Whether for religious reasons or dietary restrictions, there are plenty reasons why someone may ask themselves “is Cheetos haram or halal?”.
In this article, I’ll first explain what makes something halal or haram, and then will cover all the different things that affect this within hot Cheetos. I’ll also be exploring whether hot Cheetos are vegetarian, and what other dietary restrictions they may not adhere to.
So, lets start!
Table of Contents
- The Basics Of Halal And Haram
- Cheese And Animal Enzymes
- Hot Cheetos And Animal Products – Does Hot Cheetos Have Pork?
- Are Flamin’ Cheetos Vegetarian?
- Is Flamin’ Cheetos Halal?
- Other Inconspicuous Haram Foods
- Further Dietary Restrictions
- Nutritional Information On Hot Cheetos
- Which Cheetos Are Vegetarian And Halal?
- The Hot Cheeto Loophole
- Hot Cheetos: Halal Or Haram?
The Basics Of Halal And Haram
Haram and halal are both Arabic terms. Haram translates to ’forbidden’, whereas halal means ’permissible’. Much like Judaism (and many other religions), Islam has specific rules on what is or is not acceptable to eat. These terms can also be used for behaviors and actions – for example, the consumption of alcohol is, in most cases, considered to be haram.
Halal Slaughter Procedure
While some meats like pork and shellfish are completely forbidden, others can be eaten so long as they were slaughtered following proper procedures.
The Islamic form of slaughtering animals and poultry involves a sharp cut to the jugular, carotid, and windpipe on living, healthy animals. All the blood is then drained from the carcass, and a specific prayer is recited during the process. The meat and derivative products of animals killed in this manner are considered halal.
Cheese And Animal Enzymes
One of the reasons why so many innocuous-looking foods unexpectedly contain animal products is cheese. Well, actually, its a little something called rennet.
Rennet is an enzyme used in the production of cheeses. Traditionally, these enzymes are harvested from the stomach’s of suckling calves or lambs. As discussed in my article on pecorino substitutes, this means that cheeses made using animal rennet are not vegetarian.
But wait, what does any of this have to do with haram foods? Well, if the animal the rennet was harvested from was NOT killed following Islamic law, then it is considered haram. This means that some cheeses made using rennet – and food items made with these cheeses – are not suitable for practicing Muslims.
However, there is an alternative! This video by Make Cheese Inc covers all the differences between animal rennet and so-called vegetable (actually fungal) rennet.
Hot Cheetos And Animal Products – Does Hot Cheetos Have Pork?
Do Hot Cheetos Have Meat In Them?
Hot Cheetos do NOT have meat in them. However, this is not to say that they’re devoid of animal products.
The rennet used for making the cheese powder in Cheetos requires the slaughter of animals, and so cannot be considered vegetarian.
Do Hot Cheetos Have Gelatin?
You may have heard of gelatin making food products that were otherwise fine unsuitable for vegetarians. In this case however, gelatin is not the culprit. This is because hot Cheetos don’t contain any gelatin.
Does Hot Cheetos Have Pork Enzymes?
While I wasn’t able to find any precise information on the animal the rennet in Cheetos is derived from, I’ve seen many argue that the enzymes used to make it are not porcine. However, the halal status is still uncertain as it is not clarified if the animals were slaughtered following Islamic law.
Do Hot Cheetos Contain Alcohol?
While there are many hot Cheeto-based alcoholic drinks (…questionable), hot Cheetos within themselves do not contain alcohol. If you’d like to double check just to make sure, see the ‘Nutritional Information’ section lower down.
Are Flamin’ Cheetos Vegetarian?
Unfortunately, as far as I could find there are no available vegetarian varieties of Cheetos. This includes flamin’ hot Cheetos, of course. I also had a look to see if I could find any similar products from Chester’s but they were also extremely limited, and none were comparable to hot Cheetos.
Is Flamin’ Cheetos Halal?
It’s difficult to answer if flaming hot Cheetos is halal. In fact, it’s difficult to say that of any Cheetos! All we know is that Cheetos do not contain pork, but do contain unspecified animal rennet. No Cheetos products are halal-certified, but in theory the rennet could be coming from halal-slaughtered animals.
