According to Islamic Ideology, Halal states for the food that is permissible for Muslims to eat. Unfortunately, in many developing countries, including Pakistan, legislation based on Islamic Ideologies is followed without the explanation of the underlying logic behind it. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), which is also known as mad cow disease, can be transmitted to one another if the waste from animal is used in animal feed to improve its protein content. 

Similarly, medicines and hormones, stated as prohibited and haram by science and research scholars, are freely used for animal in order to increase the meat mass and milk production. These hormones can cause adverse effects on humans but concerned authorities are silent. Many Muslims gave up eating fermented cheese merely because the stomach extract used in the preparation of the cheese by natural process is usually collected from cattle who are slaughtered in the way not following the standard procedure permissible in Islam. For this reason, different industries that lose customers start using micro-organisms or pineapple extract instead. 

With the emergence of Biotechnology, different techniques have been introduced through which DNA/proteins within the cells are transferred from one type of cell to other to attain a different characteristic. Its use is a way to enjoy the blessings of nature at full boom. Pakistan does not need to use biotechnological products as every consumable item, including agricultural products, can produce an ample quantity of crops/animals based food. Another reason is that a biotechnological product that is successful in one type of an environment does not necessarily produce the same results elsewhere. 

The third and most important concern for Muslims is to know which biotechnological products are halal and that depends on the donor and recipient sources of DNA/protein. Finding that out is only possible if the manufacturing and marketing organisations mention the required information on the label of product. 

What matters more health or wealth? Global safety and wellbeing of existing and upcoming generations of all creatures is all our responsibility. 

FAIZA ABDUR RAB,  

Karachi, January 10.