UPDATED: Are Dorito’s and Smith’s Chips Halal?
Not all chips/crisps are the same. If there is a reasonable assumption that the crisps one is eating would contain meat products he should read the ingredients. If the ingredients do not contain an item that would be prohibited to consume than he can eat the crisps. Otherwise, obviously, he would have to refrain. The following are three examples of crisps and their ingredients:
Smith’s Original Crinkle Cut Potato Chips
Here, one would not assume that this product contains meat products so one can eat it without reading the ingredients. But, just to make sure, the ingredients are: potato, vegetable oil, and salt. All of these ingredients are clearly permissible, therefore eating these crisps would have no problem whatsoever.
Smith’s Chicken Flavoured Crinkle Cut Potato Chips
Here, since the word chicken is used in the title, an assumption can be made that this product contains meat. Therefore, one should refer to the ingredients. The ingredients of this product are: potato, vegetable oil, maltodextrin, sugar, flavour enhancers 621, 635, and 620, salt, flavours, hydrolysed vegetable protein, onion powder, yeast extract, garlic powder, herbs (parsley, sage), spices (black pepper, turmeric). The word chicken is not found in the ingredients, but there are some unknowns. Let’s take a closer look:
Maltodextrin: this is a polysaccharide which is produced from starch commonly used in the production of sodas and candy.
Flavour Enhancer 621: Monosodium L-glutamate (MSG) is a natural amino acid commonly prepared from molasses by bacterial fermentation. Adverse effects of this product appear in some asthmatic people and should not be given to infants or young children as it can damage the nervous system. Has been proven to result in diseases such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Pregnant women, children, hypoglycaemic, elderly, and those with heart disease are at risk from reactions. But, it does not contain meat.
Flavour Enhancer 635: Magnesium di-L-glutamate is also commonly prepared from molasses by bacterial fermentation. This product does not have any known adverse effects.
Flavour Enhancer 620: Glutamic acid is a natural amino acid also prepared from molasses by bacterial fermentation. This product can cause similar effects as 621, hence young children should avoid.
Flavours: although it does not specify what these flavours are, the assumption is that a flavour would not be produced from a meat product. One can call the company (not obligatory to do so) to find out if they want to be borderline OCD.
UPDATE: After calling the company, it was determined that this flavour of chips was not vegetarian. Thus, these flavours must contain meat sources. Hence, not bad to take precaution and call from time to time. This does not mean that one has to call for everything though. They did say that some other flavours with meat names, including the the thinly cut bbq chips are vegetarian.
Frito-Lay Nacho Cheese Doritos
Now for my North American brothers and sisters where Dorito’s is a household name, let’s look and see whats in these chips: whole corn, vegetable oil, salt, cheddar cheese, maltodextrin, wheat flour, whey, monosodium glutamate, buttermilk solids, romano cheese from cow’s milk, whey protein concentrate, onion powder, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, corn flour, disodium phosphate, lactose, natural and artificial flavor, dextrose, tomato powder, spices, lactic acid, artificial color (yellow 6, yellow 5, red 40), citric acid, sugar, garlic powder, red and greed bell pepper powder, sodium casinate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, nonfat milk solids, whey protein isolate, and corn syrup solids. No clear animal sources mentioned here, let’s take a closer look at the unknowns:
Disodium phosphate: this chemical is produced through a series of reactions involving sulphuric acid and ground phosphate rock. The usage is safe and are actually used in medicines to treat high calcium levels and calcium-based kidney stones. But, if excessively used it can lead to osteoporosis.
Natural and artificial flavour: although it does not specify what these flavours are, the assumption is that a flavour would not be produced from a meat product. One can call the company (not obligatory to do so) to find out if they want to be borderline OCD.
Dextrose: this is a single chained carbohydrate which is absorbed rapidly by the body. It can actually raise insulin leading to a more anabolic environment when exercising. Hence, it is actually sold as a nutrient. http://www.bulknutrients.com.au/buy/dextrose-monohydrate/DM
Yellow 6: this food colouring agent is also known as sunset yellow and orange yellow. It is manufactured from aromatic hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. It can cause an allergic reaction in people who suffer from aspirin intolerance.
Yellow 5: this is tartrazine which is a vegan synthetic dye. Some people do suffer from allergic reactions, particularly amongst asthmatics and those with aspirin intolerance.
Red 40: this dye was originally manufactured from coal tar, but is now mostly derived from petroleum. It is not derived from an insect as some thought. There are no serious health risks proven from this ingredient.
Disodium Inosinate: this additive is generally produced from meat or fish. It can also be produced from tapioca starch without any animal products involved. It is sometimes labeled as vegetarian when produced from plant sources. Since this product can be produced by both, one can assume it is produced from vegetable sources and consume it. But, if one wants to be completely sure he can call the company and ask.
Disodium guanylate: this additive is produced from dried fish or seaweed. It is not safe for babies under 12 weeks and should be avoided by asthmatics. This product is also derived from potentially prohibited animal sources (non-scaled fish) or permissible sources, hence one can consume.
Whey protein isolate: this is an additive derived from separating components from milk and is therefore permissible.
Hence, Dorito’s poses more of a problem than even Chicken flavoured Smith’s chips in that it contains two products that are potentially prohibited. One can consume them due to the doubt of these two sources being derived from animal or plant sources. But, one can also take precaution and find out what the disodium Inosinate and disodium guanylate used therein stem from.