Why You Should Contact Food Companies to Ask if Something is Halal
I get so many questions from readers asking whether or not a product or ingredient is Halal. I don’t claim to be a scholar of the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) of food or to make any proclamations about whether something is 100% halal (permissible) or haram (forbidden). I ask the experts and find out if a product is Halal-certified, as that is always a happy moment when it is from a reputable certification source, of course.
When a product is not Halal certified but the ingredients are not straight forward, I ask the manufacturers of the product and ask to speak to someone who knows more about the ingredients than just reading them from the label. Hopefully more products in the future will be Halal-certified but for now we still have to ask a lot of questions if we’re interested in consuming a product that is Halal through and through.
That brings me to today’s blog post about Wilton’s Icing Colors. Anyone who is an avid baker in America is probably familiar with the Wilton brand. They make everything from baking sheets to cupcake liners to edible products like icing colors and are available in craft stores like Michael’s.
Getting back to Wilton’s product- this particular one only. I had a reader who emailed and asked me about whether or not the product was Halal. While I can’t say without a Halal certification symbol on the box, I decided to contact the company directly to ask about whether or not the ingredients were sourced from anything that may raise a red flag such as alcohol products or byproducts as well as animal sources or byproducts.
This is how the conversation went:
Wilton: Yvonne, Thank you very much for your inquiry about Wilton products. The majority of our products are kosher certified and conform to those standards. Here is the ingredient statement for the item you have in question. None of the ingredients are processed from or with alcohol or pork.
WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, GLYCERIN, SUGAR, SORBITOL, FD&C YELLOW #6,FOOD STARCH – MODIFIED (CORN), FD&C YELLOW #5, FD&C RED #3, FD&C BLUE #1, FD&C RED #40, CARRAGENAN, AGAR GUM, SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVATIVE), POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE), SALT, CITRIC ACID, FD&C BLUE #2.
Please let me know if there is anything further I can provide for you.
Yvonne: Thank you- can you tell me if the glycerin is animal-based at all?
Wilton Rep: Yvonne, It is from palm kernel oil.
Please let me know if there is anything further I may provide.
Three things I want to point out here: One is that just because something is kosher-certified it doesn’t automatically mean the product is also halal, as kosher products may adhere to slightly different standards in reference to pork and may also allow for alcohol. You can read more on this topic where IFANCA has written in greater detail and with more knowledge on the subject than myself: Are Kosher Products Halal?
Second, I wanted to clarify the issue of glycerin because it is an ingredient which is often derived from pork, so I just wanted to make sure.
Third, as many of you who follow my work may already know, I’m not a fan of the artificial food coloring or high fructose corn syrup in any product, Halal-certified or not. In this case, however, I thought it was a great example of a large and well-known brand that has a great reputation with foodies so why not use it as an opportunity to communicate with them about what we’d like to see in the future? They’re already making a product that is free and clear of non-halal ingredients, as far as we can tell, so let’s support furthering that process into putting the label on it.
I learned a few things from this process, one being that things aren’t always as they appear- and that can go either way in the realm of food. I think we should be asking more companies to pursue halal certification because it would certainly appeal to the millions of Muslims in America and that would be billions of Muslims worldwide. The thing is, we the halal consumers are the ones who need to ask for it. The same goes for all-natural ingredients, organic ingredients and non-GMO ingredients.
Consumers have more power than they may ever realize and a good company will always listen.
To contact Wilton, follow this link. Don’t forget to thank them for offering this giveaway while you’re at it!
About the Giveaway
Wilton is giving away one box of Icing Colors (4 ounces). All you have to do is comment on this post. I’d love to hear what you’ll be making with these icing colors if you win!
Giveaway ends next Friday, March 14, 2014 at 12:01 am
UPDATE: This contest is now closed. The winner is Mariam Saleem (comment submitted on 2014/03/09 at 10:13 am). Please contact me as soon as possible with your mailing address so we can get the Wilton product out to you right away.
Assalamaleikum Yvonne, Masha’Allah you are doing a commendable job in raising awareness about halal products. I have being decorating cakes for quite some time and love the fact that most of Wilton’s products are halal. My box of Wilton icing colors is nearly empty now. It would be great to get a new box to decorate yet another cake for my daughters.
are all the gelatin halal?
No way.. No they are not !!
Most is from pork, but some glycerin are halal like the brand from redman
I want to start making baking video’s on YouTube so this would be a nice addition, I could use the colors with some of my recipes.
