Are Gelling Agents Halal or Haram?

Are Gelling Agents Halal or Haram

Gelling agents fall in the category of food additives and have been in use for the last five decades. These substances form a gel when dissolved in liquid and form colloidal mixtures. Most of these gelling agents are stabilizers and thickeners and provide thickness without stiffness to a food item.

Due to their unique properties, gelling agents are used in various food products like jellies, jams, desserts, candies, and yogurts. Recently, the use of gelling agents has seen an unprecedented rise, and now they are available in every household.

Both children and adults like food products containing gelling agents. But for UK Muslims, they have posed a unique problem – whether they are halal to consume or not. In this blog, we will discuss common types of gelling agents used in food and whether they are halal or haram, so hang on.

gelling agent halal or haram

Common Types of Gelling Agents

There is a long list of gelling agents, but a few are widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. These gelling agents may be organic or inorganic. Similarly, they may be sourced from animals and plants or can be obtained synthetically from chemical reactions. The following are the most common types of gelling agents:

  • Gelatin
  • Starches
  • Pectin
  • Agar-agar

Islamic Verdict about Halal and Haram

Muslims worldwide seek guidance from Quran and Sunnah for leading their lives according to Islamic teachings. These two primary guidance sources contain timeless principles that modern Muslims can follow without any hesitation.

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 [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.(Quran 2:173) 

(Source of above-cited Quranic Verse:,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, is haram.  And also, if you slaughter any halal animal and dedicate it to others than Allah, it is haram.

In addition to these haram foods, some parts of halal animals are either haram or undesirable (makrooh) to eat. These haram or undesirable parts include:

  • Flowing blood (Absolutely haram)
  • Male genitals
  • Female genitals
  • Testicles
  • Bladder
  • Gallbladder
  • Glands
  • Haraam marrow (Spinal marrow)
  • The two muscles of the neck that stretch up to the shoulders
  • The blood from the liver
  • The blood from the spleen
  • The blood that comes out from the meat after slaughtering
  • The blood from the heart
  • Bile, i.e. the yellow fluid from inside the gallbladder
  • The nasal fluid, which is present mainly in sheep
  • Anus
  • Tripe
  • Intestines
  • Sperm
  • The transforming of sperm into blood
  • The transforming of sperm into flesh
  • The transforming of sperm into an animal that dies without slaughter.


Though the blood is absolutely haram, there may be differences in opinion among jurists and mujtahids of different Islamic schools of thought. Therefore, it is advisable to seek guidance from an established scholar of your school of thought before making any final decision regarding eating the above-stated parts of a halal animal.

Are Gelling Agents Halal or Haram?

As the origin of each of the above gelling agents is different, we will look at each of these gelling agents separately.

Gelatin: Gelatin is obtained from both plant and animal sources. Animals, most especially pigs, are excellent sources of gelatin. However, this makes it absolutely haram as Quran has clear directives about pigs. On the other hand, if a Muslim slaughters a halal animal that produces gelatin according to the Islamic Zabihah method, the gelatin will be halal.

Starches: Plants such as cereal crops and tubers (potatoes) are a great source of Starch, and therefore they are halal. They often undergo modification through chemical treatments to improve their characteristics before their use in a food product. They act as thickening agents in sauces and soups.

Pectin: Like starches, pectin is also a plant-based gelling agent that comes mainly from citrus fruits. Most jellies and soft drinks on the market contain Pectin; therefore, it is halal to consume.

Agar-agar: Agar-agar comes from red algae which inhabit seas. This algae-based gelling agent is preferable to animal-based gelatin and is present in many foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. Agar-agar is halal, and therefore it is safe to eat.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *