IFANCA Client, Firmenich, Partnering for Sustainable Vanilla in Uganda

Firmenich, an IFANCA client for a decade, has embarked on a project with approximately 6,200 small farmers in Uganda who are partners in the Firmenich Ugandan Sustainable Vanilla Project. The project involves commercial, social, and environmental objectives. According to the Sustainability Report published by Firmenich last year, about 65% of the world’s vanilla is from Madagascar where climatic, political, and market instabilities have caused variations in supply and price. Uganda, which produces about 9% of the world’s supply, is a good alternative source. But many Ugandan farmers are extremely poor and lack essential skills to produce high-quality vanilla. With support from the Danish government, Firmenich has partnered with the largest vanilla processor in Uganda to improve the quality and quantity of vanilla beans. This will boost the viability of vanilla production, lead to a more dependable supply and create greater security for the farmers.

The project included upgrading the curing stations to ensure that quality and food hygiene standards were met. Farmers were trained on all aspects of vanilla production and crop handling. Better quality products, in turn, allow Firmenich to pay better prices to the farmers. Part of the project is to help farmers diversify so that they are not entirely dependent on a single crop. Farmers were trained to raise chickens and grow sweet potatoes, so they would have other sources of income as well.


Fresh, Halal-Certified Mariposa Chèvre

With the increasing popularity of the healthy Mediterranean diet, the demand for goat cheese is on the rise. In the U.S., cheese consumption has been growing for more than 30 years. Halal consumers are now able to purchase IFANCA halal-certified goat cheese.

Mariposa Dairy in Canada provides a range of appetizing varieties including Feta Goat’s Cheese, Plain Goat’s Milk Cheese, Garlic and Fine Herbs Goat’s Milk Cheese and Black Pepper Goat’s Milk Cheese. Finica Food Specialties, another IFANCA halal-certified brand, provides consumers with a festive assortment of goat cheeses. Halal-certified flavors include Plain, Honey, Cranberry and Cinnamon, Garlic and Fine Herbs, Dill and Fig. Finica goat cheese is sold under the Celebrity International label. Select varieties can be purchased at gourmet and grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada. Look in the gourmet cheese section of your grocery store for delicious, halal-certified goat cheese.


Chèvre 101

Chèvre, goat cheese, is pure white and has a sharp flavor. Goat cheese can be found in many forms, but it is typically sold as a cylinder shape, and is soft and creamy, making it perfect to spread a serving on bread or crackers. From Italy to North Africa and the Middle East, goat cheese is a traditional breakfast delight. Mediterranean’s savor the smooth, acidic flavor with fresh pita bread and marinated olives. Add fresh chopped parsley for a refreshing summer snack.


Health Benefits of Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is rich in minerals, including calcium, niacin, and riboflavin, and lower in fat and cholesterol than cream cheese. One ounce of goat cheese contains 13 mg of cholesterol and 6 g fat, as compared to the 31 mg cholesterol and 10 g fat in 1 oz cream cheese. If you avoid milk due to lactose intolerance, then give goat cheese try. The fats in goat’s milk are different than those found in cow’s milk, making goat cheese generally more digestible. If you have milk protein allergy, you may digest goat cheese better than other cheeses.

Fresh, halal-certified Mariposa chèvre is waiting to be discovered. Be the first to introduce it to your friends.


Fruity Goat Cheese Pizza


1 cup green or red seedless grapes, halved

½ tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 – 8 oz fresh pizza dough

4 ounces soft goat cheese



  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss grapes, goat cheese and rosemary in olive oil; set aside.
  3. Roll the dough into a 10 – 12 inch round.
  4. Place the dough round, in the oven until cooked through; it takes about 6 minutes.
  5. Spread the grapes, goat cheese and olive oil mix on the dough round.
  6. Heat until the cheese begins to melt; about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, let it cool a bit and serve.


