Mozzarella cheese can be Halal or not. It is the rennet enzyme used in the production that determines its halal status. If finding Halal-certified cheese is not feasible, try kosher or vegetarian-friendly products. These products are also suitable for Muslim consumers as they are prepared with vegetable or microbial rennet. These products are widely available in North America and other Western countries.
Mozzarella is one of the most popular cheeses used in so many delicious foods. From pizza, lasagna, salads, pasta, you name it. Due to its ubiquitous use in our everyday food items, knowing its halal status is highly essential to Muslim customers.
In this article, we dive into the critical aspects of halal mozzarella production and tips to choose a halal product for you and your loved ones.
What Makes Mozzarella Cheese Halal (or Not)
The production of mozzarella starts with adding living bacteria to initiate the fermentation process and ripen the milk. Next, rennet is added to coagulate the milk, which later separates into curds and whey. Finally, the curds are then stretched, kneaded, and formed into desirable shapes. (source)
The primary concern of halal cheese production is the addition of rennet, a natural enzyme produced in the stomach of young ruminant mammals, such as calf, sheep, and pig, to allow them to digest the mother’s milk. (sources)
To produce halal mozzarella (and other cheeses, too), one must ensure that the rennet is obtained from permissible sources. While the traditional source is from animal origin, other alternatives are also widely available.
Animal (calf, sheep, pig)
If rennet is extracted from pig, that’s obviously haram. No further question.
For rennet sourced from calf or sheep, there can be two scenarios. If the animals are slaughtered according to sharia (dhabiha), the enzyme is lawful and halal.
If the animals died naturally or were not slaughtered in the Islamic way, there are two different opinions. First, most scholars agree that the rennet is haram, so are dairy products prepared with it. Second, according to the Hanafi school, rennet is considered pure as long as it is not extracted from pigs. (source)
Some plants, such as fig, nettle, and thistle, have the ability to coagulate milk. This option is also suitable for halal cheese making.
Microbial-based rennet is usually extracted from fungi or molds. This is also a good alternative for halal cheese production.
Genetically-Modified Sources (Chymosin)
Chymosin is considered halal as long as the production meets halal requirements.
Here comes the good news.
Nowadays, many dairy products manufacturers are shifting to vegetable or microbial sources due to economic consideration and to accommodate consumers with special diets, such as vegetarian, kosher, and halal.
Tips: How to Know if Mozzarella Cheese is Halal
By now, we understand the crucial aspect of halal mozzarella production. So, how do you know when the stretchy cheese is halal or not?
Here are our simple tips before you decide to put the cheese into your shopping cart.
- The ideal option would be choosing products with Halal certification. Fortunately, we can find several brands with Halal logo in American markets.
- Opt for vegetarian and kosher products. If option 1 is not feasible, this is your best bet. Cheeses prepared with vegetable and microbial-based sources are acceptable. Read the label carefully to obtain this information.
- If you’re still doubting, don’t hesitate to contact the producers or check the FAQ page on their websites.
List of Vegetarian/ Halal Mozzarella Brands
We have researched and made a list of manufacturers that use vegetable or microbial rennet in their mozzarella.
- 365 by Whole Foods Market (Found on Amazon)
- Rumiano (Found on Amazon)
- Buf creame (Found on Amazon)
- Calabro (Found on Amazon)
- Organic valley (Found on Amazon)
- Cabot Cheese (a broad range of their cheeses are Halal-certified!)
- Tillamook (many of their products are Halal-certified too)
- El Mexicano (halal certified)
- Trader’s Joe
Mozzarella cheese can be both halal and haram, depending on the type of rennet used for its production.
Luckily, a lot of cheese producers now use vegetable and microbial rennet rather than animal origin. While the safest option is to choose Halal-certified products, you can also select kosher and vegetarian-friendly cheese as an alternative.
Speaking of cheese, find out whether American cheese is halal or not?