halal and cricket flour

Is cricket flour halal? We sent a query to the Indonesian authority releasing fatwas (Islamic law official interpretations) on what is permitted under the concept of Halal and what is not because Haram (banned).

The Indonesian LPPOM MUI replied that according to Islamic literature, the Prophet has eaten grasshoppers, which belong to the same family as crickets. Consequently, it is pretty easy to rule  that cricket flour is halal. The confirmation is included in the fatwa Kep-139/MUI/IV/2000 published in 2000 and declaring that “cricket is an insect of the same kind as grasshoppers. Breeding cricket for its benefits (including medicine, cosmetics, eating) is allowed (Mubah/Halal) as long as it is not harmful to humans”.

The case with worms might not be the same, and it is debated. A few ulamas (interpreters of Islamic principles), for example Imam Malik, Ibn Abi Laila and al-Auza’i, affirmed that eating worms is Halal as long as it brings benefits and it is not harmful to human health. But other ulamas say human consumption of worms shouldn’t be allowed for Muslims.

A Halal certification professional, Suryo Wiratno was contacted by us and said that in the case of worms, according to the Quran, we should consider that:
– Surah Al-Anám verse 145: “The prohibited materials (Haram) are carrion, blood poured forth, swine flesh, or abomination which was immolated to the name of other than Allah.”
– Surah Al-Baqarah verse 29: “He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth…”
Worms, according to these lines, should be allowed. But Mr. Wiratno admits that there is no consensus on worms as food being halal and getting a halal certification for a food containing worms might prove very hard.

Fact is: the Quran does not specifically refer to insects as a forbidden food but sees “unlawful all that is filthy” (7:157). Worms farmed in a clean environment would then be OK? What about silkworms, farmed for thousands of years in a clean context and fed only with mulberry leaves?

Unfortunately halal is not defined by one  institution and applied globally. A number of islamic countries have institutions (and certification bodies) taking independent decision.

But at least crickets flour is halal, we understand, and we are looking forward to hearing the news that a food containing cricket flour has been certified as halal.

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