Spam is a fan favorite in many households across America. But is Spam a halal food item? Or is it haram? Let's take a look below.
Since Spam contains pork, it is not a halal item. Pork is haram or forbidden in the Islamic faith and thus is not halal. In addition, other preservatives and additives often found in Spam are not considered halal.
It's important to know what is in canned meats like Spam to avoid consuming foods that are not considered halal. That's why in this article, we will take a closer look at how Spam is made. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about Spam and halal foods.
Is Spam Halal Food?
Halal in Arabic translates to permissible or lawful. In the Islamic faith, foods are classified as halal or haram. For example, pork is considered haram as it is forbidden for consumption, while chicken, beef, and fish are considered halal if they meet certain criteria.
Spam is made from ground pork, water, preservatives, and flavorings. Therefore, Spam has not considered a halal food item, as it contains pork shoulder, pork ham, and preservatives. This is good to know if you have guests in your home who follow a halal diet.
Some of the preservatives that are used in making Spam may also come from animal sources, which could render the product haram. In general, canned meats should be avoided by those who follow a halal diet unless certified halal.
In addition to the type of meat used, other factors will determine whether or not meat is considered halal. How the meat is harvested also plays an important role. For example, even if the meat is beef or chicken, if it is slaughtered in a manner that is not considered halal, then it would be haram.
It is also considered haram if the animal was slaughtered by someone who is not Muslim. Since Spam and many canned foods are made in factories, more than likely, the meat used is not slaughtered in a halal manner.
If you are having trouble finding halal canned meat, then take a look at supermarkets or websites that sell certified halal goods. This will give you peace of mind that you and your family are consuming foods that are considered halal by Islamic standards.
Is There Pork-Free Spam?
While it's not considered halal-certified, there is a pork-free Spam option. Spams oven roasted turkey flavor is made from 100% white turkey.
It is also one of, if not the healthiest, Spam flavors. You will find the majority of the Spam flavors are high in fat (16g per serving size), whereas the oven-roasted turkey flavor only has 4 grams.
It also has slightly more protein than the other flavors, with 9 grams per serving versus 7 grams. Since there are 12 ounces in a can of Spam and 6 servings, that would mean there are 54 grams of protein and 24 grams of fat in one can of the oven-roasted turkey flavor.
For a person who needs a quick protein source, the Spam oven-roasted turkey isn't a bad choice. However, how the meat is processed and the preservatives used are still unlikely to be halal.
Is Spam A Junk Food?
Even though Spam has protein in it, it is very high in fat, sodium, and calories. It is also very low in essential vitamins and minerals that are needed to have a balanced diet. In other words, Spam is in line with what you would consider “junk food.”
Given the nutritional facts, Spam should be consumed in moderation. Of course, if you enjoy it with cheese and crackers every once in a while, that's okay. However, over-consuming Spam could cause health problems down the road.
If you like Spam due to the inconvenience of not having to cook or do prep work, then there are other canned meats to consider. For example, canned fish is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids.
Another healthy meat choice is canned chicken breast. Chicken breast is a lean meat high in protein that can be added to a healthy diet.
Before purchasing any canned meats, look at the ingredients label to ensure you choose one with no or low preservatives and sodium.
Can You Eat Spam Raw?
Even though Spam looks raw when it's taken out of the can, it is actually pre-cooked. You can open a can of Spam and eat it right away.
Spam straight out of the can may not be for everyone, though. Many people will fry Spam because it gives it a better texture. Frying it will also make it taste less salty.
There are several recipes that you can make with Spam. For example, fried Spam and eggs is a simple and easy dish. You can also add Spam to stir-fries, sandwiches, burritos, salads, and other recipes.
If you are ever unsure what to do with Spam, you can check out the company website. On there, you can find several recipes you can make with ingredients on hand.
Does Spam Taste Like Ham?
Essentially Spam is ham, but ham is not Spam. Ham comes from a pig's buttocks, or upper leg, and makes up around 10% of Spam. The other 90% is pork shoulder, salt, water, and other preservatives.
So, Spam does have a similar taste and texture to canned ham but is saltier and slightly spicy. Some say that the texture is closer to that of bologna, but everyone's taste buds are different.
It really comes down to your taste buds and preferences, whether you like Spam or canned ham more.
Who Eats Spam The Most?
You might have guessed it, but the United States consumes the most Spam in the world. Hawaii tops the list due to it gaining immense popularity after being introduced in World War II to the soldiers stationed there.
When you visit one of the Hawaiian islands, it is a sure bet that you will find Spam at a local restaurant or supermarket. Spam is also very popular in South Korea and the Philippines.
When it comes to affordability and long shelf life, Spam is hard to beat. It is also a quick meal solution for busy people. If you visit a restaurant serving Spam dishes, it's worth trying to see what the hype is about.
How Long Does Spam Last?
As mentioned, Spam has a long shelf life which is appealing to doomsday preppers and those who like to buy in bulk. Technically, Spam doesn't have an expiration date and just might get you through the apocalypse.
Instead, Spam has a "best by" date, which is usually dated 3 years after its packaging date. A best by date simply means the date that a food should be consumed for best quality.
If you store Spam properly, it could last indefinitely. While it may be safe to eat, the meat may be discolored and not taste as good.
When storing Spam with the expectation of keeping it for 3 years or longer, it should be put in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If it's not properly stored, it can become spoiled and unsafe to eat.
Before opening a can of Spam, inspect the can's condition. If you notice any leaks, cracks, or punctures in the can, then it's best to throw it away.
If the Spam can check out but the meat has a foul smell or shows signs of mold, then play it safe and discard it.
Can You Store Spam In The Refrigerator?
If you have leftover Spam, then it needs to be refrigerated. Like most foods, Spam left at room temperature for over 2 hours has a risk of bacteria growth.
To avoid this, put your leftover Spam in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to a week. You can also store Spam in the freezer if you don't plan on using it any time soon.
When stored in the freezer, Spam should last 3-6 months before needing to be tossed. When you are ready to use the frozen Spam, place it in the refrigerator to thaw. You can then fry it up or add it to a dish.
While Spam is loved by many, it is not halal due to it containing pork. It's best to shop at stores that specialize in halal meats if you are looking for something similar to Spam.
Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:
Luncheon Meat Vs Spam: What’s The Difference?
Does Turkey Sausage Have Pork?
Is Canned Chicken Always Pre-Cooked?