Welcome the amazing L-Cysteine
By: Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed
Your bakery product may contain human hair and you may not even realize it. It comes in the form of L-Cysteine, a non-essential amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 amino acids of which 8 are essential for human growth. The amount of these essential amino acids in a protein determines its quality. Casein, a milk protein, has the highest quality of protein whereas wheat proteins are lacking in amino acid Lysine, so they have less quality than milk protein.
L is refers to levorotatory; a type of optical rotation of a compound under plane-polarized light.
L-Cysteine is used as a reducing agent in bakery products. It is used to:
- Reduce the mixing time of the flour dough.
- Stop shrinking of pizza crust after it is flattened.
- Help move the dough through various bakery processing equipment or dough conditioners.
L-Cysteine is used in Bagels, Croissants, Hard Rolls, Cake Donuts, Pita Bread, some Crackers and Melba Toast. It is also used as a nutrient in baby milk formula and dietary supplements.
The source of L-Cysteine is human hair, chicken feathers, cow horn, petroleum by-products and synthetic material. It was reported by a food company that a Rabbi refused to Kosher certify L-cysteine from human hair obtained from a temple in India where hairs are cut because of religious rituals.
L-Cysteine is manufactured in Japan, China and Germany only. Human hair is the cheapest source for L-cysteine.
Majority of L-Cysteine used in Europe and the US is from human hair, which is its cheapest source. There is no pressure from consumers in UK, USA and Canada to ban it.
Some reports suggest that European Union countries are thinking to ban the use of L-Cysteine from human hair in food products. It is a haram product for Muslims because it is a part of human body. Islam does not allow to consume any part of human body. Some Rabbis accept it as Kosher ingredient saying it is dead part of the body but some do not.
Majelis Ulema of Indonesia has halal certified L-Cysteine from synthetic material for Ajinomoto Company and this L-Cysteine is used in USA by Caravan Products of New Jersey in their mixes for bakery industry.
Majority of L-Cysteine used in USA is from human hair, so please read the ingredients on the package, if you find it call or write to manufacturer and find out the source of L-Cysteine and also tell them that you can not use it from human hair.
*** Br. Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed is educated in food sciences and has worked for major food companies. He manages muslimconsumergroup.com.