List Of Halal & Non Halal Cheeses


Kraft Cheeses come in many different kinds, shapes, and sizes. It’s not always easy to differentiate between halal and non halal cheese. This is due to many factors like lack of labelling on products and complicated production.

That’s why we decided to find out which Kraft cheeses are considered halal or non-halal by contacting Kraft.

The following Kraft Cheeses do not contain any animal rennet (animal enzymes) and are considered halal by nature: Kraft Grated Romano Parmesan, Kraft Natural Swiss, and Kraft Philadelphia Cream. The following Kraft Cheeses contain Animal rennet from Non Halal meat and can’t be considered halal: Kraft Sharp & Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheeses, Kraft American Cheese, Velveeta, and Deli Deluxe.

Cheese
Photo Courtesy: Roxanne Ready

Table of Contents:

1- Krafts Response To Whether Their Cheese is Halal
2- List of Kraft Cheeses That Contain No Animal Products
3- List of Kraft Cheese That Contain Animal Products That Were Not Slaughtered In Accordance to Islamic Law
4- What Makes Cheese Not Halal
5- Does Kraft Cheese Contain Pork
6- Is American Cheese Halal?
7- How To Choose Halal Cheese When In Doubt
8- What is Parmesan Cheese?
9- Is cheese made from rennet halal to eat?
10- The Opinion of Islamic Schools
11- The Safe Way – vegetarian cheese
12- List of Halal/Vegetarian/Vegan Parmesan Cheese
13- Is Feta Cheese Halal?

Krafts Response To Whether Their Cheese is Halal

To find out if Krafts cheeses are halal or not, we contacted them so that you don’t have to! Here’s what we asked them:

Hello,

Hope your day is going well.

I wanted to know if the enzymes used to make Kraft Cheeses are derived from animals? (is animal rennet used to make Kraft Cheeses?)

Mainly concerned about Kraft cheese sold in the US.

Thanks

Halal Guidance Team

They responded to us and said:

Hello,

I wanted to get back to you about the nutritional question you have for KRAFT Cheese. I’m glad I have the chance to help. Please check below are the details regarding enzymes in all our cheeses. 

SHARP & EXTRA SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESES contain animal derived enzymes sourced from calf, kid, and lamb. These enzymes assist in flavor and texture development.

The enzyme used is NOT a pork enzyme. The process of converting milk into cheese is dependent on coagulating through the use of this enzyme. Our enzymes are purchased from a reputable supplier.

GRATED ROMANO: Our Grated Romano cheeses do contain an enzyme which is of animal source.

KRAFT NATURAL SWISS & KRAFT GRATED PARMESAN – Kraft Natural Swiss and Kraft Grated Parmesan utilize microbial rennet which is NOT made with enzymes extracted from animal tissue – grated parmesan may contain lipase (from animal source). Please check ingredient line on the product packaging.

KRAFT SINGLES – We use enzymes in the cheese making process to make our cheese from milk. The milk ingredient is stated on the package in our ingredient line. These enzymes are sourced from both microbial fermentations and animal sources. The animal sources are cow, sheep and goat. Kraft Singles does not contain any pork derived ingredients.

VELVEETA
The enzymes in Velveeta loaf may come from two sources; (1) isolated from microbial fermentations, and, (2) isolated from animal sources (cow, lamb, goat, but not from pork).

DELI DELUXE
The enzymes in Deli Deluxe cheese can come from two sources (1) isolated from microbial fermentations (2) isolated from animal sources (cow, lamb, goat, but not from pork).

PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE cultures are microbial.

Kraft Director of Consumer Relations

Based on their response it is clear that some of the cheeses that they offer do not contain animal rennet (or any animal-based ingredients) since they use microbial enzymes. Therefore, these cheeses are considered halal by nature.

However, there are some cheeses mentioned that contain animal products which is not considered halal because they did not indicate that these animals were slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law (shariah).

To simplify their long response, we’ve created a list of halal and non halal Kraft cheeses as per Krafts response.

List of Kraft Cheeses That Contain No Animal Products

According to the response we received from Kraft, the following cheese are halal by nature to eat as they do not contain any animal products.

