Issue No.233 – August 2023

Companies, like people, are not immortal. Being in business for longer than most people’s lifetime is remarkable, especially when one considers that in 2019, before the pandemic 90% of new South African companies failed within the first five years.

We congratulate Anchor Yeast on attaining the coveted status of a centennial company. They have been producing yeast in South Africa since 1923, and bringing innovation and solutions to the local and international markets with its link to the global Lallemand group. Anchor Yeast is firmly entrenched in the bakery, consumer, distillery, and bio-control industries in Southern Africa.

Their focus is on growing quality and not quantity, with expertise shared freely with customers and industries. Amongst their many compliance certifications and citations for excellence, is the Halaal certification by SANHA.

What exactly is Yeast?

Yeast is a living unicellular fungus smaller than a grain of sand that can only be seen microscopically. Yeast is all around us, in the air we breathe, the food we eat, our bodies, the earth, and even on our skin. Yeast is quite literally everywhere. Nutritional yeast is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein like those found in animal products. Complete proteins are important nutrients that assist functions like tissue repair and nutrient absorption. Much of what we depend on today, would not be possible if it were not for yeast. Without it, there would be no bread, no biofuels, no insulin and no alcohol.

The Inextricable Link to Bread

Whilst yeast is used in a vast array of products, the most common use of yeast has been in the making of bread. This universal food has been around since as early as 6000 BC consumed by the Sumerians, who may have passed on their knowledge to the Egyptians around 3000 BC. The Egyptians then refined this by adding yeast to flour, and this was the beginning of the rise of bread, literally. Yeast reacts with oxygen and helps leaven bread or make it rise. In addition to this, yeast together with the gluten in the flour adds strength to the dough and contributes to the taste, colour and wonderful aroma of baked goods.

The Need for Halaal Certification of Yeast

Yeast is Halaal when its medium of multiplication is Halaal, but carries the potential of becoming Haraam when its production is through Haraam media. When derived from plant and microbial sources, yeast remains Halaal. However, yeast can also be made with ingredients such as whey or casein which may contain animal enzyme material. Furthermore, most commercial yeasts typically contain some additional ingredients apart from the yeast cells themselves. These ingredients are often added to improve the stability, functionality, and performance of the yeast during storage, transportation, and the fermentation process. The specific composition of commercial yeast can thus vary based on the manufacturer and the type of yeast product being made. Thus if such additional ingredients are used in the production of yeast, then it could potentially be considered Mashbooh (doubtful) or even Haraam (unlawful). Based on the above possible source and production process of yeast, scrutinization of the product for Halaal compliance becomes an imperative.

Certification – the yeast to raise your quality standards