Regarding Islam, certain things are prohibited from eating and drinking. Most notable of those are pork and alcohol. But are all things which contain alcohol haram?
Kombucha is a fermented, slightly sparkling, sweet green or black tea drink that is usually used for its claimed health benefits. Sounds great, but is Kombucha halal or haram?
Is Kombucha halal?
The Islamic dietary laws categorize food as either halal (allowed) or haram (prohibited). Alcohol is considered haram, and kombucha contains alcohol, but despite that, kombucha is halal.
Why is Kombucha halal?
Confused? Let’s look into it in more detail and find out why Kombucha is considered halal.
Alcohol such as ethanol is strictly prohibited in Islam because they cause a person to go into the world of fantasy, in that it’s a mind altering substance.
As Kombucha contains some level of alcohol in it you might assume it must therefore be haram (although you would be wrong!).
Yes, Kombucha contains a small amount of alcohol, which is produced as the by-product of tea fermentation. However it is a trace amount and does not make you intoxicated.
You can drink kombucha and still drive for example. As per Islamic scholars, it is halal to drink Kombucha.
Does Kombucha contain alcohol?
Yes, as mentioned Kombucha indeed contains alcohol because it is produced through fermentation.
In fermentation, carbohydrates are converted into alcohol, and carbon dioxide is released. The process of fermentation is assisted by yeast.
Still, the amount of fermentation with tea is minimal, so the quantity of ethanol produced is very minute and produced as a by-product.
Compared to wine, where the alcohol content is very high because it is produced from grapes with very high sugar content. When this higher sugar content is fermented, lots of ethanol is produced.
That quantity is also enhanced by using specific techniques and artificial products, but the alcohol quantity in kombucha is significantly lower and does not cause intoxication. It also has lots of health benefits.
Are all fermented drinks halal?
Fermented drinks come in all shapes and sizes. Ethanol is produced as the by-product of fermentation; thus, different products have different ethanol content.
If the content of ethanol is high and causes intoxication, it comes under the bracket of haram. Per the guidelines, if the ethanol content is less than 1% and produced by natural fermentation without any preservatives, then it is halal.
Kombucha fermentation process
A minor amount of naturally occurring alcohol is present in all fermented diets. Fermentation is a chemical procedure that’s more than 10,000 years old that breaks down sugars and forms carbon dioxide and alcohol as surplus. Alcohol is naturally present in many foods, such as bananas, grape juice, vinegar, yogurt, lassi, etc.
In kombucha, the yeast eats the sugar and converts it to alcohol. In the second part of the fermentation, the bacteria change much of the alcohol to acetic and other organic acids.
Commercial Kombucha tea is branded non-alcoholic, containing less than 0.5% alcohol. Homemade versions may contain suggestively higher amounts of alcohol and can pose several other health risks if inappropriately prepared.
This is because it’s made in a far less measured environment and far more random. If you want to be sure you drink kombucha which is halal, it is best to use a branded one with a good reputation.
Conclusion: Is Kombucha halal to drink?
It’s clear that Kombucha is halal, but the alcohol content needs to be monitored. If the level of alcohol is unregulated, as with a homemade Kombucha for example, it might exceed the permitted limit.
When purchasing Kombucha, use a well-reputed brand, ideally halal certified, and carefully check the full list of ingredients and any mention of alcohol levels.