IFANCA Halal-Certified Ben & Jerry’s Ice-Cream Offers Cure for a Case of the Mondays

Yes! All flavors in pint-size from Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream are now IFANCA halal-certified and this summer, the company made Mondays sweeter by giving Americans an affordable reason to celebrate the first day of the traditional work week. In Scoop Shops nationwide, customers could purchase one of the company’s amazing sundaes and earn a second delicious sundae absolutely free. The promotion was for every Monday through August 2009.

“Going out for summer ice cream sundaes has been an American tradition for decades,” said Walt Freese, Chief Euphoria Officer of Ben & Jerry’s. “During these tough afford simple indulgences as we continue our mission to spread joy for the belly and soul.”

Why Mondays? “Look, we can all make it through the weekend in the summer – there are parties, barbeques and beaches. This sounded like the perfect way to kickstart the party all over again at the beginning of each week, virtually eliminating blue Mondays,” said Sean Greenwood, Spokes-Poobah for Ben & Jerry’s. “Around here, we’ve even started saying ‘TGIM’ – thank goodness it’s Monday.”


Halal Maraschino Cherries for Every Dessert!

Diana Fruit Co., Inc. came into existence on July 18, 1990, making Maraschino Cherries a delicious addition to candies, desserts and cocktails. Its roots as a producer of Maraschino Cherries date back over 85 years. Now IFANCA halal-certified, Diana Fruit Company’s Maraschino Cherries come with stems, without stems and/or halves. Products are made from mature, well-formed, clean, U.S. No. 1 sweet cherries (Prunus avium). Processing includes some or all these steps: inspecting, cleaning, sorting by size, bleaching, pitting, slicing, coloring, sweetening and flavoring. Finished products are packed in flavored (filtered) syrup in wide mouth jars. IFANCA ensures that every stage in the process meets strict halal standards.


Cherry Pecan Drops

(Adapted from a Diana Fruit Company Recipe)


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (vegetable) shortening
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • ⅓ cup chopped Diana Fruit maraschino cherries, well drained
  • 1 ½ cup coarsely crushed cornflakes cereal
  • 15 Diana Fruit maraschino cherries, quartered, drained



  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookies sheets. In large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, milk, vanilla, and eggs; beat well.
  2. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pecans, dates, and 1/3 cup chopped cherries; mix well. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for easier handling.
  3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into cereal; thoroughly coat. Form into balls; place 2-inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Press maraschino cherry piece into top of each ball. Bake for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown.


IFANCA Halal-Certified ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars Support Public Schools

Underway right now, and continuing through the end of 2009, consumers of IFANCA halal-certified ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars can support a campaign to give more children access to creativity in public schools. Consumers enter their UPC codes from their ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars online at www.ZonePerfect.com. With every UPC code entered from a single bar, Abbott, the makers of ZonePerfect will donate $0.05 and for every multi-pack carton UPC code, $0.50 will be donated to The VH1 Save The Music Foundation, for a total donation of $120,000. Each code serves as an automatic sweepstakes entry to ZonePerfect’s Win a Trip for Two to The 2009 VH1 SaveTthe Music Foundation Gala in New York City. The ZonePerfect brand is also a returning sponsor of the 2009 South by Southwest Festivals and Conferences – a 23-year-old event highlighting the latest in interactive media technology, independent filmmaking and more than 1,800 musical acts of all genres from around the globe on more than 80 stages throughout downtown Austin. It will also launch its inaugural sponsorship of Film Independent’s 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival in June. Now in its 15th year, the Los Angeles Film Festival is recognized as a world-class event, providing the movie-loving public with access to filmmakers, scholars, critics, film industry professionals and emerging talent from around the world.


An Ounce of (Halal) Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure!

One of the most important ways to keep disease at bay is by getting vaccinated early in life. Once common in the U.S., cases of mumps, tetanus, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), measles, polio, diphtheria, rubella (German measles) and pertussis (whooping cough), have decreased considerably thanks to vaccinations received in childhood.

A few years ago, rumors spread that the vaccines being given to Muslim children were spiked with ingredients that were harmful. As a result, Muslim parents grew alarmed and many even decided not to have their children vaccinated. For companies it is important to assure Muslims that vaccines used are in fact safe and halal.

