You’re sitting down, enjoying your day with your phone in hand, when that all-too-familiar notification pops up. Perhaps it’s from the family group chat, your mum, or that one auntie who’s always sharing forwards from every corner of the internet; you already know what it is. A blurry picture with Comic Sans font, warning you that a food or drink you love oh so much isn’t halal, much like the infamous M&M situation that sent Muslim Twitter into an utter meltdown. For your viewing horror, here’s a reminder:
The M&M travesty of 2019 had me questioning: could it be that those random WhatsApp forwards we receive about our favorite snacks not being halal aren’t always BS?
I just had to find out, and so, here I will use the art of research to attempt to prove or debunk the dreaded rumors that I have seen floating around most:
I vividly remember being sent a video of someone visiting the official Oreo website where it says they weren’t halal. I don’t even have much of a sweet tooth, but was devastated when I saw the video in question because I adore them. The rumours started because people thought that they apparently contained calf rennet (a group of enzymes from a cow’s stomach), which isn’t true because according to their website, Oreos are vegetarian-friendly!
So there are no animal products in Oreos, and after checking their ingredients. I saw that there were absolutely no traces of any alcohol in them. This meant that I was still confused as to why I couldn’t eat them, so I dug on.
After a lot of digging, I found out that Oreos are not technically halal-certified by companies in non-Muslim countries (USA, Canada, UK etc). In other words, they’re completely fine for us to eat, they just haven’t been officially approved by any halal companies for unexplained reasons.
So, here’s the rumour pertaining to Fanta, courtesy of my overactive WhatsApp:
This particular rumor didn’t upset me as much because I’m not the biggest fan of soda, but I was baffled as to why/how there would be pork in a drink, so I resorted to Google. The definition of carcinogenic is “having the potential to cause cancer,” which isn’t surprising for a fizzy drink. But what has that got to do with pork?
After more research, I found out that both E211 and E224 are preservatives that are COMPLETELY halal, and have no relation to pork, pork by-products, or any other meat for that matter!
While lining up to get to a vending machine, the hijabi girl in front of me told her friend not to buy Skittles because they weren’t halal. Now, I was sure that Skittles were suitable for vegetarians, so perhaps the issue was that they contained trace amounts of alcohol?
After looking into it, I found out that the previous formula of Skittles contained the E-number E120, which is derived from insects. (Ew!) But apart from that, the current recipe of Skittles are fine to eat apart from the Skittles Wild Berry, Confused Sours, and limited edition, “Once in a Blue Moon” packs, because these still contain E120.
And there you have it: three halal snack myths debunked! We may not have M&M’s, but you better believe that we’ll always have Oreos to get us through those tough days!