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No, food additives E211 and E224 are halaal, not from pig fat

A graphic showing six Fanta soft drink bottles was shared on Facebook in January 2020.

“Dear all, Do not drink new FANTA APPLE! it contains carcinogenic (E221, E224) FAT OF PIG!” the text reads. It also asks users to share the information with all Muslim people.

E-numbers are codes for additives used in the food industry. The numbers, developed by the European Union, are used around the world. 

E211 is the chemical sodium benzoate and E224 is potassium metabisulphite. They are used as preservatives in bottled soft drinks and food, to prevent them from going bad.

“Halaal” or “halal” means lawful or permitted in Arabic. It refers to whether something can be used, according to Islamic law. Pigs are not halaal – they are “haram”, or prohibited. Religious Muslims do not eat or use pork products.

The post has been shared more than 6,000 times. But do E211 and E224 additives contain pig fat? We checked.

E211 and E224 are halaal, says South African authority

The South African National Halaal Authority, or SANHA, is the officially recognised authority on what is considered halaal in South Africa.

In July 2018, SANHA dismissed the claim that there was pig fat in any flavour of Fanta. 

The rumour began in 2011 with the soft drink Mountain Dew, and later spread to Pepsi and Fanta Apple. “To this day there is no credible evidence but the fabrication continues,” SANHA said.

On SANHA’s official website, the e-numbers 211 and 224 are both listed as halaal preservatives. 

In 2015, in a Twitter response to the same Fanta Apple claim, SANHA wrote: “E-211 (sodium benzoate) and E-224 (potassium metabisulphite) contained in Fanta are Halaal ingredients that are NOT from pork.” – Butchie Seroto


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