Is it permissible to eat fish that were fed pork protein?
As-salamu alaykum. The European Union has recently approved the use of reconstituted animal and pork protein in fish feed. So, is it allowed for Muslims in Europe to eat fish fed on pork fats in fish farms?
The legal ruling for this issue and its like is based on the matter of istihala (transformation) and likewise on its effect on removing a substance's najasa [impurity] and on rendering it permissible for consumption.
Meaning of istihala:
Istihala means the [chemical] transformation of a substance's properties resulting in the removal of its impure nature. Scholars have unanimously agreed that alcohol is deemed pure if it spontaneously transforms into vinegar.
The majority of Hanafi and Maliki scholars as well as in an opinion stated by Imam Ahmed, maintained that any impure substance — apart from alcohol which has spontaneously turned into vinegar — is deemed pure if it has undergone istihala. This is because the impure nature of such a substance:
- is transformed and completely changed;
- Islamic law bases the description of impurity on the presence of certain properties;
- its description as an impure substance no longer applies due to transformation in its essence;
- in analogy to the case of the purity of wine vinegar from alcohol; the purity of deer blood that is converted into musk; purity of a blood clot that is converted into a piece of flesh [during gestation)].
This is the opinion implemented for fatwa.
There is no objection in shari'ah (Islamic law) to use this kind of foods in nurturing fish provided it has been transformed into another substance with different properties which are not prohibited and it is scientifically proved to be beneficial and not harmful.
Allah the Almighty knows best.