1- Granted Romano

Check out Krafts Grated Romano on InstaCart (link to InstaCart) to have it delivered with the rest of your groceries or on Amazon (link to Amazon)

2- Kraft Natural Swiss

Check out on InstaCart (link to InstaCart) to have it delivered with the rest of your groceries Krafts Natural Swiss Cheese on Amazon (link to Amazon)

3- Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Check out on InstaCart (link to InstaCart) to have it delivered with the rest of your groceries Krafts Natural Swiss Cheese on Amazon (link to Amazon)

List of Kraft Cheese That Contain Animal Products That Were Not Slaughtered In Accordance to Islamic Law

The following Kraft cheeses have animal enzymes from animals that muslims are allowed to consume but these animals were not slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law. Therefore, the animal itself is not considered halal to consume and this also means that the animal rennet extracted from those animals to make the cheese is not halal.

Therefore, we can not say that these Kraft Cheeses are halal:

  1. Sharp & Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheeses
  2. Kraft Singles (American cheese)
  3. Velveeta
  4. Deli deluxe

What Makes Cheese Not Halal

When it comes to questioning whether a cheese is halal or not, It typically comes down to whether the cheese manufacturer used animal rennet. Animal rennet is an enzyme obtained from the fourth stomach of an unweaned calf (this can include veal calves, or even lamb and kid) but is nowadays available in a liquid form (source).

Typically, animal rennet is used from (source):

  • Lambs
  • Goat
  • Cows / Calves

While these 3 animals are permissible for muslims to consume, the way animal rennet is extracted typically means that the animal needs to be slaughtered first in order to extract the enzymes from its stomach lining.

Islamic scholars do agree that if the animal rennet used to make a cheese is from an animal that has been slaughtered in accordance to islamic law (shariah), then the cheese itself is halal and permissible for muslims to consume.

An anonymous person asked Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid about what the ruling was on eating cheese made from enzymes from an animal that was not slaughtered Islamically.

He responded by saying:

The Islamic ruling concerning rennet is that if it is taken from an animal that has been slaughtered according to sharee’ah, then it is pure (taahir) and can be eaten. This is according to the Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis.

As regards eating rennet taken from an animal that dies naturally, or that was not slaughtered in accordance with sharee’ah, according to the apparent meaning of the opinions reported from the majority of scholars among the Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis have said, it is impure (naajis) and should not be eaten. They base this ruling on the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “Forbidden to you for food) are: al-maytatah (dead animals – cattle-beast not slaughtered)” [al-Maa;idah 5:3] – the rennet becomes impure by virtue of the animal’s death, and it is not possible to remove that impurity from it. 

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid (source)

This confirms the point we were making earlier. If the animal used to extract the animal rennet from was slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law, then it is considered halal.

Does Kraft Cheese Contain Pork

No. Kraft cheeses contain animal rennet and enzymes from the following sources:

  • Cow
  • Calf
  • Lamb (sheep)
  • Microbial Enzymes

Is American Cheese Halal?

Kraft American Cheese packs
Photo Courtesy: Mike Mozart

American cheese is used on a lot of different sandwiches, if you’re one of the few who doesn’t eat it, you’ve definitely seen them at a BBQ cookout.

Since they’re so popular, we wanted to look into whether it is halal or not. To do this, we contacted one of the biggest producers of American cheese in America. We wanted to know what the ingredients were that may make American cheese not halal.

As per our research, here’s what we found: American cheese is considered halal when the source of the animal enzymes are from live animal milk (cow, lamb, or calf). Animal rennet from a dead animal that was not slaughtered in accordance to Sharia (halal slaughter) has a strong chance of not being halal.

We Contacted Kraft To Find Out If Their American Cheese Is Halal or Not

If you’ve read any of our posts, you know we like to reach out to the source and do our homework to give you the best information to help you make an educated decision.

We reached out to Kraft because their American cheese is very popular. While we couldn’t reach out to every American Cheese manufacturer in America, contacting Kraft would give us an idea of how it is produced.

Here’s what we asked Kraft about their American cheese:

Hello,

Hope your day is going well.

I wanted to know if the American cheese made by Kraft, that is sold in the US, is halal ?

