Walter Leisi is holding two rolled cylinders of dough in his hands, each wrapped in glossy foil, one labeled in French and the other in Arabic. Each package contains the same puff pastry, a concoction of 196 layers of flour, margarine, butter, water and salt -- the same, but for one difference, a tiny but decisive difference: one is preserved with alcohol and the other with potassium sorbate.
Islamic countries, especially Malaysia, are fueling the demand. It's now even possible to get mineral water and rice that is halal. Entire research institutes are dealing with the question of whether the additives E100, E407 and E418 are permitted for devout Muslims. Lipstick, medications and skin creams can also be haram. This is about religion, undoubtedly, but even more about business. Full story...