Are Carotenes Halal or Haram?

halalorharam header

 Carotene is an orange or red plant pigment found in many fruits and vegetables. In addition, carotenes are also the reason behind the orange coloration of dry foliage.

Carotenes and xanthophylls are carotenoids and are a class of phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients). These phytonutrients are essential for human health.

carotenes halal or haram

Carotenes don’t have any oxygen and give bright red and orange hues, while xanthophylls possess oxygen and give yellow coloration to fruits, vegetables, and dry foliage.

Carotenes are an integral part of many fruits and vegetables. When halal animals and birds like chickens consume carotenes, their fat retains a considerable quantity of carotenes resulting in the yellow color found in chicken fats. They are also present in fruits and vegetables, likewise in the fats of many halal animals. This blog will discuss whether foods containing these nutrients are halal or haram. 

Foods Containing Carotenes

There are hundreds of carotenes but alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lycopene are the most important. These hundreds of carotenes are present in almost every colorful fruit and vegetable. In addition, many halal animals like cows, sheep, goats, and birds like chickens consume them daily.

Foods rich in carotenes are;

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Papaya
  • Pumpkin
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter squash

A few of these carotenes, like beta carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, are vitamin A precursors.  When we consume fruits and vegetables containing carotenes, we promote our health.

Several research studies have revealed that carotenes affect human health positively. Especially, carotenes-rich foods are good for eye and heart health and prevent cancer. Many Muslims around the globe and especially in the UK will wonder about the halal or haram nature of carotenes.

Islamic Principle of Halal and Haram

Generally, most plant-based foods are halal – though some vegan products like alcohol (plant-based) are haram. In Islam, the 173 verse of Surah Al Baqarah has distinguished halal from haram.

Allah (SWT), in Surah Al Baqarah, has clarified the halal and haram food for Muslims.

He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [it’s limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.(Quran 2:173) 

(Source of above-cited Quranic Verse: https://quran.com/2/173?translations=84,17,95,101,22,20)

This Quranic verse is the guiding principle for distinguishing halal food from haram in Islam. According to this verse of the Holy Quran, carrion, i.e. dead meat, the blood, and swine (pig) meat are haram. And also, if any halal animal is slaughtered and dedicated to other than Allah, it is haram.

Are Carotenes Halal or Haram?

According to the above-cited verse, carotenes are halal when consumed in fruits and vegetables. But some carotenes like beta carotene sell in the market as food additives, while certain carotenes (mixture) sell under the E number (E160a). This food coloration additive is plant-based, but it requires an oily substance to disperse in a food product. Like Vitamin A, this provitamin A precursor is insoluble in water, and therefore it should mix in some oil or gelatin.

Mixing carotene-based food additive with fish oil or vegetable oil makes it halal. On the other hand, mixing the additive with pork gelatin will result in the food product becoming haram. (Source: https://daruliftabirmingham.co.uk/home/is-beta-carotene-halal/)

So, eating natural carotenes in fresh fruits and leafy vegetables is permissible. Still, mixing this natural food additive bearing E number E160a with pork gelatin, the resulting food product will become haram.

Today, many processed food products contain E160a additive, which is carotene. This carotene itself is halal, but many companies don’t furnish info about the carrier of E160a in the product in question. So, it is your responsibility to inquire about the carrier of E160a, and if it is pork gelatin, then the product is absolutely haram.

Conclusion

According to Islam, Muslims must use halal ingredients to process halal foods. If a product contains a slight trace of haram ingredient, then the food product will be haram.

In the case of natural carotenes, you can eat them as they are halal, but if you add a mixture of E160a and pork gelatin to a meal, then the beta carotene and the product will be haram.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.