ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
Vinegar is one of the oldest condiments used in ancient foods which continues to be used used all over the world. It is used both as a flavoring and as a preservative.
Vinegar is made by two distinct biological processes, both the result of the action of beneficial microorganisms (yeast and “Acetobacter” bacteria) that turn sugars into acetic acid through an intermediary step of alcohol. Many of our favorite foods such as yogurt, cheese and pickles, involve some type of bacteria in their production. The first step in the process is called alcoholic fermentation and occurs when yeasts change natural sugars to alcohol in the absence of oxygen, under controlled conditions. In the second step of the process, a group of bacteria (called “Acetobacter”) converts the alcohol portion to acetic acid. It is the acetic or acid fermentation that forms vinegar. In the manufacture of vinegar, proper bacterial cultures, timing and temperatures are important for fermentation. Acetic acid is not vinegar, although acetic acid is the primary constituent of vinegar aside from water. Vinegar contains many vitamins and other compounds not found in acetic acid, such as riboflavin, Vitamin B-1 and mineral salts from the starting material that imparts vinegar its distinct flavor.
The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize diluted acetic acid as vinegar. Consequently, acetic acid should not be substituted for vinegar in pickled foods, or in foods that consumers customarily expect to be prepared with vinegar.
Vinegar can be made from any fruit, or from any material containing sugar. Typical retail varieties of vinegar include white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, grape vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar and sugar cane vinegar. Other specialty vinegars include banana vinegar, pineapple vinegar, and raspberry vinegar. Vinegar is also available in flavored and seasoned variety (e.g., garlic, pepper, sage, etc.).
The strength of vinegar is measured by the percent of acetic acid present in the product. All vinegar sold in the United States at the retail level should be at least 4% acidity as mandated by FDA. Typical white distilled vinegar is at least 4% acidity and not more than 7%. Cider and wine vinegars are typically slightly more acidic with approximately 5-6% acidity.
July 6, 2008 - (As reported by Tara Tuckwiller in The Charleston Gazette)
As the Kanawha Valley's Muslim population has grown, a couple of locally owned stores have started carrying halal foods....But almost always, those foods are trucked in from out of state. Almeshia Brown, who is a Muslim and an agriculture extension specialist at West Virginia State University, wants to change that. Brown finds that she has to buy about 60 percent of her groceries over the Internet.
"Why couldn't we keep that money here in West Virginia?" she asked. Brown is part of a statewide project to teach the West Virginia public - including farmers, stores and restaurants - about the potential cash cow that is halal food.
"We've got to educate farmers," said Teresa Halloran, a marketing specialist with the State Department of Agriculture, who is part of the project. The department is working on both halal and kosher certifications for West Virginia foods, from honey, salsa and bread to goat, chicken and beef.
"This is an avenue to [farmers] to distribute their meat," Halloran said. "Rather than taking it up to Pennsylvania for slaughter, they could keep it in the state."
Singapore Schools Must Have a Mix of Halal and Non-Halal Food
(As reported in The Malaysia Star)
The Education Ministry in Singapore wants all schools to make sure their canteens provide both halal and non-halal food suitable for children of all religions. It made this clear a day after news broke that Boon Lay Garden primary school had banned pupils from eating non-halal food in its canteen. Prior to the ban suggested by a new principal, the school did have halal certified food stalls in its canteen, but it did allow non-halal foods as well.
Parents called the practice discriminatory and stated that while they did not have an issue with halal food (which is prepared Chinese, Indian or Western style at the school,) they do have issue with the ban on non-halal food. Learning of this, the ministry said that Boon Lay Garden Primary had made a mistake.
Halal Food Festival Finds It's Way To Ningxia, China
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China held a 4-day international festival of Halal Food and Muslim Commodities in September this year. Ningxia has a 2.3 million Hui Muslims, 36 percent of the total population. The festival was inaugurated by the Governor of the region, Wang Zhengwei and the opening ceremony was attended by ambassadors, diplomats, delegates from foreign countries and traders. The festival was an initiative to promote Halal brands. Zhengwei called on investors and businesses to further the development of Ningxia.