Assalam alaykum. I would love it. My 3,5 years old son and 2 years old daughter and I do cookies with iceing all the time.but its solo hard to find the halal one. They love too bake with me. We will be so happy..jazakallahu hoyron.
Assalamaleikum Yvonne, Masha’Allah you are doing a commendable job in raising awareness about halal products. I plan on using it for my daughter’s birthday cake. Thank you for this opportunity for a novice like me to give it a try.
I have been looking forward to make the rainbow cake!!!! These Wilton colors looks perfect for that purpose !!:)
As Salamu 3laykum. I would use these colours to bake some rainbow cupcakes for Autism Awareness (April) as my nephew has Autism. Colourful cakes will raise awareness, look yummy and taste delicious!
My niece loves to bake aswell, she has dairy allergy so we love alternatives to normal cakes!! And these colours are milk free. Jazakillah for all the halal food advice xxxx 🙂
I took on baking a many years ago to make sure I was serving only the best quality food. I have a hard time eating store bought cakes as they taste too processed to me. It’s nice to know that one if my go to companies for products is making products that we can use to make our products the best possible. Thanks Yvonne!
I am an avid baker and always am making something during the week. I love to decorate with buttercream frosting and fondant. I will be making my sons first birthday cake next month but I have run out of my Wilton food colors. It would be wonderful to win these so I can make him the cake I want that goes with his birthday theme, Little Monster!
I’m running low and I’d love a refill 🙂
My sister is a new cake maker and I think she would love these as she is always complaining about fondant being hard to work with after being coloured. Maybe these gels will help
I have to do this all the time too. The one issue with food colouring and it is an issue I have here in Australia constantly (since we have different brands of colouring) is cochineal, it is a red dye that is made from boiling red beetles. From all my research this ingredient is considered as natural colouring, it is not considered to be vegetarian and not considered to be halal (or at the very least, extremely doubtful and should be avoided). This ingredient is called cochineal, carmine, or listed as colour 120 in most countries. I am not certain of the Red # in America. I didn’t see you mention this ingredient in your post and I’m wondering if it would be a good idea to check on this ingredient specifically as well.
I would make rainbow cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday.
I’ll decorate a cake for my nephews. I don’t know what type of cake yet but maybe a car shaped one
Salaams Yvonne! I used to bake a lot and learned from my mother about Wilton quality products. They are nostalgic for me 🙂 I’d use them to make treats for my extended relatives at our next gathering…to remind them of our mother. She passed away when my siblings were quite young.
Grateful for your excellent post about asking for Halal certification from companies. It is the only way that mainstream companies will recognize our need and value as a consumer base. Thank you!
AssaluAlaikum Yvonne! Im just so happy that my favorite wilton colors is totally Halaal although me and my Husband was deeply worried about this…. Alhamdulillah, thanks to you for inquires with the wilton company… Love to win this colorsssince i’m planning on my baby’s party… Would love to have few more colors InshaAllah 🙂 may Allah SWT reward you for being thoughtful.. Allah bless you!!
Thank you very much for the research you have done.May Allah reward you.
Well, I am a JK teacher and love to bake goodies for my 4-5 years old eager beavers. They have finished learning alphabets before March break and are looking forward to an Alphabet party after coming back. Making a colorful Alphabet cake for them would definitely be a delightful surprise.
i would love to win this pack! i could use it in my homemade red velvet cake, i can use it to dye my pancakes different colors for different holidays, and i could use it for icing for cakes.
St. Patricks day – green pancakes
Valentines day – pink and red heart pancakes
Halloween – black and orange pancakes
This is a wonderful giveaway, thank you.
Thanks so much for this post. I was just recently looking into purchasing icing colours and that to from Wilton. Im planning on making cake, cupcakes and cake pops for my daughter’s Minnie Mouse themed first birthday.
Would love to win!
Salam- thanks for the info. Thank you for inquiring into the ingredients of this product. I know what a struggle it sometimes can be to make sure all that comes to out table is halal- cause ingredients can be sometimes hard to decipher- who knew all the origins of glycerin!
These colors from Wilton will be fabulous to use with baking a variety of things. I hope i’a to be able to make something creative. Inspired. Thank you!
I would like to win this for my sis who loves baking cakes tshanks 🙂
I am an avid baker, so I’d decorate lots of cakes for people with them iA!
