Muslim Dietary Laws Food Processing And Marketing

Muslim dietary laws are a set of rules and requirements governing the lives of Muslims, or followers of the Islam religion. The food industry, like any industry, responds to the needs and requirements of consumers. Today's consumers are not only concerned with health and nutrition, they are also conscious of what goes into their bodies as food. Some of these restrictions by consumers are self-imposed philosophical or nutritional choices, whereas others are mandated by their religious beliefs. Muslim dietary laws are based on the Muslim scriptures, the Quran and the Hadith.

Muslims constitute almost 20% of the world population (1). With 1.2 billion adherents, Islam is the world's second-largest religion, after Christianity (2). In a area extending from the Atlantic Coast of Africa to Pakistan and from Central Asia to the Sahara, Islam is the religion of 90% of the population (2), as it is also in Bangladesh and Indonesia. Although the Muslims are concentrated in Asia and North Africa, they are also present as minorities throughout Europe (32 million), North America (5.5 million), Latin America (1.4 million), and even Oceania (0.4 million) (1). The basic tenets of Islam or the primary duties of Muslims are the belief in the oneness of God (Allah) and His messenger (Muhammad); performing the prayers, five times a day; almsgiving, or contributing to the welfare of the poor; fasting (abstaining from eating, drinking, having sex) from dawn to dusk during the 30 days of the month of Ramadan; and a pilgrimage to Makka in Saudi Arabia once in a lifetime, if physically and financially capable (3).

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