A recently released application for smartphones eases deciphering halal products amongst the myriad of groceries stocked along colorful aisles in countries where finding halal food can pose a challenge. Muslims living in the US are left reading food labels to sift through an assortment of long-worded hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Many Muslims wish they could simply scan any food product and find out its halal-status. The founders of Scan Halal at Ummah Labs have created a simple and streamlined app that eases the process of grocery store shopping in non-Islamic countries and makes trips to the supermarket a piece of cake.
Users can simply scan the barcode of the product they wish to purchase and they will be given a quick and simple color-coded result of: halal, masbooh, or non-halal. If the scanned product contains haram ingredients, users are given the option of viewing permissible alternative products based on their dietary settings.
The application is based on a database of halal and non-halal ingredients that are used to determine the product’s final status.
“There are two predominant views when it comes to food; zabiha and non-zabiha. To cover the masses, we provide information on both,” Ummah Labs stated in the app. “We let the user choose his or her dietary consideration zabiha, non-zabiha or custom and depending on which one is selected the rulings/opinions are derived from within the selection that is chosen,” Ummah Labs stated.
Admittedly, the results should be taken with a grain of salt and the founders of Ummah Labs acknowledge that the information will not always be without fault. The research team works to verify the direct sources of each ingredient whether animal, plant or synthetic based. “While we do our best to maintain and update thousands of products daily, it may result in unforeseen imprecise data,” Ummah Labs stated.
While the application already has over 750,000 products listed in its database, users can add new items that are not currently listed in the app. Shoppers can take a picture of an unlisted product and send it to the researchers at Scan Halal who will review the ingredients, add it to the database and even send the result back to the user a few hours later.
This app may be the bread and butter for Muslim shoppers until more food companies begin labeling food packages and products with the halal logo.