I’d be making an anniversary cake for my parents when i go home from my hostel and meet them after ages! ^_^
Great post! I will surely keep the last suggestion in mind when speaking with a manufacturer about a product’s ingredients.
I would be making cupcakes’ icing with the gels if I win them.
I would love to make some home made play doh with this food colouring
I would me decorating dozens of cupcakes for my kids’ school 🙂
I think that Myhalalkitchen.com is one of the best website that I look into. I love her writing, pictures and what she is trying to tell the whole World about what foods we intake. Just Love all of the greatness that she writes from her Heart! She is humble .
I’d use the colors for my locally famous cupcakes. My niece loves helping with putting on the frosting…. and eating it too!
Im thinking of doing super hero cake for my son
i had no idea about glycerin! may Allah swt reward you for using your site to raise awareness of these sorts of things!
Just wanted to share that you can actually request for a copy of Wilton’s latest halal certification by emailing to – WiltonIndustriesInfo@wilton.com
In the certificate there is a list of products that are halal (meringue powder etc).
so wilton icing are halal, how about wilton fondant? is it halal too?^^ thank you..
Salam Evonne, you saved my day. I bought a box of wilton colorings but dare not use it as there is no halal logo on the box. To clear my conscious I googled and Alhamdulillah my worries were all answered in great length in your blog. Subhanallah you hv done a great job clarifying this with wilton. Many thanks to wilton too for being considered to our Muslim needs. Enjoy all bakers… Im going to start doing cake decoration using wilton coloring onwards. Alhamdulillah
Forwarded as received:
Yesterday my friend had a Muslim brother invited and while they were serving food they had Mountain Dew ‘Pepsi’ on the table when the brother looked at the ingredients he found that is has a product called Yellow 5 which is made out of pigs. The brother is a doctor and his wife is a chemist. Please be careful about what you buy from now, every product that has ‘Yellow 5’ is HARAM Please forward this to all our brothers and sisters who have been mislead and are in the dark..
AssaluAlaikum,please can you tell me how about wilton fondant? is it halal too?^^ thank you..
Hi, can anyone please confirm if the Wilton food colouring gel/pastes are also carmine/cochineal free?
Hi.. I love to bake n decorate cakes for my kids… Just want to get aware abt the vanilla fondant as well.. Is vanilla fondant by wilton is halal????
I want to ask same quistion you im confuse is it halal or no
You are definitely right, we are as muslim customers who need to ask about the halalness. not only in US where muslim is minority, also in muslim majority country like Indonesia.
too bad im a fan of food colouring for my cake decorations. I usually use Rainbow Dust, UK products, which most are certified halal approved (in norway).
anyway, how about americolor?
Thank you for this very informative article. I have a question about using the icing gels, what do you use to mix them? The internet recommends vodka or lemon or vanilla extracts (which also contain alcohol). But what is the non-alcoholic substitute?
Can we use water, and would the moisture affect the fondant if the gels mixed with water are used to paint on fondant?
Assalaikum sister I love baking and decorating cakes.I live in Sydney, Australia and here I did not find halal food coloring easily Like and pink. Can u plz let me know where do I get wiltons food coloring. Thanks
Try ordering it from Amazon in your country. A lot of times there are warehouses in different countries that can fulfill these types of things so it’s worth a try.
Hello, after this article I started using Wilton Vegan food coloring.but not kosher ones because I read somewhere their vegan food colorings are halal not others because of alcohol. And I want to ask since this article is from 2014, did you asked Wilton if they still don’t use alcohol in their food colorings. Thank you very much
IS WILTON FONDANT HALAL? OR WHICH ARE THE HALAL FONDANTS I CAN USE..
This is awesome! I have a Muslim friend of my daughter’s coming to a birthday here with her mom this weekend and I have been trying to keep the snacks all enjoyable and suitable for everyone! This was so so SO helpful! Thank you ❤
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!!
I just bought the colours and had a panic attack when I saw the word glycerin!!!
May Allah reward you!!
jazakumullaju khaian for posting. But one needs to dig deeper. We should try to find out in detail all the scientific-sounding names ingredients origin. CARRAGENAN isn’t halal as it is derived from crushed beetles. Yello 5 & 6, Red 40 and Blue colors are also animal-derived ingredients too. When calling, it’s good to ask if there are any animal derived or alcohol derived ingredients?
As salaamu alaykum. This was very helpful. I have been searching on Amazon for halal food coloring. I Googled and came across your article. May Allah reward you for your efforts.