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Dietary Laws

How to Avoid Pork
by Jamila Rufaro

He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of God... (Qur'an 2:173)

The Holy Qur'an prohibits us from eating pork in ayats 2:173, 5:4, 6:145 and 16:115. Avoiding pork in this country is difficult because pork and pork by-products use a variety of names when they are included in many of the foods and cosmetics we buy. Did you know that glycerine is often made from pork and is commonly used to make toothpaste and soap? This article will focus on pork products that are commonly overlooked by people who are trying to avoid pork.

Pork products are sometimes used to make snack foods such as puddings, jello, chips, crackers, cookies, donuts and marshmallows including marshmallow bits in cereal and hot cocoa. Pork products are also found in some brands of cake frosting, cheese spreads, yogurt, margarine, and ice cream. Look for words like lard, animal fats, animal glyceride, hydrolyzed animal protein, enzymes, emulsifiers, monostearates, mono and di-glyceride and gelatin on the label when you buy these products. Dairy products such as whipped cream, sour cream and cheese may also contain gelatin or rennet. Rennet is an enzyme which turns milk solids into cheese. Animal rennet is most often used. Look for mono and di-glyceride (forms of glycerine), or enzymes on the label. They may not all be made with pork but the only way to know for sure is to contact the company or look for the Kosher marking (K or U) on the label. Pork in the form of glycerine, keratin, collagen and tallow are used in cosmetics and toiletries. Some common ones that contain pork or pork by-products are lipstick, shaving cream, toothpaste, had lotion, bath soap and shampoos. Pork is also hidden in detergents, cleansers, dish liquids, and soaps.

Some medications may also contain pork products; the most common is the gelatin coated tablet of the gelatin capsule (gelcaps). The Physicians Desk Reference is a reliable source that we can refer to for the names, ingredients, indications, reactions and brands of every prescription and non-prescription drug or medication on the market.

Adapted from: 'How Not to Eat Pork' (or 'Life Without the Pig') by Sharazad Ali, Civilized Publications, Philadelphia, 1985.

Beware of Pork in these Popular Brands:

Ivory soap, Colgate toothpaste, Nabisco cookies, Dryers ice cream, Lucky Charms Cereal, Jergens Lotion, Carnation Coffee Mate & Jello Pudding.


The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

June / July 1992
Dul-Hijjah 1412
Note from the Editors
Letters to the Editor
Italy turns to Islam
The Hajj
Dietary Laws
Quranic Miracles
Qur'an and Science
The Kid's Corner
Why I Embraced Islam
Women in Islam
The Prophet Ishaq (Isaac)
Stories of the Sahabah
Teachings of the Prophet