A factory in the centre of France has been given the green light from Brussels to start producing Europe’s first halal toothpaste, due to be available in shops later this month.
From November 23, the halal toothpaste will be available in specialised shops for €1.45 per tube - until now all halal beauty products in France had been imported from Belgium, Indonesia and Australia.
To obtain the official European halal label, the production and storage areas of the product are inspected by an imam to ensure they are free of any pork produce.
But because of press attention in France, the factory making the toothpaste wanted to remain anonymous, “because our other big-name cosmetic clients do not wish to have their brand associated with halal,” the director told le Parisien.
Halal brand director, Nabil Hadj-Chikh, admits pork-free beauty products are not a big issue for all Muslims in France.
“Some find this kind of thing is going too far, for others it is a sin to consume pork in any product, especially after we find out pork is in that product,” he said.
Pork fat, usually in the form of glycerine, is used as the base of a few cosmetics on the market - its use increased after the mad cow crisis, when lipstick and nail varnish manufacturers stopped using beef fat.
According to world market leader Colgate, much of the glycerine used in its products comes from vegetarian sources or beef fat, but pork-based glycerine is sometimes used.
In France, it is estimated about 1 million Muslims buy halal cosmetics. For the factory producing the toothpaste, its biggest source of business will be exporting to Muslim countries.