Fries and “Natural Flavorings”

Once upon a time, I loved eating french fries. Not just any french fries…McDonald’s french fries. Ohhhh. Yesssss.

But then something horrible happened. I found out my beloved french fries were haraam.

“For flavor enhancement, in the U.S., McDonald’s French fry suppliers use a very small amount of beef flavor as a natural flavoring during the par-frying process at the potato processing plant”.

Why, McDonald’s? Why?

Every year or so, I call them up and ask them if their fries are suitable for vegetarians, yet. And every year I’m given the same heartbreaking answer. No.

I just want fries that are suitable for vegetarians, McDonald’s. Is that so much to ask for?

But getting into the bigger issue, many products will often list “natural flavorings” in their ingredients. These “natural flavorings” can come from animal sources – including pigs – so this is definitely something to look out for. When in doubt, call the company. It literally takes only five minutes and you get straight answers.

Oh! Going back to fries for a second, some fast food restaurants will cook their fries in the same oil used for cooking meats. Be sure to ask them whether or not their fries are cooked separately from the nasty haraams.

Just in case you were wondering, from what I know:

Burger King fries = halaal.

Wendy’s fries = halaal.

But make sure to ask them if they cook their fries separately from meats or not. Different locations have different practices. So if one BK cooks fries separately, it doesn’t necessarily mean the others do, too.

Stay halaal, folks.



I stated in my first article that I acknowledge other opinions. I know different opinions exist and I respect them. I’m not saying my opinion is right and others are wrong. That would be horrible on my part. What I am saying is that I’m trying to follow the more popular and traditional opinions to the best of my ability. 

You don’t have to listen to me, and I will never tell you what I follow is the only correct way. I’m not a scholar nor am I any expert on halal. I’m just a dumb kid posting my thoughts/musings on food…because I love it. Apologies if anything comes off as offensive and feel free to disagree / correct me if I’m wrong. :)

Food is great. So is zabiha. And so are you guys.



12 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    i have a theory: if it tastes good, its probably haram.

    the fries were the jaan (life) in my fish meal!


  2. Healthybrother says:

    All fast food joints should be haraam. They make you fat and lazy and that has a negative impact on your worship.

    Next thing you know you got brothers and sisters making ruku at a 1 degree angle.

    Stay healthy shabab


  3. Wonderer says:

    But since its beef flavoring doesnt that make it halal?!?


  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey, hey If it aint pork, if it aint alcohol–it aint “haram”.

    #Desis #EatLikeAnArab


  5. Anonymous says:

    it’s not actually haraam though, that is a very strong word… it’s more appropriate to say that it’s not Zabiha


  6. Zee says:

    Healthybrother: I couldn’t agree with you more. But, man is weak and Allah has made Islam easy for us, alhamdulillah. We can eat fast food, but you’re right that we should be careful in how much we eat of it.

    Wonderer: Beef flavoring normally contains beef fat and beef broth. The non-zabiha halal certified meat topic is controversial. I understand that some modern scholars permit the consumption of non-zabiha halal meat. However, the more popular opinion in the four schools of law deems fries with beef flavoring from a non-zabiha halal source as prohibited.


  7. Zee says:

    Lol I totally understand where you guys are coming from. But I stated in my first post that I take the more popular opinion. It’s got nothing to do with being an Arab or Desi or whatever. The popular opinion is that non-zabiha halal meat is impermissible to consume. You’re right that there is another opinion that says it’s halal — no argument there. I’m just stating the popular opinion.

    The conditions for meat being halal are:

    1) that the animal itself be lawful to consume (so pigs, for example, are excluded)
    2) that the person slaughtering the animal be a Muslim, or from amongst “those who were given the scripture before” (Jewish or a Christian)
    3) that the animal be killed by using a sharp implement to cut the appropriate vessels in the throat
    4) that the name of Allah be mentioned at the time of slaughter

    All schools require one to say “Bimillah” at the time of slaughter, except the Shaf’i school — which is where the other opinion comes from. All the other conditions, however, need to be met. So, if the cow used to get the beef flavoring in those fries was slaughtered by meeting those conditions, it’s permissible to eat. But if not, then even the Shaf’i stance would be that they are impermissible to consume.

    Apologies if I offended anyone — that was never my intention.

    Allah Knows best.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Don’t ask, don’t tell. Life is simple. Don’t go out of your way to complicate it =)


  9. Anonymous says:

    #ItWasAJOKE #NoButSeriouslyDesisCareAboutThisTOOMUCH

    There’s a difference between non-Zabiha and Haram. Different Madhab say different things.


  10. Zee says:

    I agreed too that there are differences of opinion, and I clarified myself in response to your joke. :)

    But bouncing off of what you just posted, caring “too much” is not a bad thing and nobody should ever make it sound like a bad thing. Those who when in doubt take the careful route are doing a rewarding thing.
    There’s no sin in not taking the more conservative opinion when there is doubt. But there is reward in being careful and having that kind of taqwa. And, mind you, that taqwa isn’t found in JUST “desis” either. It’s found in Arabs and all other kinds of Muslims too, masha’allah.


  11. iwantfries says:

    stop hatin’ on desis, anonymous.

    from the little i know and understand, that criteria for halal is whats taught in the shafi’i madhab. its not mandatory to invoke the name of God upon slaughtering. but whats interesting is a lot of animals here are stunned or slaughtered without the use of a “sharp implement to cut the appropriate vessels in the throat” – violation of the third rquirement. thats why i choose to avoid nonzabiha. sorry im too careful.

    but anyway, can we just say that for those who choose the more stricter opinion, the fries are impermissible. and for those who follow another opinion, it is permissible?

    do whatever floats your boat, kids. stop arguing. its just an article on fries.


  12. iwantfries says:

    zee, you shouldve had a separate post just on the zabiha vs non zabiha topic lol


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