With Malaysia’s demand for halal certificated vaccines, Merck and Co. obtained Halal Certification in 2006, for their product GARDASIL® Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recombinant Vaccine. This particular vaccine is for women for protection against cervical cancer and it does so by addressing against 4 types of human papillomavirus. The best way to know if you qualify for such a vaccine is to consult your doctor.

In 2008, Wyeth Biotech whose products include the best selling Adult Vitamin: Centrum®, the leading calcium supplement: Caltrate®, and the number one Antidepressant: Efexor XR®, received halal certification for their leading vaccine Prevenar® Pneumococcal 7-valent conjugate vaccine. However, the other products mentioned above are not halal-certified.


Enjoy Life Natural Brands Now IFANCA Halal-Certified

Scott Mandell was named to Crain’s Chicago Business ‘40 Under 40’ for his venture Enjoy Life Foods Company. Their Enjoy Life Natural Brands range of products are IFANCA halal-certified. In September 2008, Enjoy Life Foods was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing privately held businesses in the U.S. for the second consecutive year.

The company’s growth rate and its success as a leading manufacturer of allergy-friendly, halal and gluten-free foods drives Mandell’s recognition as one of Chicago’s most promising business leaders. According to Mandell, more than 12 million Americans have food allergies, and diagnoses are on rise. Approximately 3.3 million Americans are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts; 30 to 50 million are lactose intolerant and 3 million people have Celiac Disease, an auto-immune disease that requires a strict gluten-free diet for life.

According to Crain’s story on the company, “the market for foods free of gluten and other common allergens is rising fast. U.S. sales of gluten-free products are expected to jump to $1.7 billion in 2010 from about $700 million in 2006, according to New York research firm Packaged Facts.”

For a complete list of IFANCA halal-certified Enjoy Life Natural Brands go to www.ifanca.org.


Pfizer Serving Halal Consumers’ Needs

Many Muslims prefer tablets to capsules for nutritional supplements because capsules are usually made from gelatin. (However, many may be unaware that tablets too contain gelatin.) This aversion to gelatin comes from the fact that gelatin is derived from animal hides and bones, and generally comes from pigs or cattle.

However, Capsugel, a division of Pfizer, produces two-piece empty capsules that are halal-certified by IFANCA. Pfizer produces two types of capsules; one from halal-certified gelatin and the other from vegetable ingredients. These capsules are purchased by companies that make nutritional supplements and vitamins. The IFANCA Crescent M logo on these products is an indication that all the ingredients used are halal, healthy and wholesome. Look for nutritional supplements and vitamins that carry the halal logo.


Clean Air Champion, Paramount Farms

IFANCA halal-certified Paramount Farms, the world’s largest vertically integrated supplier of pistachios and almonds, was selected as a 2008 Clean Air Champion by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Paramount Farms was chosen because of its significant contributions to achieving cleaner air in the Valley through its solar installations and employee trip reduction measures such as telecommuting, and teleconference meetings between offices, onsite food service and employee vanpools.

“Paramount Farms is proud to be recognized by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for our sustainability values,” said Dave Szeflin, Paramount Farms Vice President. “An environmentally-friendly approach is at the core of our company values, and we’re pleased to be part of the effort to bring cleaner air to the Valley.”

Paramount Farms employs a range of environmentally responsible efforts to conserve water and preserve natural resources including solar power; energy-efficient lighting programs; non-toxic pest control; material recycling; automated, underground micro-irrigation system and ranch-wide weather monitoring for efficient water usage; and soil conservation. In 2007 the company installed a 1.1 mega-watt, $7.5 million solar plant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption, as well as supply electrical power to the grid. The eight-acre solar plant is one of the largest single-site, privately-owned, operating solar plants in the United States.

Paramount Farms’ 30,000 acres of pistachio orchards are the largest in the Western Hemisphere; and in a state famous for its almonds, Paramount Farms is California’s largest almond grower, with more than 40,000 acres of permanent almond orchards. Paramount Farm’s halal-certified nuts can be found in grocery stores or in bulk under the Paramount Farms, Golden Orchards, Cal Pure, West Hills and Sunkist® brand names.