When Muslims are faced with an issue, we go into reaction mode and switch our brains off and we send hundreds of emails and texts to spread the word. Whilst in principle this is a good thing, in practice we often become a link in a chain of misinformation. The whole Walkers Crisps and the use of alcohol issue is a case in point, we are all too ready to spread misinformation thinking it to be fact, we accept things that other Muslms tell us uncritically just because another Muslim has told us. We have too many non-specialists giving pronouncements on issues that should first be dealt with by scholars who are aware of all the facts.
Anyway I was pleased to see a post by Adnan on the Knowledge Seeker blog, a response from Walkers Themselves on this matter:
Many thanks for your email. We do not add alcohol to our products. However, ethyl alcohol may be present in trace amounts in a very sm all number of our flavours. It is used as a carrying agent for flavourings, and is found in many common food and drink products. Foods like bread can also contain the same or higher trace amounts due to fermentation. We are aware of the concerns from some Muslim consumers about the appropriateness of specific ingredients. We take the concerns of our consumers extremely seriously. In previous assessments by Muslim scholars, foods and drinks that contain trace amounts of ethyl alcohol have been confirmed as permissible for Muslim consumption because of both the fact that the ingredient does not bear its original qualities and does not change the taste, colour or smell of the product, and its very low level. If consumers have any further questions please contact the Walkers Consumer Care team on 0800 274 777.
We can forward a list of those products which are suitable for your diet in the post. Any which are not listed are not suitable for your particular diet. If you would kindly let us have your full postal address. I will see that a list is sent to you.
We do hope that we have been of help and you continue to enjoy our products. However, if you do have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us again on our Freephone number.
Yours sincerely benn
Consumer Care Advisor