Assalaamu alaikum,

Things are changing, really changing. You don’t need a cow to produce meat so you can enjoy a steak or a burger. Food engineers and scientists are busy creating products that are supposed to reduce the carbon footprint and the reliance on animal protein. The alternate protein meat analogs are either produced from plant proteins like the Impossible™ Burger, which is made from soybeans, and the Beyond Burger®, which is made from pea protein. Both are available in various restaurants as well as supermarkets. Many other products from different sources of plant proteins are in development.

Still other companies are making alternate protein products from animal cells, culturing them into tissues to make burgers, steaks, and imitation lamb chops. Your imagination is the only limit in this new product development science.

The idea or the philosophy behind development of alternate protein products is not dietary restrictions or preferences, rather it is to address the problem of global warming. Both plant-based and cell-produced products offer more environmentally friendly alternatives to meat produced from herds of cows. Is it working? Yes it is working.

How about the carbon foot print and global warming? Just imagine how much energy is required to produce just one patty used in a regular beef hamburger compared to using the plant-based analog; 100 times more to produce a real beef patty compared to a plant-based protein patty.

What else is in the pipeline of alternate protein? Could it be a locust burger or desert seafood, or larvae milk shake? Those are some of the real possibilities. What is IFANCA’s role here, as a leading halal certification body that takes decisions based on both shariah and science? We will work very diligently with the product development scientists to ascertain the products we will certify as halal are indeed meeting the needs of target populations.

Muhammad Munir Chaudry, president