Are Marshmallows Halal?


Marshmallows
Photo Courtesy: John Morgan

Marshmallows are typically made with pork or beef gelatin. The spongy candy is only permissible and suitable for Muslims if it’s produced with either halal sources, namely (1) beef gelatin obtained from Halal-slaughtered cattle, (2) fish gelatin, or (3) plant-based (carrageenan, agar-agar).

If there is one thing you can’t leave out for campfires and winter nights, it must be marshmallows. The sweet treat is delicious to eat straight from the package or on top of a cup of hot cocoa. No wonder both kids and adults adore this fun-to-eat, squishy candy.

Unfortunately, marshmallow is one of the food items that should be on the lookout when it comes to suitability for Muslims.

This article discusses the factor that makes marshmallow halal to eat and a few tips to find Halal brands.

Table of Contents:

What Makes Marshmallow Halal or Not?
Islamic Rulings for Gelatin in Foods?
Tips to Find Halal Marshmallows
List of Halal Marshmallow Brands
Final Note

What Makes Marshmallow Halal or Not?

Marshmallow composition mainly consists of sugar, water, and gelatin. The ingredients are mixed and whipped until forming a solid texture, but light and airy.

Among other ingredients, gelatin is the critical ingredient that determines the halal or haram of marshmallows.

Gelatin is commonly derived from collagen tissues of various animal parts, primarily from pig skins and cowhides/ bones (Learn more about halal collagen supplements).

The animal by-product is a crucial ingredient in the food industry. It is widely used as a gelling agent and thickener in a vast array of products from confectionery, jellies, ice cream, yogurt, cookies, and cakes.

Islamic Rulings for Gelatin in Foods?

In general, Muslim scholars agree that pork gelatin is haram. 

Some people may consider it permissible, considering that it has undergone a transformation (istihalah). However, it is unsure whether the transformation is full or partial.  Therefore, the majority of Islamic scholars rule such substance is haram. (source)

Here is the ruling for gelatin:

“It is not permissible to extract gelatin from the flesh, bones, and skin of pigs or permissible animals that have not been slaughtered in the prescribed manner.”

(source: Daarul Ifta Birmingham)

In short, it is not permissible to use these types of gelatins:

  • Pork gelatin
  • Beef gelatin from unlawfully slaughtered animals
  • Beef gelatin from cow where the killing method is unknown (doubtful source)

Rest assured that there are at least two sources of halal gelatins available on the market. They are derived from:

  • halal slaughtered cattle

Gelatin derived from lawful animals slaughtered following Islamic rules is undoubtedly permissible to use. The ruling is clear, as explained above.

  • fish

This type is less frequently used but has become a feasible halal alternative for Muslim consumers. (source)

When halal gelatin is unavailable, manufacturers can use vegetable alternatives, such as carrageenan and agar-agar. These are the so-called ‘vegan’ gelatin. Both are extracted from seaweed and are good substitutes suitable for both vegan and Muslim consumers. 

Learn more about whether a vegan / vegetarian diet is always halal or not.

Although not 100% of the properties are equal to animal-based gelatin, more manufacturers start using carrageenan for confectionery, including marshmallows. (source)

“Since seaweed extract is plant-based and there is no reason for its prohibition, it is permissible and halal to consume.”

Source: Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi via Daruul Ifta wal Irshad (Fatwa.ca)

Tips to Find Halal Marshmallows

Most famous marshmallows brands in the US and Western countries are made with pork gelatin, making this confectionery unsuitable for Muslims. For example, Jet-puffed KraftCampfire, and Kroger.

Even when the packaging says ‘gelatin,’ it is unknown whether it is pork or beef and if the cow is slaughtered properly.

Unfortunately, kosher brands in North America are not always a compatible substitute for halal marshmallows due to the absence of a universal standard for ‘kosher gelatin.’ Specific kosher certifications (for example, Ko Kosher) allow the use of pig-derived gelatin. (source)

We have a couple of simple tips for finding halal and permissible marshmallows for you and your family.

  1. Find Halal-labeled products or shop at a reputable Halal store. 
  2. Avoid picking up a kosher product, as it’s not always pork-free. As an alternative, find a vegan one.

List of Halal Marshmallow Brands

Here are some halal and vegan marshmallows you can easily find on the market. Links to Amazon are available below.

1. Ziyad Marshmallows (Halal certified, beef gelatin)

Check Out Ziyad Marshmallows on Amazon (link to Amazon)

2. Dandies (vegan, gelatin-free)

Check Out Dandies Marshmallows on Amazon (link to Amazon)

3. Trader’s Joe (vegan, gelatin-free)

Check Out Dandies Marshmallows on Amazon (link to Amazon)

Final Note

Unless otherwise stated ‘halal,’ it is almost guaranteed that many popular marshmallow brands are haram. They typically contain pork or beef gelatin from doubtful sources (unknown slaughtering method).

To find a suitable product, the best option is one with a Halal label. Alternatively, choose a vegan product that’s free from animal substances. Finally, always carefully read the label and ingredients list before purchasing.

Rosa Safitri

Rosa is a freelance writer specializing in travel and food-related topics. Born and raised in Indonesia, she used to take halal foods for granted. During her study in the Netherlands, she realized that finding halal foods can be a challenge. She grew interested in this topic and wrote a thesis about Halal Certification in the Netherlands. Since then, she’s always been excited to write and share knowledge about halal foods.

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