Is American cheese halal? American cheese is a type of processed cheese that is widely popular in the United States. It is made from a blend of natural cheeses, such as cheddar and colby, and is known for its smooth and creamy texture.
However, many people have raised questions about whether or not American cheese is halal, or permissible for Muslims to consume according to Islamic dietary laws.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the American cheese, and explore whether or not it is considered halal.
Is American Cheese Halal?
Yes, American cheese is 100% halal when the original cheeses used to make it use non-animal rennet. American cheese is considered permissible when the source of the animal enzymes are from live animal milk. Animal rennet from a dead animal that was not slaughtered in accordance to Sharia has a chance of not being halal.
American cheese is essentially made by combining various cheeses, including cheddar, washed curd, granular, and Colby.
Unfortunately, cheddar cheese and many other kinds of cheese are unsuitable for hal people as they often include non-halal animal rennet in the thickening process.
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Can American Cheese Be Made Without Rennet?
Animal rennet is the ingredient that gives cheese its amazing flavour.
It is used to begin the process of converting a tub of creamy, liquid milk into solid tangy cheese by separating the watery whey from the solid curd.
Without rennet, it is impossible to transform curd into Colby, milk into mozzarella, or cream into cream cheese.
Rennet is an essential component of the cheese-making process. American cheese is made from cheeses that require rennet; however, rennet does not have to be animal-based.
Rennet is also taken from plants or can be genetically modified. If this type of rennet is added, the American cheese is Halal.
Ruling On Eating Cheese If The Source Of The Rennet Is Not Known
The ruling on rennet varies according to where it is taken from. If it is taken from an animal that has been slaughtered in accordance with sharee’ah, then it is pure and may be eaten.
If it is taken from an animal that died of natural causes or an animal that was not slaughtered in accordance with sharee’ah, then there is a difference of opinion among the fuqaha’ concerning it.
The majority of Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis are of the view that it is najis. Abu Haneefah and Ahmad, according to the other report narrated from him, were of the view that it is taahir and halal.
This is the view favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him). He said in al-Fataawa (21/102):
It is more likely that their cheese (referring to the Magians) is halaal and that the rennet from a dead animal (one that died of natural causes) and its milk are taahir. End quote.
According to Fatwa answered by IslamQA, the correct opinion is that whether you know the source of the rennet and that it comes from an animal that was slaughtered properly or otherwise, or you do not know, there is nothing wrong with eating cheese that has been made with it.