This news about lays chips Haram is spreading like a wild fire in Pakistan through sms and mails that Lays chips are not halal and it contains E631 code which is a salt of animal origin and obtained from pig fat. This issue as it relates to Islam is sensitive for every muslim. When some one tries to research for it and after googling the following result is obtained.
E631 : Sodium inosinate
Sodium salt of inosinic acid (E630), a natural acid, that is mainly present in animals.
Commercially prepared from meat or fish (sardines). May also be produced by bacterial fermentation of sugars.
Function & Characteristics:
Flavor enhancer. Inosinic acid and inosinates do not have the specific umami taste but strongly enhance many other flavours, there by reducing the amounts of salt or other flavor enhancers needed in a product.
E631 can be generated in 3 different ways:
1. It can be obtained from sardines (fish).
2. It can be made from brewer yeast extract which is a by-product of beer making process.
3. It can be extracted from pig meat.
If method #1 is used then it is Halal. If method #2 is used then it is not Haram but it is better to avoid it. However if method #3 is used then most certainly it is Haram.
Following is the description of E631 taken from Wikipedia, there is no word of pig used, so it is not proved in any where that E631 is pig fat. Other thing is that E631 is used only for â€œLAYS MASALAâ€ remaining all flavor have no E631 as food code.
â€œDisodium inosinate (E631), chemical formula C10H11N2Na2O8P, is the disodium salt of inosinic acid. It is a food additive often found in instant noodles, potato chips, and a variety of other snacks. It is used as a flavor enhancer, in synergy with monosodium glutamate (also known as MSG; the sodium salt of glutamic acid) to provide the umami taste.
In the US, consumption of added 5â€²-ribonucleotides averages 4 mg per day, compared to 2 g per day of naturally occurring purines. A review of literature by an FDA committee found no evidence of carcinogenicity or adverse effects on reproduction.