Definition of brie cheese
Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese named after the French region of Brie. It has a white rind and a creamy, buttery interior with a mild flavor. Brie cheeses are aged for at least 4 weeks.
According to Is Cheese Halal?, cheese made from animal milk is halal if certain conditions are met:
Cheese made with rennet from animal sources (such as calves) is halal if the rennet is purified and contains no impurities. However, cheese made with rennet from pigs is haram, even if purified.
Overview of halal dietary restrictions in Islam
The Quran specifies forbidden foods, including pork, blood, carrion, and alcohol (Is Alcohol Halal?). All intoxicating substances are considered haram.
Halal foods must be:
- Permissible sources (cattle, goats, chickens, etc.)
- Slaughtered according to Islamic procedure
- Free of haram ingredients (pork, alcohol, etc.)
- Prepared on clean equipment
Seafood is universally halal, except certain shellfish (Are Oysters Halal?). Plant sources are halal unless intoxicating or poisonous.
|Permissible Food Sources||Impermissible Food Sources|
|Chickens||Birds of prey|
|Fish with scales||Shellfish|
The Prophet (SAW) said:
“Verily, Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill, kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” (Sahih Muslim)
This hadith emphasizes the importance of ethical and humane slaughter in Islam.
Factors Determining if Brie is Halal
Several key factors determine if a brie cheese is halal:
Rennet is an enzyme used to coagulate milk in cheesemaking. Traditionally rennet comes from the stomach lining of calves, making it haram. However, most brie today uses microbial rennet from halal sources like fungi, yeast, or plants. As we explained in Is Rennet Halal, microbial rennet is permissible.
Other minor ingredients
All other ingredients like salt, cultures, etc must also be from halal sources. No pork or alcohol products can be used.
The equipment used to make and store the cheese must be cleaned per Islamic guidelines if previously used for haram foods.
There cannot be any cross-contamination with haram ingredients like pork during production.
Look for halal symbol
Checking for a halal symbol from an accredited halal organization is the best guarantee. As explained in Is Cheese Halal?:
The safest option is to look for a halal certification symbol from an accredited organization. This ensures the cheese has been vetted for halal standards.
Check manufacturer website
If there is no symbol, check the manufacturer’s website for more information on halal status or certification. Lack of transparency may indicate it’s not halal.
Getting halal certification requires strict adherence to guidelines at all stages. Checking for the halal symbol is the best way to verify brie is halal.
Analysis of Major Brie Brands
Here is an analysis of the halal status of some popular brie cheese brands:
President Brie is one of the most widely available brie cheeses.
Uses microbial rennet
According to Is Rennet Halal?, President uses halal microbial rennet.
No alcohol is used in the ingredients or production process.
Made on dedicated halal lines
President Brie is made on dedicated halal certified production lines. This avoids cross-contamination with any haram substances.
Kirkland Double Cream Brie
Kirkland’s Double Cream Brie is sold at Costco.
Uses microbial rennet
The Kirkland brie uses microbial rennet, not animal-derived.
It also does not contain any alcohol.
Not confirmed halal
However, Kirkland has not confirmed the halal status or certification for this brie.
Many mainstream brie brands use animal-derived rennet and other questionable ingredients:
- Brie de Meaux uses animal rennet (Is Rennet Halal?)
- Brillat Savarin Triple Cream Brie contains white wine
- Delice de France uses questionable E471 emulsifier (Is E471 Halal?)
- Trader Joe’s Double Cream Brie not confirmed halal
Without proper certification, most brie cheeses are doubtful. Checking ingredients is important.
Buying and Eating Halal Brie
Here are some tips for buying and eating halal brie cheese:
Look for halal symbol
As mentioned in Is Cheese Halal?, the safest option is to look for an accredited halal certification symbol on the packaging when buying brie. This confirms it meets halal standards.
Check with stores/restaurants
When dining out or buying from a deli counter, inquire about the halal status of the brie. Reputable establishments will be able to provide specifics.
Opt for high-quality organic
If halal certification is unclear, choosing a high-quality organic brie made with microbial rennet may be a safer bet. It reduces likelihood of haram ingredients.
Consider making homemade
Homemade brie allows control over the ingredients and process. All ingredients can be verified halal. Proper sanitation prevents contamination.
Some basic steps according to CheeseMaking.com:
- Heat and culture the milk
- Add microbial or vegetable rennet
- Allow curds to form and drain
- Salt, inoculate rind, and age
With careful ingredient selection and preparation, homemade brie can be a halal cheese option.
Proper certification is the best guarantee that brie is halal. When in doubt, homemade or high-quality organic may be suitable alternatives.
In summary, here are the key points on the halal status of brie cheese:
Summary of key points
- Brie is halal if made with microbial rennet and halal ingredients (Is Cheese Halal?)
- Must be made on clean equipment and avoid cross-contamination
- Look for halal certification from accredited organization
- Some brands like President Brie are halal, but many popular ones are not
- Making homemade allows control over halal ingredients
Brie can be halal if criteria are met
Brie cheese, like other cheeses, can absolutely meet halal requirements if care is taken in ingredients, production, and certification. But vigilance is required.
Need for improved halal certification
More transparent halal certification and labeling would make it easier for Muslim consumers to identify halal brie options. This applies to all food products.
In a hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said: “The halal is clear and the haram is clear.” While brie can be halal, currently it requires effort to determine. More work is needed to clearly identify halal foods like brie cheese.