When foods are produced according to Islamic law, they are known as halal. Halal milk is milk that is produced from a halal animal, such as a cow. As long as the animal being milked is considered halal, the milk is permissible to consume. Forbidden animals, or haram animals, from which Muslims may not eat or obtain milk would include pigs and monkeys along with dozens of other species.
Production of food may also impact its halal status. Animals killed, for example, must be slaughtered quickly by the throat in the name of Allah. Foods that are not produced as such may not be considered halal. Foods that contain milk, such as cheese or whey, must contain halal enzymes in them and be made from halal milk in order to be consumed without sin. Any food that includes a haram food as an ingredient is said to be contaminated and haram itself.
Any animal that may be consumed under Islamic law may produce halal milk. In addition to cows, sheep, camels, and buffalo are considered halal animals. Goats, too, are halal animals. Hence, goat's milk is a form of halal milk as well.
Sometimes milk and milk products may fall into a questionable category, giving them a mashbooh status. This status implies that their enzymes, flavoring agents, or emulsifiers may not be halal. A chocolate flavoring in milk, for example, may not be halal; to be certain, those following these laws may wish to ensure that the chocolate is halal-certified.
Most mainstream milks that are produced are considered halal, whether they are powdered, skim, or whole varieties. Some milks that have vitamins and emulsifiers added that are pig-derived, however, are haram milks. Milks sold in the United States and Canada are considered to be halal.
Westerners might equate halal laws to kosher laws in terms of understanding what they mean, though the laws are not the same. If a food is not halal, it may be considered haram to Muslims. Such foods are prohibited for consumption by the word of Allah. Consuming such foods is considered to be sinful. Many other products made from non-halal animals, such as animal lard and bacon, are also forbidden to Muslims.