In January 2023, Snopes received an email from a reader asking if it is true that Oreo cookies are made with pork fat and pork milk. The question was probably prompted by the circulation of a Facebook meme around the same time claiming that "Oreo biscuit is forbidden for Muslims because it is made from fat and pork milk." We found no evidence whatsoever that Oreo biscuits (cookies) contain pork.
Here's an example of the meme, as posted on Facebook on Jan. 11:
Islam has a set of dietary laws that includes a list of foods Muslims are prohibited from eating. That list includes anything containing pork or any pork byproducts. Prohibited foods are called "haram." Permitted foods are called "halal." Commercially produced foods often carry "halal certified" labels.
We began our research by examining the ingredients labels on Oreo products. These, for example, are the ingredients in "original" Oreos, according to the manufacturer, Mondelez International:
WHEAT flour, sugar, palm oil, rapeseed oil, fat reduced cocoa powder 4,3 %, WHEAT starch, glucose-fructose syrup, raising agents (ammonium carbonates, potassium carbonates, sodium carbonates), salt, emulsifier (SOYA lecithins), acidity regulator (sodium hydroxide), flavouring.
Note that no pork (or other animal) ingredients of any kind are on that list. As best we could determine, none of the ingredients named above are regarded as haram (prohibited) to Muslims. Similar ingredients, with slight variations, are listed for other Oreo products. None contain pork or pork byproducts.
Are Oreos therefore halal (permitted)? The Oreo UK website states the following:
Oreo biscuits produced in Europe are not Halal certified but their composition or production process does not make them unsuitable for Muslim diet. The exceptions to this are Oreo Strawberry Cheesecake, Oreo Choc'o Brownie, Oreo Enrobed Milk & White, Oreo Cadbury Coated and Oreo Crunchy Bites Dipped.
We examined the ingredients lists of the products listed above as exceptions to the "suitable for Muslim diet" specification above, and found no pork products or byproducts listed. For the record, we also found no pork products or byproducts listed as ingredients in Oreo cookies manufactured in the U.S.
Because the meme appeared to have circulated quite heavily in India, we consulted a fact check by the Indian website Alt.News.in, which said a Mondelez International spokesperson informed the publication that all Oreo products manufactured in India "were of 'vegetarian origin," confirmed by the green dot on the wrapper."
Lastly, another fact-checking website, The Logical Indian, cited a Jan. 5, 2023, tweet by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change and Evironment (MoCCAE), which said testing had confirmed that Oreos contain no animal products:
Given all the evidence above, Snopes rates the claim that Oreo biscuits (cookies) contain pork and are forbidden to Muslims as "False."