The Issue of Undeclared Ingredients in Halal and Kosher Food Production: A Focus on Processing Aids


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 Since the early 1900s the food industry has undergone major advances that have led to more than half of the shelves in a modern supermarket being stocked with packaged and processed foods. These boxed, canned, and frozen foods achieve their convenience by using a number of food ingredients and processing aids. The original sources and the details of their processing prior to inclusion in the final food product are not provided to consumers but will determine their acceptability for both halal and kosher food production. While additives are generally declared on a product label, processing aids are not shown on the ingredient statement and thus the consumer is not even aware of their presence. Some additives can be legally grouped into generic categories (such as spices) that also make it difficult for consumers to determine what exactly is in the products they buy and how these products have been processed. Thus, consumers need to put more pressure on the kosher and halal marketing system to use trademarked symbols that represent an organization that the consumer can hold accountable and which provides both the companies and the consumer with confidence in the kosher and/or halal status of the products being offered in the marketplace.