from the Reference List of Halal Critical Point Ingredients and Non-Halal Substitutes by Prof. Dr. Irwandi Jaswir, MSc, Ir. Elvina A. Rahayu, MP, Dr. Nancy Dewi Yuliana, MSc and Dr. Anna Priangani Roswiem, MS. emulsifiers are food additives used to create a homogeneous mixture of two or more immiscible phases. These phases usually consist of oil and water phases. In the food industry, emulsifiers are used in various products such as dairy-based beverages, bakery products, seasonings and condiments, spreadable products, sauces and many others.

The use of emulsifiers in Indonesia is regulated in the Food and Drug Administration Regulation No. 11/2019 on Food Additives. There are 83 types of emulsifiers that can be used in food products where their use depends on the category of food to be added.

Then where is the tipping point of emulsifier forbiddenness? The emulsifier group has the potential for haram, namely in terms of the source or origin of the emulsifier and also in the process or processing technology.

Why is this the case?

a.         Emulsifier Source

The source of emulsifiers is usually made from fats that are usually derived from animals or plants. If the emulsifier is derived from animal fat, then it must be seen what animal is used? If the animals used are animals that are allowed to be consumed such as cows, then look at the slaughter process. Is it in accordance with Islamic law or not.

b.         Technology required in the process

Since the main ingredient of emulsifiers is fat, it involves esterification and/or transesterification in the processing technology. Fats or oils of plant or animal origin are hydrolyzed into glycerol and a mixture of fatty acids. The process can be obtained either by transesterification of fats using acid or base catalysts. While esterification is done by reacting between glycerol and fatty acids which is usually assisted by acid catalysts.

In addition, there is an interesterification process which is a reaction of rearrangement of ester bonds. Interesterification can be described as an exchange of groups between two esters where this can only happen if there is a catalyst. This interesterification reaction can be done with chemical catalysts (e.g. NaOH and NaOCH), with enzyme catalysts (lipase and papain). As we discussed in the previous article that there is also a critical point of forbidden enzymes.

That’s all Sobat Halal-Mu, hopefully this information is useful.

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