In all likelihood though, this is probably not the case. If Cheetos were made using halal sources of cheese, it would likely be plastered all over their website in order to appeal to more people. Furthermore, it can be difficult to source halal-certified cheese, especially in large quantities.
Other Inconspicuous Haram Foods
FTD Facts is a YouTube channel known for it’s videos relating to different religions. This video in particular lists other foods that you might not have expected to be haram! It’s a good video and worth the watch, especially if you’re concerned about consuming any haram products. It’s also great if you’re planning to have some Muslim friends over and are worried about what to avoid.
I also found another interesting video about kosher foods and how they compare to Islamic dietary practices!
Further Dietary Restrictions
|Dietary Restrictions||Can I eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? Does hot Cheetos have pork?|
|Halal||Not halal certified due to unknown animal products|
|Kosher||Not kosher certified, but some cheeto varieties are|
|Gluten-free||Yes, but not all Cheeto varieties are gluten-free|
Nutritional Information On Hot Cheetos
Hot Cheetos Ingredient List
The ingredients in hot Cheetos, as per the official Cheetos website, are:
- Enriched Corn Meals
- Vegetable Oils
- Flamin’ Hot Seasoning
- Monosodium glutamate
- Yeast extract
- Citric acid
- Artificial colors
- Sunflower oil
- Cheddar cheese containing milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes
- Onion powder
- Whey and whey protein concentrate
- Garlic powder
- Natural flavor
- Sodium diacetate
- Disodium inosinate
- Disodium guanylate
For a more detailed list, check Cheetos’ website.
Hot Cheetos Nutrition Table
Which Cheetos Are Vegetarian And Halal?
Sadly, there aren’t yet any Cheeto-varieties that are confirmed to be kosher or halal certified. Likewise, there are no vegan or vegetarian Cheetos either. Even after checking with similar brands owned by Frito’s-Lay, it seems that there are barely any halal, kosher, or vegan chips.
Luckily, Frito-Lay (the company responsible for Cheetos) have a section of their website dedicated to breaking down the ingredients of their different foods. You can check if that pack of Cheetos you’re craving is suitable for your dietary restrictions! And check if any of Cheetos on there are halal when the website is next updated.
Does Hot Cheetos Have Pork?
While Fritos-Lay does not have a guide for halal ingredients, they do have a guide for ingredients free from pork enzymes. Even so, these ingredients are not guaranteed to be halal as there is no information provided on how the animals were slaughtered.
The Hot Cheeto Loophole
During my search to uncover some sort of alternative suitable chip, I stumbled across some new information. Many muslim countries have halal versions of haram foods, and apparently Cheetos are included in this too!
But how do you get your hands on them when living elsewhere? Well, that’s where immigrant-owned shops come to the rescue once more. Some desi grocery stores have been said to stock imported halal Cheeto-alternatives! The only downside to this is that they tend to be a little pricier due to importation costs. But that’s not all!
Whilst researching I came across rumors that UK Cheetos are vegan, and thus are halal. However, since delving deeper, I’ve found that only one specific type of Cheeto is vegan. Even though they’re not technically certified as vegan, Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos contain no animal products by default! Cheetos can be a little hard to come by in the UK if you don’t live in a big city, but these can be delivered anywhere. I’ve heard that there are a few other varieties in the UK that are vegan, so be sure to check the packet to be sure.
On the back of vegan Cheetos, the typical phrase ’made with real cheese’ will be absent!
Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any other alternatives that are guaranteed to be halal. It’s a good ideas to check the official Cheetos websites every now and then for updates, or have a look on some forums.
Hot Cheetos: Halal Or Haram?
The question of whether hot Cheetos are haram or halal is a difficult one to answer. This is because the sources of the ingredients are so vague – they don’t contain ‘pork enzymes’, but they do have unspecified animal rennet.
No-one but the manufacturers of the cheese know with 100% certainty what kind of rennet was used, so it’s impossible to know if the meat was slaughtered in accordance with halal guidelines.
Ultimately, I think many people will lean towards haram because of this, but it is left up to a little personal interpretation.
Whichever way, I hope that this guide has helped you become more informed about the foods you choose to eat!
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