Thanks

Halal Guidance Team

Here’s their response:

Hello,

I appreciate you for contacting us about the KRAFT Singles American Cheese Slices being Halal. I’m glad I have the chance to help you.

I’d like to let you know that halal Certification is the process of having a qualified independent third party supervise the production of consumables, attesting that they were produced in conformity with the preparation and ingredient standards of the halal lifestyle. Kraft Heinz products are considered Halal when they carry the Crescent – M Halal Logo.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

Kraft Director of Consumer Relations

Their response was simple. If it has a “Crescent – M halal logo” then it is halal. However, none of us have seen the logo that they are referring to.

We dug a bit deeper by analyzing their ingredients. We wanted to know what type of animal rennet is used.

Kraft American Cheese Ingredients

Here’s their full list of ingredients that we got from their site (source):

  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Water, Milkfat
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Calcium Phosphate
  • Contains Less Than 2% Of Salt
  • Sodium Phosphate
  • Sorbic Acid As A Preservative
  • Annatto And Oleoresin Paprika (Color), With Sunflower Lecithin Added For Slice Separation.

Having looked at the ingredients, the source of the enzymes (animal rennet) used is unclear. It is known that milk used to make American cheese is from a cow, calf, or something from the lab.

Our area of concern is that they don’t specify the source of the animal enzymes (animal rennet) used to make the cheese. If it was extracted from the stomach of a dead cow, then it is commonly understood that the likelihood of it being haram is high.

Granted every company produces their American cheese differently. We strongly recommend that you do your own research and read the ingredients list.

How To Know If American Cheese Is Halal

While we only looked at Kraft’s American cheese, here’s our advice on how to figure out whether the American cheese you’re eating is halal or not.

  1. Does it have a Halal logo? (If yes, then don’t think twice and buy it!)
  2. What is the source of the animal enzymes used to make it ? (Is the animal rennet used to make the cheese halal? is it from a cow, calf, lamb, that was slaughtered in accordance to Sharia?)
  3. Contact the manufacturer

Is Parmesan Cheese Halal?

Photo Courtesy: Emily

Islamic scholars have differing opinions regarding whether parmesan cheese made from animal-sourced rennet is halal to consume or not. If the animal from which the rennet is obtained has been slaughtered in the Islamic way, then the rennet is halal and hence so is the parmesan cheese. To avoid any doubt, it is safest to purchase vegetarian, ‘parmesan style’ cheeses that are certainly halal.

Islamic opinions regarding parmesan cheese and its consumption vary. There are certain conditions under which parmesan cheese is considered halal by the majority opinion of Islamic schools, and other scenarios wherein scholars have different views. In this article, we will explore the evidences thoroughly and conclude with our understanding of the matter.

What is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is an aged, hard cheese made primarily from raw cow’s milk. Parmesan cheese typically contains rennet – an enzyme that is found naturally in the stomachs of young plant-eating mammals. Rennet is used to coagulate the cow’s milk, for producing cheese.

Is Cheese Made From Rennet Halal To Eat?

Natural rennet is extracted from the stomach lining of calves. Islamic scholars unanimously agree that if the calf is slaughtered as per Islamic guidelines, then the extracted rennet is halal (source). However, if the veal has not been slaughtered in the Islamic way, many consider cheese made from rennet to be haram and not permissible to eat. This includes traditional parmesan cheese.

The Opinion of Islamic Schools on Whether Parmesan Cheese is Halal Or Haram

Islamic schools of thought differ in their understanding of rennet (which is used to make parmesan cheese) and its permissibility. For example, the following evidences showcase the opinions of the Shafi and Maliki schools (source):

The Maliki reference, Manh al-Jaleel, says that: “Imam Malik disliked cheese because it was made by rennet of animals that are not slaughtered according to the Islamic Law (maitah).”

In Sharh al-Bahja, a Shafi’i reference, it states that “cheese is allowed as long as the rennet is obtained from a properly slaughtered halal animal that is only feeding on milk, otherwise the contents of its stomach are najis (impure).”