Letter: Greetings! McDonald's announced in the 1990's that it changed its frying oil from animal fat to vegetable oil for those who are vegetarian. However, I have heard that it turns out that this information is not completely true. French fries are fried slightly in animal fat then frozen and shipped to all the McDonald's stores for the final frying. The following information was announced on the Arabic BBC channel. Basically, what they do is they cut the potatoes into slices and then coat them with a thin layer of lard (pig fat) or cow fat so that when it is fried it will crunch. Then these fries are shipped to McDonald's stores in different parts of the world including India and the Arab countries. Mc Donald's apologized to the Indians after receiving complaints, since a good number of Indians do not eat anything that has ingredients derived from animals. .... So in summary, McDonald's fries is coated with a layer of either cow fat or lard (pig fat which is thicker and cheaper) then shipped to all McDonald's stores over the world, which is then fried in vegetable fat. Do you have any insights on this? Sincerely, Adam and Ajaz
IFANCA Response: Dear Adam and Ajaz, Assalamu alaikum. This information is a rather out dated and simplistic rendering of the process of making French fries. There is a lot more information available from McDonalds as well as on various web sites. You are correct that fries are made in two stages of frying; first in the factories and then at the restaurant level. McDonalds uses different oil formulas for different countries. For the Middle East, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia, only a blend of vegetable oils is used. This is verified information. Moreover, the product is made on the equipment where animal fats are not used. For USA, Canada and other countries, the information could not be verified. I hope that this is helpful. God knows best. Wassalam.
Letter: Assalamu alaikum. A restaurant I eat at gets their meat from Restaurant Depot and I would like to know if the meat is halal? Sincerely, Aderefsa.
IFANCA Response: Dear Aderefsa, Assalamu Alaikum. Restaurant Depot is a large company. They do carry some halal labeled or certified products but it is not possible to verify the restaurant’s claims or Restaurant Depot’s claims without their willingness to have an independent group review the documents and the product. IFANCA has no such access. Moreover Restaurant Depot is known for using halal logos without the certifier’s authorization. It is the restaurant owner’s responsibility to make sure that the suppliers/distributors provide authentic halal meat to the restaurant. Similarly it is restaurant’s responsibility to satisfy its customers by providing proof of halal. You could ask the restaurant owner for a copy of the receipt and then visit the Restaurant Depot to see what is in the store. May God reward you for making an effort. Wassalam.
Letter: Assalamu alaikum. Please do me a favor and see if the beef product from White Veal Meat Packets Ltd, Toronto, ON is halal. .... The products are being sold as halal in British Columbia. The packing has no sign or label or logo indicating it being halal. Sincerely, Adam
IFANCA Response: Dear Brother Adam, Assalamu alaikum. Thank you for your inquiry but we have no way of verifying the authenticity of such products. You must ask the retailer to provide you with proof or a certificate from a halal certification body or a letter from the slaughter man for the daily kill/slaughter. Wassalam.
Editor’s Notes: Letters may have been edited for length and clarity.
Amlan International, USA Anhui Province Yifan Spice Co, China Antaves Health Products, USA Cargill Alking Bioengineering, China Centro Sperimentale Del Latte SPA, Italy CHS, Inc, USA CoPak Solutions Inc, USA Corn Products Brasil LTDA, Brazil Efco Products, Inc, USA Greystone Bakery, USA Henan Zhengtong Chemical Co, China Ind. Swift Laboratories Ltd, India McCain Food (Harbin) Co, Ltd, China Organic Health Pte Ltd, Singapore Shandong Xinhua Pharmaceutical, China Shanghai Bairun Flavor & Frag., China Shanghai Haocheng Food Development Co., China SuCrest GMBH, Germany