Q&A Home » Food Related


Last updated: 9th November 2006
Question ID: #3007
Short URL:
Printer Friendly Version Email this page

is cadburys strawberry jam/trick or treat orange mini rolls halal? (strawberry has e120 cochineal and both do not have veggy sign. the original choc one does.)

is vanillin halal?
Is hydropropylmethylcellulose (stabiliser) halal?
are they both alcohol based?

is shellac halal? it it from insects?

In the Name of Allah, the Inspirer of Truth.
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

1. E120 is not permissible.
2. We regard vanillin and hydroprpylmethyl cellulose as permissible
flavouring agents.
3. Shellac is permissible according to our opinion.

Vegetrian Society: Shellac Secreted under tree bark by insects. To be
treated in a similar way to Honey.

How Insects Make Shellac
Shellac has the distinction of being the only known commercial resin of
animal origin. It is produced by a tiny red insect (Lac Laccifer) which in
its larval stage, is about the size of an apple seed. Swarms of the insects
feed on certain host trees, commonly called "lac trees," in India and
Thailand, the main lac-producing countries. Their whole life cycle of about
six months is devoted to eating, propagating and making lac as a protective
shell for their larvae.

During certain seasons of the year, these tiny red insects swarm in such
great numbers that the trees at times take on a red or pinkish colour. When
settled on the twigs and branches, they project a stinger-like proboscis to
penetrate the bark. Sucking the sap, they begin absorbing it until they
literally feed themselves to death. In shellac lore this is the 'feast of
death." At the same time propagation continues, each female producing about
one thousand eggs before dying.

The sap undergoes a chemical transformation in the body of the insect and is
eventually exuded. On contact with the air, it forms a hard shell-like
covering over the entire swarm. In time this covering becomes a composite
crust for the twig and insects. Only about five percent of the insects
amassed on the trees are males. The female is the main shellac producer.
While she is exuding lac, she is preparing herself to die after providing a
fluid in which her eggs will mature and from which the future supply of bugs
will come, to repeat the process of swarming, propagating and making the
next season's shellac supply.

The males, having fertilized the hordes of females, also begin their
life-ending feast. Although they contribute relatively little more to the
shellac crop, they have already assured an ample supply because the females
vastly increase their output of lac after being fertilized. The great mass
of male and female bugs on each tree gradually becomes inactive as the
shell-like covering forms over them. In the sixth or seventh month, the
young begin to break through the crust and swarm to new feeding grounds.

Shellac cultivation is carried on to produce a large lac crop by helping the
larvae find better pickings for their feast. This involves simply cutting
lac-bearing twigs from an infected three a few days before the emergence of
the larvae. A bundle of such twigs, known as 'broodlac,"is tied to an
uninfected tree on which there are many tender new shoots. This results in a
higher survival rate of insects and a greater yield of lac since only a
little broodlac gives forth sufficient larvae to infect a tree thoroughly.
No further attention is needed until shellac is harvested

And Allah knows Best
Wa Alaykumussalaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh

Answer last updated on:
3rd December 2006
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 03
Location: UK