Moreover, Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid provided further insight into the majority opinion of Islamic schools. This was in response to an anonymous question that asked about cheese made using rennet sourced from animals not slaughtered in the Islamic way. The response is as follows:

The Islamic ruling concerning rennet is that if it is taken from an animal that has been slaughtered according to sharee’ah, then it is pure (taahir) and can be eaten. This is according to the Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis.

As regards eating rennet taken from an animal that dies naturally, or that was not slaughtered in accordance with sharee’ah, according to the apparent meaning of the opinions reported from the majority of scholars among the Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis have said, it is impure (naajis) and should not be eaten. They base this ruling on the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “Forbidden to you for food) are: al-maytatah (dead animals – cattle-beast not slaughtered)” [al-Maa;idah 5:3] – the rennet becomes impure by virtue of the animal’s death, and it is not possible to remove that impurity from it. 


Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid (source)

However, some Hanafi scholars believe that rennet is innately halal as a substance, but consuming it is haram. The difference comes from the extraction – the scholars believe that natural rennet can never be truly purified. On the other hand, the Hanafi scholar Ali Qaari cites the following as evidence that rennet is halal to consume (source):

“Ibn Umar, radhiallahu anhu, narrates that our Rasul, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, was given a piece of Jubnah [Cheese] in Tabuk; he called for a knife, praying the tasmiyya he cut it [and ate it].”
Abu Dawud

The Hanafi scholar regards this as proof that rennet is halal since this particular cheese was produced from it.

The Safe Way – Vegetarian Cheese

Although authentic Parmesan, i.e Parmigiano Reggiano, is made from natural rennet, there are parmesan-like cheeses available made from vegetarian-friendly enzymes, including vegetarian or synthetic rennet. Some enzymes are microbial-based, produced by yeast or fungi, and can be used to make parmesan-style cheese.

List of Halal/Vegetarian/Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Here’s a list of Parmesan Cheeses that you can get that do not contain animal rennet:

1. Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

Check it out on InstaCart (link to InstaCart) to have it delivered with the rest of your groceries or on Amazon (link to Amazon)

2. Uprise Grated Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon)

3. Go Veggie Parmesan Cheese

Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon)

Is Feta Cheese Halal?

Well, Feta Cheese is considered a type of dairy products, it comes from solidifying milk by using a substance called Rennet “Anfeha”. 

To decide whether or not Feta cheese is halal, you should know where the rennet comes from, if it comes from a pure source then it is considered halal, however, if the rennet was from an impure source it will be considered as haram and you should avoid it. 

But there’s some debate regarding the latter opinion which we will discuss later on.

The vast majority of scholars stated that Feta Cheese is Halal if it contains rennet that comes from an animal that is slaughtered in accordance with Islam, and you should avoid Feta cheese that contains an impure rennet.

What to look out for when eating Feta Cheese?

You may wonder what Rennet is and is it something you should consider while eating feta cheese?

Rennet (known in Arabic as : Anfeha): is a white-yellowish substance derived from the stomach of an infant sheep or cow. 

This natural enzyme is used to coagulate or thicken milk when making cheese, and it may come from different sources including: animal, vegetable, microbial, or genetically modified sources.

Fatwa about eating Feta Cheese

As we said earlier, there’s a debate about rennet and if it is something you should consider when eating feta cheese or not. 

As reported from the vast majority of scholars opinions, they said that if the rennet is taken from an animal that was not slaughtered in accordance to Islamic Shariaa or from an animal that died naturally, then it is not pure and should not be eaten (not halal)

They base this ruling according to the Ayah 3 of Surat al maidah

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ
(which means Prohibited to you are dead animals.)

(source)

The second opinion was from Hanafis and Hanbalis school of thoughts, they said that it is halal to eat rennet that comes from a dead animal or an animal that is not slaughtered in accordance to Shariaa.

They base that to the time of the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) when he and his companions used to consume and eat the cheese that they buy from the Fire worshipers, the Christians and from the Jews, without any problem and no one has ever stated that it is not halal.(source)

How To Choose Halal Cheese When In Doubt

If you’re unsure whether a type of cheese is halal or not, try to see if the packaging indicates whether the cheese is vegetarian or kosher. Both these options are considered halal.

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