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What Is Halal Toothpaste?

By T. M. Robertson
Updated May 21, 2024
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In Islam, products considered halal are acceptable to use, while those considered haram are unacceptable. Since the use of pork and its byproducts are forbidden in Islam, practicing Muslims must stay clear of any products containing these ingredients. What many don't realize is that it's a common practice to use pork-based ingredients in cosmetics and personal hygiene products, such as toothpaste. When looking at the ingredients used in toothpaste, it's important to pay particular attention whenever glycerin is listed, as it may be derived from pork fat. Since it's often difficult to determine the exact type of glycerin used in products, the best way to be guaranteed halal toothpaste is to look for products certified as being halal or vegan.

For the most part, toothpaste manufacturers use glycerin as a sweetening and preserving agent for their products. The problem is, they often fail to state where their glycerin is derived from. Glycerin can be made from the fat and lard of cows and pigs, or it can also be completely plant based. While some manufacturers will list whether their glycerin is plant based or derived from animals directly on the label, most only list the word glycerin, which can be frustrating to those who desire a more detailed description. Manufacturers may also alter their glycerin sources every now and then, depending on which type is cheaper at any given time.

The best way to distinguish halal toothpaste from other varieties is to look to see if it's halal certified by a reputable organization. In North America, the leading certification establishment is the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, or IFANCA, but many other smaller organizations also exist, such as the Muslim Consumer Group, or MCG. If finding a certified halal toothpaste poses a problem, another option is to look for vegan toothpastes, as they won't contain animal products of any kind. For all other toothpastes, it's best to contact the manufacturer directly to inquire about the origin of the glycerin.

Consumers should also be aware that toothpaste formulas may vary when sold in different countries. For example, a major manufacturer that sells products worldwide may offer halal toothpaste to some demographics and not to others. Manufacturers often cater to specific needs of a demographic to sell products, so in areas with large Muslim populations, offering halal toothpaste would make the most financial sense. In any case, it's important to remember that just because a toothpaste brand uses plant-based glycerin in one country doesn't mean it won't sell products containing pork-derived glycerin in another.

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Discussion Comments
By turquoise — On Oct 07, 2014

Even if toothpaste contains an animal by-product or alcohol, no one is eating it, so does it really matter?

I don't think my toothpaste is haram but even if it was due to a single ingredient, I am rinsing my mouth. I am not ingesting the toothpaste so I don't think that even counts.

The number of halal certified products seem to be increasing every day. Sometimes I wonder if its a marketing campaign to get Muslims to buy them. Some things have to be certified halal like meat. But toothpaste?

By stoneMason — On Oct 07, 2014

@ZipLine-- The best thing to do is, if your toothpaste contains glycerin, call up the company and ask them where it comes from. I did so for a toothpaste brand and found out that the glycerin is plan based. So I continue to use it.

Or you could do as the article suggested and use a vegan toothpaste, which might be easier to find than a halal certified one. Most health stores offer vegan personal care products.

I actually don't think that there are many toothpastes on the market with animal based glycerin. But it's difficult to ignore the issue because we are encouraged to avoid things that we are no sure about.

By ZipLine — On Oct 06, 2014

What?! There is a pig byproduct in toothpaste? I can't believe this.

My main concern with toothpaste was whether or not there was alcohol in it. But I never thought that there could a pig byproduct in toothpaste. This is ridiculous. I will have to find a halal alternative as soon as possible.

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