I recently purchased a bottle of San-J soy sauce and was wondering if it was halal to eat. On the bottle it says in the ingredients organic alcohol (to preserve freshness). On their FAQ it states that a very small amount is added specifically "There may be some alcohol that is naturally occurring in our Tamari and we also add a very small amount of alcohol derived from sugarcane as a natural preservative". Can anyone clarify if this is halal or haram to eat?
There's a difference of opinion, so it's probably better to be avoid it just in case (as per the hadith "Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt", Sunan an-Nasa'i 5711 [grade: sahih] sunnah.com). I list the fatawa I found online below.
We cannot say that all Soya sauces are Haraam. It has been found that this particular brand [Kikkoman] contains alcohol, hence, we can say that this particular brand is Haraam. -- Moulana Imraan Vawda, AskImam.org
And their website says "Kikkoman Soy Sauces contain greater than 2% alcohol by volume."
The Kikkoman Soy sauce (made with soybean, wheat and salt) is a haram product due to the presence of 1.7% or more alcohol. La Choy soy sauce is a halal soy sauce, which is made with water, hydrolyzed soy protein, corn syrup, caramel color and potassium sorbate with kosher symbol K. -- Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed, Albalagh
If it contains alcohol, one should refrain. -- MuftiOnline.co.za (referring to 2% alcohol soy sauce)
If the alcohol used in preparing soy sauce is derived from other than grapes, dates and raisins and it is not at a concentration which intoxicates, such soy sauce will be permissible to use. -- Mufti Faraz al-Mahmudi, Darul fiqh
As for intoxication off soy sauce, it sounds unlikely, because based on the percentage of Alcohol in the naturally brewed kind, you need to consume three liters of it before you can get drunk. ... More than 25 years ago, I heard his eminence, Sh. Abu Bakr al-Jazaery simply put it in this sentence, “if you die because of overconsumption before you get drunk, it is not khamr.” -- Dr Hatem alHaj
Tamari that has alcohol added to it as a preservative would be permitted to consume. The alcohol is both small in quantity and is not being used in any manner resembling intoxication. If there are non-alcoholic alternatives, it would be best to opt for them given the difference of opinion on the issue. -- Ustadh Salman Younas, SeekersHub
Note how the above fatwa mentions the "difference of opinion".
If the alcohol in soy sauce is from wheat and soya beans, then it is permissible. Obviously, the condition of non-intoxication has to be considered. -- Mufti Ebrahim Desai, AskImam.org, responding to a question which said: "Kikkoman Soy Sauce contains approximately 1.5 to 2% alcohol by volume."