Does Water Need to Be Halal-Certified?
So, you eat Zabiha halal meat, you read labels to check for animal fat, and you check the foods and snacks being served at your child’s school. You are trying to do your best to serve healthy, delicious halal meals to your family. Then one day at the grocery store, you happen to notice some bottled water that is halal certified. Excited, you grab several. But wait, does plain ol’ water need to be halal certified?
The United Arab Emirates asked this very question after receiving halal certified drinking water from Thailand. According to Thailand’s The Nation (June 1, 2006), Dubai officials determined that water does not need certification, and suspended some Thailand exports.
Was Dubai correct is suspending halal certified drinking water? Does water need to be halal certified? The fact is, all foods should be halal certified if we are to be confident that they are halal. Have we forgotten the dangerous practices and unsanitary conditions of the meat packing industry revealed in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle? The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now controls many aspects of food production. We can use their laws to help us better understand why even water should be halal certified. In countries with less stringent laws on food production, halal certification is even more important.
God has created all living things with water. Water is a natural product and halal in its natural form, for drinking, cooking, making ablution, amongst other things. However, bottled water goes through extensive processing, including purification, filtration, and sometimes mineral adjustment, chlorination, fluorination or ozone treatment, in order to make it safe for human consumption. During this process it may come in contact with chemical materials potentially derived from animals. When IFANCA certifies water to be halal, it verifies that the bottled water was purified without the use of any haram (unlawful) or questionable materials.
The FDA does not always require processing aids to be listed on the label if they are present in trace amounts. For example, apple juice is clarified with gelatin but is never mentioned on the apple juice label. Similarly, water is purified by passing through a bed of carbon but that is not mentioned on the labels of bottled water.
Furthermore, food-grade lubricants are used on machinery during the production of anything from bottled water to aluminum foil. Lubricants consist mainly of oils and could be from any source, vegetable, animal or synthetic. Lubricants used in manufacturing are not listed on food ingredient labels either. This is why even bottled water, not just food, needs to be halal certified. To be confident in what you eat, always choose halal certified products! Avani Oxygen Water Corporation bottled water is currently certified as halal by IFANCA
Resources: For more information on food labeling requirements in the US, go to http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/label.html.