When we talk about Halal product, we think necessarily meat, it’s a bit normal since this is what is mentioned in the Muslim religion but nowadays we find quite a wide variety of Halal products, and the list continues to grow.
To answer the question is there Halal cheese; it is obviously a big yes.
Are there halal cheeses ?
There are several factors that can make a Halal cheese i.e. licit, or not Halal i.e. illegal, and that from milking the cows to the final step of packaging.
Some people think that it is absurd to consider the possibility of classifying all food products as legal or illegal. Cheese can become Halal i.e. licit, if non-lawful additives are used in its manufacture. Without a doubt, if the cheese is stuffed with bacon it will be considered illegal. This applies also for cheese supplemented with liqueurs. Whatever the cheese, it will need rennet to coagulate and only non-animal rennet is accepted. Indeed, the mixture of animal rennet that is not Halal will therefore make the cheese illegal especially as the dairy product is mixed with a meat product.
It is worth mentioning that a great proportion of the cheese on the market today is made according to Halal standards without necessarily having any certification. This is explained by the huge efforts of the cheese makers to respect strict hygiene rules and natural ingredients that are the key components of any Halal product.
The use of non-animal rennet is more and more widespread in cheese whose specifications allow it, especially since these do not alter the taste, it is even noted in several cases that the taste is improved.
Consumers nowadays are more and more aware of the importance of the products which carry a certification such as Halal, it is a guarantee of quality, respect of the environment and the animals, that is why the Halal products are no longer an exclusive product for Muslims. Indeed they have become popular among consumers who are in search for quality.
List of Halal cheeses:
We can say that today there is a list of Halal cheeses, but since most cheeses that are already Halal have no certification granted by a renowned organization, this list is far from being comprehensive.
In Switzerland, for example, no one could find a Halal cheese. This places the Swiss Cheese Company as a pioneer in the field, since it is the first company to produce Emmental with PDO, Gruyère called ” G ”, goat and sheep cheese, grated cheese that bear a Halal certification granted by a world-renowned organization.
Cheese without animal rennet
One of the first rules for a cheese to be Halal is the use of non-animal rennet, in the case of cheese made by the Swiss Cheese Company, after long studies, laboratory experts and master cheese makers have opted for the use of a microbial rennet whose tests have proven to improve the texture and taste of the cheese.
Halal food is any food authorized by Islamic law and has to meet the following criteria:
1. It must neither constitute nor contain anything deemed illegal according to Islamic law;
2. It must not have been prepared, processed, transported or stored using instruments or facilities that do not conform to Islamic law.
As for cheese, hygiene of all equipment and premises is also a strict standard. They have to be in constantly perfect state of cleanliness. Before production, all the equipment used is cleaned and kept clean. Premises, tools and work equipment are not used for any purpose other than the production of cheese. Packaging materials are stored hygienically.
Why eat Halal?
Eating Halal is both a mark of respect for religious prohibitions but also a restorative element since a non-ritual food cannot be ingested. Even if many Muslims do not go to the mosque or on a pilgrimage to Mecca, the respect of food prohibitions has spread all over the world.
Beyond millions of Muslims around the world, it is clear that many consumers of other religions or food trends like Vegetarians have turned to this food for reasons of hygiene and quality.