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Licorice - is it Halal?


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N. Truth Seeker
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« on: November 25, 2010, 06:36:48 am »

As Salam Alaykom dear sisters.  Need some info on this item, "licorice."  Frankly, I've never heard of it.  Reason I'm asking is, this product is available in the form of candies in a nearby store where I often visit with my little niece and nephew (sister's kids) and they see this colorful stuff (looks somewhat like marzipan) and they want me to buy it.  It's my pleasure to buy them whatever makes them happy, but regarding licorice my only concern is if it's Halal.  Any feedback would be highly appreciated.  JazekAllah khair.
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 08:41:22 am »

It is obtained from a herbal plant and is a very old substance.  But nowadays what they call licorice candies sold in colorful little rounds & squares is said to be quite synthetic and has nothing much to do with the traditional licorice from plants.  Also, this synthetic candy is thought to be more harmless than the actual licorice, which, as experts say, can rarely have certain negative effects on health.   The bright color of licorice candies are acquired by using various food colors, mostly the Red # 40 food color (aka "azo" dye) which usually comes in the red & yellow range.
 
However, the common assumption is that licorice comes from plants and licorice extracts are added to food to pep up flavor like vanilla.  True.  And licorice candies are eaten to please one's taste buds.  Regarding food extracts, some are alcohol free and some not.  E.g. it's said that vanilla is often doused in alcohol to extract its complete flavor from vanilla leaves.  Similarly, licorice extract can be alcohol free or not, depending on how a manufacturer processes it to produce its extract.   Check the ingredients listed on the wrapper, although even if the licorice extract used in making candies was soaked in alcohol while processing, that slight use of alcohol may not be listed.  In my personal opinion, it's okay.  After all, I and all my family & friends use vanilla essence while baking cakes and preparing puddings.  I really don't consider that sort of "alcohol presence" as Haram because in such cases alcohol is only used as a processor and there are absolutely NO alcoholic effects in vanilla or licorice.  In fact, whatever bit of alcohol is used during processing, almost nothing of it is retained in the finished product.   Though my kids have never eaten licorice because we've never really seen it anywhere, but I would think it's okay.  I've read much about it and also seen its pics.  It's a plant based cum synthetic product like vanilla.  And yeah, you're right, it does look like marzipans Smiley  Black licorice candy is quite common and also thought to be good for colds.  In olden days licorice was widely used for healing colds & coughs.
 
 
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 08:54:40 am »

Thanks a lot sister.  As usual, your info has been very helpful in giving me an idea what this stuff is.  These pics are very interesting.  u r right, the one available in that store close to our house is exactly like the ones in the 2nd pic.  Actually they are not sold in wrappers or packets.  It's a bulk barn store and all products are in big bins.  One can take as much as desired in plastic bags and at the counter they weigh the cost.  But there is a little slip of paper at the corner of every bin mentioning the ingredients.  So I'll look that up. I'm now in a better position to understand the names of the ingredients.  I too think it should be okay, InshAllah.   Thanks again sister.
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2011, 12:01:18 pm »

Salaams brother TS.  During Ramadan I got some additional info on licorice.  Sorry I couldn't put it up earlier as I was so busy then. 

I had said previously that licorice is Halal.  Well, it turns out to be not quite.  I mean, licorice itself is Halal but one of the ingredients mixed with it for making the finished product isn't Halal.  That's gelatine. 

During Ramadan we went to one of the stores for the usual grocery shopping.  We decided to buy some licorice from the open bin for it looked so nice & colorful.  My husband also knew that this is a plant product and Halal but wanted to find out the ingredients as he had a hunch that something not Halal might be mixed with it.  He was right.  Since it was being sold in bins, the ingredients weren't mentioned so we asked one of the store assistants about it.  She was fortunately very helpful and got us a photocopy of the ingredients & nutritional values from the management. It also contains vanilla which some folks of our community don't take.  However, we in my family don't think there's any need to avoid vanilla. I still have that info with me here.  Let me quote the list of ingredients of licorice.

English licorice allsort:  (Ingredients)

Sugar, glucose syrup, cane molasses, wheat flour, desiccated coconut, non hydrogenated palm kernel oil, glycerol, liquorice extract, gelatine, corn starch, modified maize starch, natural flavorings (coconut, vanilla, aniseed, orange, lemon, raspberry), cocoa powder, natural colors (beetroot red, curcumin, paprika, grape color extract), beeswax, spirulina concentrate, fruit and vegetable extracts (apple, hibiscus, blackcurrant, carrot, radish, spinach, nettle).
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 11:49:04 am »



I had said previously that licorice is Halal.  Well, it turns out to be not quite.  I mean, licorice itself is Halal but one of the ingredients mixed with it for making the finished product isn't Halal.  That's gelatine. 


English licorice allsort:  (Ingredients)

Sugar, glucose syrup, cane molasses, wheat flour, desiccated coconut, non hydrogenated palm kernel oil, glycerol, liquorice extract, gelatine, corn starch, modified maize starch, natural flavorings (coconut, vanilla, aniseed, orange, lemon, raspberry), cocoa powder, natural colors (beetroot red, curcumin, paprika, grape color extract), beeswax, spirulina concentrate, fruit and vegetable extracts (apple, hibiscus, blackcurrant, carrot, radish, spinach, nettle).


Yikes!   ???   Thanks sister Heba.  No one in my household ate it uptil now but your information came at the right time.  My little niece's birthday is coming up in a week and my sister is celebrating it by throwing a kids' party.  I intended to bring a big bundle of licorice as one of the nibbles for kids .. primarily because it's colorful and kids love that kinda stuff. While I too think vanilla is okay, gelatine is not.  Gelatine is made of animal bones.  If we knew which animal, then probably for something like this, bones of cattle or sheep/lamb would be okay because the quantity used would be so small (as brother Shabir had mentioned about rennet in salad dressings).  But it could also be pig bone and in that case even a small quantity is Haram.   Since it's impossible to find out the ingredients of gelatine, so I will definitely have to quit the idea of bringing this item.  

Thanks a billion for the info, sister.  May Allah be with you and your family.    
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2011, 03:52:52 am »

Thanks sister Heba, especially for that last bit of info.  I've often eyed those bright & colorful licorice candies during my visits to the food stores but have always stopped short for not being sure of the ingredients used .. even though licorice is itself Halal being a plant product.
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2012, 05:39:27 am »

very informative  hmmm i know video about gelatin its ughhhhh
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2012, 05:55:55 am »

Beware!! what exactly is GELATIN ?
http://muslimvilla.smfforfree.com/index.php?board=16.0
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Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.9:111

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