What is the amount and restrictions of alcohol allowed in food?

Alcohol is allowed in food in 2 conditions: 

  1. Alcohol that is used as solvent for color, smell, flavor which is used as additive in food products. However, the total alcohol value must not exceed 0.5%.
  2. Naturally produced alcohol from fermentation such as soy sauce and fruit juice. In this case the total alcohol value must be below 1.5%.

Can Korean ginseng, Dong quai be eaten? Is it true that it contains alcohol?

Dong quai has been analysed in the laboratory and resulted as edible products. The exceeded alcohol volume in the first time that it was analysed might be from the differentiation of formulae or in fermentation process. Once adjusted by the producer, it is safe to consume.

What is Marshmallow and where can it be found?

Marshmallow is a plant’s root which is popularly made into snacks, but Marshmallow nowadays is made from Gelatin powder which is cheaper.

What is Carrageenan? And, where can it be found? How is it different from Gelatin?

Carrageenan is a gum extracted from seaweed, commonly used in gelatinization process in food product resulting in viscous context. Carrageenan’s property is like gelatin, but not as sticky and is less flexible.

What is gelatin? And, where can it be found?

Gelatin is an organic substance that is a colloidal protein that cannot occur naturally. It is mostly retrieved from collagen in connective tissue deformation process using acid or alkali. Gelatin powder’s color varies from white to brown. Can be extracted from bones, skins and connective tissues.

What is halal food?

Muslims believe that “There is no god, but Allah Prophet Muhammad is the messenger (Rasul) of Allah” and that Allah is the creator of men and all thing in universe. Therefore, Allah’s command (Al-Quran) and teachings and examples of Prophet Muhammad (Sunnah) are what Muslims must follow with sincerity and seriously. That is to act in approved way (Halal) and not to act in unapproved way (Harom) happily and willingly.

The first Chulalongkorn University Halal Science Center of Muslim world.

On August 13th 2003, the cabinet has approved the budget to establish “The Central Laboratory and Scientific Information Center for Halal Food Development (Halal-CELSIC)” in Faculty of Allied Health Sciences Chulalongkorn University with the aim to be the host for “Halal Science Center” of the country in systemizing the network connecting every region around the country. Currently, there are more than 10 universities and departments who had joined. Because that the mission of Halal-CELSIC has expanded covering more branches of knowledges, received cooperation from many faculties in the university, Chulalongkorn University decided to establish “The Halal Science Center, HSC in short”. All of the mission of Halal-CELSIC were then continued under Halal Science Center.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Winai Dahlan, the Director of Chulalongkorn University Halal Science Center stated the reason in having halal science center which is the complexity of the production technology nowadays can be hard to track and requires more use of raw material and chemical substances. Although, the industry has set standards for it to prevent consumers from harm, the contamination from dirtiness or Harom in Islam may still exists. Therefore, ensuring that the product is halal can be hard and requires the use of scientific knowledges and technologies. Altogether, Halal Science is the study and creation of knowledge to prove and confirm things that are Harom systematically including the use of scientific methods in food and halal food production to ensure the safety of Muslim consumer. Chulalongkorn University Halal Science Center is the world’s first organization that operates on this basis. The main laboratory will analyse the food to see if there are contaminations by analysing food from halal food factory such as fermented sauce which may contains alcohol and gelatinized snacks that may be produced from pig’s skin.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Winai saw Thailand’s advantage is that the producers of food in the market vary from substantial size to very small size which tend to be contaminated more than anywhere else. The high contamination rate of food is what makes the center more important. In the case that producer wants to prove that the produced food is halal, they can bring the sample for testing for free. For the last year, the center has provided 6 training for Islamic food producer in 6 provinces in Andaman area to help build foundation and systemization. Furthermore, the center has provided help for more than 40 factories in system placement nationally and internationally such as Indonesia and Malaysia,

The center also provide quota for uptown students who are interested in halal study to come down and study at the center for free without any forcing work year in the center. This is because the center aims to produce more qualified scientists and at the same time improving the knowledges for the country. Before the budget is issued from the governments in the last year, halal science only received supports from Chulalongkorn University for 9 years. After receiving the budget in the last year, the center is able to expand its scope to food products, chemical used in food product, medicine, herb, consumer good and slaughterhouse.

Nowadays staff and employees are working as researcher which is considered the heart of the center. And, with academics from Science, Medical and Veterinary Medicine faculties working together making Halal Science Center functions more completed. Additionally, the center acts as research center for bachelor, master and doctor college students. With continuous support from the government the center could certainly achieve its mission:

  • To be equipped with laboratory with advanced and standardized scientific analysis tools.
  • To provide analysis service of detection of prohibited contaminant and substance (Harom and Nayis) used in Halal food production processes.
  • To explore new techniques and tools for Halal product analysis.
  • To create record of raw materials, chemical substances and products for the benefit of industries and consumers.
  • To create website which serves as informer of knowledges for Halal industry and consumer.
  • To provide scientific support for Halal standard institutes and Islamic organization operating in Halal certification services.
  • To provide advices for industries and restaurants that produce Halal products using Halal-GMP/HACCP system.
  • To provide training for entrepreneur, consumer and the general public.