Is Starburst Halal?


Starburst Candy - Is it halal?
Photo Courtesy: Karin Dalziel

Starburst is a known candy and can be found in almost any convenience store or grocery store. It is a small box-shaped fruit flavored candy that is manufactured by the Wrigley Company, which is owned by Mars Incorporated (source).

After contacting Mars Wrigley, we were told that Starburst is not Halal certified. While they use vegetarian-friendly whey, they are unable to confirm that there is no alcohol produced in the processing of their flavouring.

We contacted Mars wringley by email to find out if Starburst Candy is halal, here’s what we asked:

Hello,

Hope Your day is going well.

I wanted to know if Starburst candy is halal? if not, what is the ingredient used that does not qualify it to be halal?

Thank you, much appreciated!!

HalalGuidance Team

They wrote back to us saying:

Hi,

Thank you for contacting Mars Wrigley with your question regarding Halal or vegetarian suitable products.

We would like to confirm that our confectionery products sold in United States have always, and will continue to contain vegetarian-friendly whey.

We recognize that there are many different approaches to practicing vegetarianism and therefore recommend that consumers read the label of our confectionery products as milk and egg may be present.

In regards to alcohol, although we do not add it as an ingredient in our products, we are not able to guarantee that it is not present in the product through flavouring.

You can also check Islamic Services of America (ISA) which has a list of certified Mars products. 

We hope this information helps.

Mars Wrigley Representative

We were glad to know that they use vegetarian friendly whey but we wanted to look at the ingredients list to confirm if there is any alcohol used, and to know if there’s anything to watch out for.

If you’re looking to add more sweet snacks to your grocery list, check out our vetted list of halal gummies.

List of Ingredients Used To Make Starburst – Are They Halal?

We looked up the ingredient list for Starburst candy and here’s what we found (source):

  • CORN SYRUP
  • SUGAR
  • HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL
  • CITRIC ACID
  • ICING SUGAR
  • TAPIOCA DEXTRIN
  • NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS
  • GELATIN
  • APPLE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE
  • MODIFIED CORN STARCH
  • COLOURS (WITH TARTRAZINE)

While we are not food scientists here at HalalGuidance, we could not pin point any ingredient containing alcohol. However what did stand out to us was the Gelatin.

What Kind of Gelatin is in Starburst?

Photo Courtesy: steve p2008

As many muslims know, pork products are not permissible to consume in Islam and are not halal. Therefore, we had to find out whether the Gelatin used is derived from pork or not to get us a step closer to finding out whether Starburst is halal or not.

After doing some research, we found these 2 sources confirming that the Gelatin used in Starburst is derived from Beef.

1- SpoonUniversity Received Confirmation From Mars Wrigley About Beef Gelatin Used in Starburst

SpoonUniversity was on a similar mission as us but their goal was to find out if Starburst candy was vegan. Nevertheless, they proceeded to contact Mars Wrigley to find out. They responded back informing SpoonUniversity stating that Gelatin used in Starburst products are derived from beef (source).

While that disqualified it from being vegan, its certainly a small sigh of relief for the halal community (Not a complete victory though)!

2- CandyClub Confirmed that the Gelatin Used in Starburst is Derived from Gelatin.

CandyClub recently wrote a blog targeting the vegan community informing them about the candy’s their community ought to embrace or distance themselves from. In this post, they cover starburst candy and specifically state that the Gelatin used in Starburst derived from beef (source).

Thoughts On Alcohol Presence in Starburst

The main factor that threw us off when it came to Starburst being halal or not was the fruition of the alcohol in the flavouring during the processing phase of the candy. We could not get a confirmation on the percentage of alcohol found and the alcohol levels seemed ambiguous.

We covered this topic when discussing whether vanilla extract is halal or not since some brands include a small percentage of alcohol in their products during the processing stage.

However we did find that Islamic scholars came to the conclusion that the fine line comes down to intoxication. If consuming a product has enough alcohol to intoxicate you, then it is not permissible to consume and is therefore not halal.

In this case, there’s not enough alcohol in Starburst to intoxicate anyone, therefore alcohol presence in Starburst is not a concern.

Some people choose to not to consume any product with any trace of alcohol regardless of whether or not it intoxicates you. While others do choose to consume products that contain a minimal non-intoxicating amounts of alcohol (like vanilla extract).

The final decision is yours to make and we urge that you do further research before coming to your own conclusion.

We understand that everyone has their own threshold and this topic is rather controversial. We’re just sharing the information we found to help you in the process of making your own decision.

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