Lay’s snacks sold in Pakistan do not contain pork

The food additive E631 found in the products is derived from plants

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Claim: Lay’s chips sold in Pakistan contain a food additive derived from pork, making them unsuitable for Muslims. 

Fact: Lay’s Pakistan’s chips contain the additive E631, which is derived from plants not animal fat. The chips do not contain any pork.

Fact or Fiction?

On 30 January 2022, Facebook user Shah Baba shared a video in which it was claimed that Lay’s chips sold in Pakistan contain the additive E631, which is derived from pig fat.

The video shows a man displaying a packet of Lay’s masala chips and pointing towards a halal logo, which certifies that the product complies with Islamic guidelines, on the back of the packet. The man then proceeds to show the ingredients and points towards a flavour enhancer, E631. He Googles it on his phone and pulls up a website that claims E631 is derived from pork fat. 

He concludes the video by saying in Urdu, “We are being fed this by telling us that it is halal. We are being deceived so much.”

The post’s caption reads, “کیا حکومت کو اس کا نوٹس لینا چاہیے [Will the government take notice of this?]”

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false. The website the man referred to  in the video clarified in a blog post that, “Regarding the issue of E631 in Lays products in Pakistan we would like to refer to the Lays Pakistan Statement and the certification of Halal of Lays products. The inosinate is made from tapioca starch and no animal products are involved in the production.”

It is worth noting that according to SANHA, E631 (disodium inosinate) is not necessarily Haraam, it can be derived from different sources including meat, sardines or microbial fermentation. This may explain the confusion surrounding the E631 additive.

Soch Fact Check got in touch with SANHA Pakistan, a government-approved halal food certification agency in Pakistan, which published an official statement on its website regarding the issue. 

The statement confirms that products manufactured by Lay’s in Pakistan are 100% halal. It states, “SANHA Pakistan Halal Certification experts are pleased to confirm that the E631 food additive used as a flavour enhancer in Lay’s snacks product is derived from plant extract of tapioca starch.”

Responding to a query on Twitter in June 2020, Lay’s Pakistan  said, “E631 is a flavor enhancer that can be commonly found in potato chips, noodles, soups, pizzas and many other food products. E631 used in Lay’s is a Tapioca starch – which is a plant based gluten free starch.”

The parent company of Lay’s, Pepsico Pakistan, also refuted claims that its products contain pork. They have stated on their website, “All ingredients used in Lay’s are 100% Halaal, certified by SANHA.”

This is not the first time Lay’s chips have faced scrutiny over the ingredients they contain; similar claims about their products containing pork also did the rounds on social media  in 2020 and 2021. 

Virality

According to a CrowdTangle analysis conducted by Soch Fact Check, the search term “Lays E631” turned up 19 posts on Facebook which received 32 interactions over the 30 days leading up to 25 February 2022.

The viral video shared by Shah Baba has been viewed more than 1,200,000 times. It has also gained 19,000 likes and 79 shares.

Another page that appeared under the  search term’s results was ‘Shia counseling’, which shared the video with the misleading claim in a post dated 10 February 2022. Their video, which is the same as Shah Baba’s, has been viewed more than 150 times.

The oldest Facebook post from the past 30 day period was published  by the page M Ibrahim bacha on  23 January 2022. The page also shared another similar video claiming that Lays and Nestle products contain pork. 

Conclusion: Lay’s Pakistan’s chips do not contain pork. While the product does contain E631, this additive is not derived from animal fat but rather from plant-based Tapioca starch. 

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