Are Mono and Diglycerides Made from Pork? Examining This Common Food Additive

Checking ingredient labels can be confusing, especially when you come across vague-sounding additives like “mono and diglycerides.” This common emulsifier blended into foods leaves many wondering – are mono and diglycerides made from pork?

With concerns over dietary restrictions and hidden ingredients, it’s reasonable to question if this additive contains animal products. Let’s take a closer look at the details on mono and diglycerides and their sources.

What are Mono and Diglycerides?

Mono and diglycerides, or monoglycerides and diglycerides, are a class of food additives used as emulsifiers. Emulsifiers bind together water and oils to prevent separation.

Some common uses of mono and diglycerides include:

  • Margarine
  • Peanut butter
  • Baked goods
  • Ice cream
  • Coffee creamers
  • Salad dressings

They help create the smooth uniform texture we expect in these processed foods.

The Source of Mono and Diglycerides

Mono and diglycerides can come from either plant or animal sources. Here are the main sources used:

Vegetable oils – Soybean canola and palm oils are commonly used. The mono and diglycerides are extracted directly from these plant-based oils.

Animal fats – Lard (pork fat), tallow (beef fat), and butter fat can also be used as sources. The mono and diglycerides are derived through processing these animal fats.

Synthetic – Mono and diglycerides can also be produced artificially without animal or vegetable oils. However, this is not as common.

So in regards to the question – are mono and diglycerides made from pork – the answer is they certainly can be. But they can also come from plant oils or even be synthesized artificially.

Why the Source Matters

Knowing where mono and diglycerides originate from is most essential for people with dietary restrictions for religious or ethical reasons.

Groups that may wish to avoid mono and diglycerides from animal sources include:

  • Jews who keep Kosher dietary laws
  • Muslims who follow Halal rules
  • Hindus who avoid beef products
  • Vegans and vegetarians

For these groups, mono and diglycerides sourced from pork would be prohibited. Those made from vegetable oils or synthetic processing would be acceptable.

How to Know the Source

The challenge is that food labels don’t usually specify which mono and diglycerides are used. So how can you know if they come from pork?

These tips can help identify the source:

  • Contact the manufacturer – Getting info directly from the company may be the only way to know for certain.

  • Look for certifications – Kosher, Halal, or vegetarian symbols indicate no pork-derived additives.

  • Choose vegan/vegetarian brands – Products marketed to vegans are unlikely to contain animal-based emulsifiers.

  • Avoid non-certified imported goods – Imported products are higher risk for containing pork-derived additives.

While it takes some extra sleuthing, avoiding questionable ingredients is possible for those wishing to steer clear of pork.

Alternatives to Mono and Diglycerides

For those wishing to totally avoid animal-derived mono and diglycerides, some alternatives include:

  • Lecithin from soy or sunflowers
  • Citric acid esters
  • Tartaric acid esters
  • Lactic acid esters
  • Sorbitan monostearate

Swapping out emulsifiers may impact a product’s texture and shelf life, but provides pork-free options. Reading labels carefully and contacting manufacturers are key for sourcing animal-free mono and diglycerides.

The Bottom Line

Mono and diglycerides can certainly be derived from pork, but they may also come from vegetable oils or artificial synthesis. The exact source is rarely disclosed on packaging.

For those with dietary restrictions due to religion or ethics, extra care is needed. Seeking out certifications, vegan brands, and contacting companies can help identify products free of questionable animal-based additives like pork.

While it requires vigilance, avoiding mono and diglycerides from pork is possible for those who wish to restrict this additive due to personal beliefs or dietary laws. Being an informed consumer allows you to make the right choices.

Is it Permissible to Eat Mono and Diglycerides in Food? | Ask Shaykh YQ EP. 21


Are mono- and diglycerides haram?

Mono and diglycerides can be derived from animal or vegetable sources. When derived from vegetable sources, they are halal. When derived from animal sources, they are questionable.

What are mono- and diglycerides made of?

Therefore, mono- and diglycerides are considered a type of lipid or fat source. Mono- and diglycerides may be manufactured through the reaction of plant- or animal-derived fatty acids with glycerol, or via the breakdown of plant- or animal-derived fats and oils.

Are mono- and diglycerides kosher?

‘Mono’ and ‘di’ glyceride have a wide array of uses including ice cream, margarine, and peanut butter stabilizers, to name a few. They are a basic ingredient in shortening, baking mixes and coffee whiteners. ‘Mono’ and ‘di’ glyceride can be kosher or non-kosher and requires reliable kosher certification.

Should I avoid mono and diglycerides?

According to the available research, eating small amounts of monoglycerides and diglycerides does not seem to cause serious health complications, and the FDA approves their use. People do not typically eat large quantities of monoglycerides, so it is hard to say the real impact this type of fat has on human health.

What are mono and diglycerides?

Mono and diglycerides, also called mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, saturated or unsaturated, are a mixture of monoglycerides (commonly with 40-90%) and diglycerides, and also includes minor amounts of triglycerides. It is the most used emulsifier in the food and with the European food additive number E471.

What foods are not good for mononucleosis?

Don’t eat fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, preserved food which can cause inflammation, sore throat and fatigue.

What foods are mono & diglyceride?

Processed baked goods are a major mono- and diglyceride player. Flour tortillas are often laced with them. Peanut butter, too. Basically, any food product that combines water and oil and sells for less than others.

Which raw materials are involved in the production of mono and diglycerides?

The main raw materials involved in the production of mono and diglycerides are fatty acids and glycerol, both are naturally present in edible fats/oils of animals (e.g. cow, pig) and vegetable (various plant seeds).

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