Starburst, a candy beloved by people of all ages, has fruity flavors that tickle the sweet tooth. However, for candy lovers abiding by Islamic dietary laws, the question of whether Starburst is halal remains crucial. Let’s embark on a detailed exploration to answer this question by analyzing the ingredient lists from both the United States and the United Kingdom.
For those looking for a quick summary, in the UK starburst is made from halal ingredients, making starbursts halal according to majority opinions.
Starbursts in the US contain gelatin which can be considered by many as one of the haram ingredients, as animal-derived products. The source of gelatin is not specified, whether it is pork or beef.
Table of Contents
- Starburst’s History and Parentage
- Ingredients List Examination
- Is Starburst Halal in the United States?
- Is Starburst Halal in the United Kingdom?
- Starburst Vegan and Halal Aspects
- Different Starburst Products
Starburst’s History and Parentage
Before delving into the nitty-gritty of ingredients, it’s worth mentioning that Starburst candies are products of the Wrigley Company, a subsidiary of Mars.
The popular candy, originally named Opal Fruits in the United Kingdom, was rebranded to Starburst, establishing it as a well-known candy brand globally.
Ingredients List Examination
Starburst’s chewy texture and variety of fruit flavors are attributed to its unique ingredient list. Some ingredients, such as fruit juice, apple juice, corn syrup, and citric acid, are generally considered non-controversial.
However, the presence of other ingredients can be debated among Islamic scholars, leading to discussions about the halal status of Starburst products.
Is Starburst Halal in the United States?
In the United States, Starburst candy has been known to contain ingredients like corn starch, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and tapioca dextrin. However, the spotlight shines on gelatin – a gelling agent sourced from animal collagen found in connective tissues, animal skin, and bones.
The kind of gelatin used makes a difference. While beef gelatin sourced from a halal animal (slaughtered per Islamic law) is permissible, pork gelatin or gelatin from a non-halal animal is considered haram. Previous ingredient lists have mentioned gelatin without specifying its source, causing many to assume it might come from pork products, which, being the flesh of swine, are expressly prohibited in Islam.
Starburst US ingredient list
These are the ingredients of starburst in the USA (Starburst Original)
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil; Less Than 2% Of: Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Gelatin, Apple Juice From Concentrate, Modified Corn Starch, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1)
Is Starburst Halal in the United Kingdom?
Across the pond in the United Kingdom, Starburst candies have been reported to contain glucose syrup, vegetable oil, and palm fat among their ingredients. Good news for UK candy enthusiasts: original Starburst from the UK do not include gelatin, making them preferable for those following a halal diet and even catering to the vegan community.
However, the presence of certain ingredients like confectioner’s glaze and carnauba wax, commonly found in candies, leads to discussions about their halal status. Confectioner’s glaze, derived from the secretions of certain insects, can be debated by scholars in the context of Islamic law. Carnauba wax, a plant-derived ingredient, is less controversial but noteworthy.
Starburst UK ingredient list
These are the ingredients of starburst in the UK (Starburst Original)
Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Palm Fat, Concentrated Fruit Juices 1.4%* (Apple, Orange, Blackcurrant, Strawberry, Lime, Lemon), Acid Citric Acid, Modified Starch, Acid Malic Acid, Dextrin, Flavourings, Maltodextrin, Antioxidant Ascorbic Acid, Emulsifier Lecithin, Colours Anthocyanins, Beta Carotene, Spirulina Extract, *Equivalent to 11.5% Fruit Juice.
Starburst Vegan and Halal Aspects
Modern Muslims and the vegan community often find common ground in the search for products free from animal-derived ingredients. While Starburst candies in the US might not fully adhere to a vegan lifestyle due to the potential inclusion of animal-derived gelatin, the UK Starburst candy shines brightly for vegans, containing no animal products.
Yet, one must remember that “vegan” does not always translate to “halal.” Even seemingly innocent ingredients can become controversial in the halal certification process. For instance, vanilla extract contains a minute amount of alcohol. While this amount is negligible for many, strict adherents to Islamic laws might avoid it.
Different Starburst Products
The Wrigley Company offers various Starburst products, such as Starburst Minis, Starburst Fruit Chews, Starburst Jelly Beans, and Starburst Gummies. Each might have a slightly different ingredient profile, so always peruse the ingredient list when in the grocery store.
For instance, Starburst Jelly Beans, a popular Easter treat, have been found to contain confectioner’s glaze, raising questions about its halal status. Meanwhile, Starburst Gummies might use different gelling agents than the original chewy candies, emphasizing the need for informed decision-making.
For those keen on upholding dietary restrictions based on Islamic law, understanding the production and manufacturing process of their favorite sweet treats is essential.
While the UK Starburst seems more in line with halal and even vegan dietary requirements, the Starburst products from the US raise questions due to ambiguous ingredients like gelatin.
It’s always recommended for consumers to contact the manufacturer directly (Mars Wrigley in this case) or seek guidance from local Islamic scholars for a final decision regarding the consumption of products.
As the halal food industry continues to evolve, it is hopeful that candy giants like Starburst will make their halal status clear, making it easier for all to indulge their sweet cravings responsibly.