Pehlivan Halva » Food Safety

Some tahini halvas are harder, what is the reason for that?     

 If the amount of the sesame oil used in making the halva is reduced, halva would be hard.   

How should halva be stored at home?

The commercial halva producers don’t recommend halva to be stored in the refrigerator. It should be stored in a cool and dry place away from the sun shine. It must be consumed in a week after the package is opened. It can be kept in the refrigerator for months in a good condition as long as the package isn’t opened. Halva is not a perishable food.

Is the mellowing seen on the surface of the halva harmful?

The mellowing of the halva’s surface may be seen as a result of the evaporation or changes in the temperature causing the sugar to become viscous. If the halva is exposed to high temperature during the storage, it may become chewy.  That doesn’t have any harm to health; only makes a difference in the flavor and taste of halva. And it affects the flavor quality.

Does the opacity of the molasses mean that it is spoiled?

There is tartaric acid in molasses. These acids settle in time. People usually think that opacity as spoilage. Tartaric acid is a healthful, natural substance. When all of the acid is extracted, molasses loses its efficacy.


Does the crystallization of the molasses mean that it is spoiled?

No, molasses is a natural food, crystallization is usual. It doesn’t have any harmful effects, can be consumed like that.

Does the tahini halva made without a human touch?

No, tahini halva is a traditional food and is knead by the master hands of the chefs grown doing this job for years. The law maker has regulated the production of halva kneading by hand. It is a work that requires proficiency. One can be a foreman after going through all the process like apprenticeship and etc. The quality standards of the products are maintained through the combination of the raw materials of the same quality with standard recipes. No machine is used during the kneading process.

What is tahini halva and how is it made?   

As per the Turkish Food Codex (Communiqué 2008/6), halva is the solid, homogeneous, thin-fibred food produced as a result of the process of the syrup, which is cooked and made become viscous and upon the addition of edible glucose syrup if needed besides with sugar, drinking water and citric acid or tartaric acid, whitened by means of soapwort extract (Radix saponariae Albae sive L.) and/or modified proteins, afterwards properly mixed and knead with tahini and some flavorings on demand.

How the hygiene is maintained in the places of halva production?

Principally, the air in the production place is regularly filtered. It is an obligation at the production places that the air should be at certain temperature and humidity rate. The place is checked once in a week by means of microbiology samples taken. General employee rules are strictly followed. All employees regularly go through checkups. The production places are entirely covered with antibacterial linoleum. The commercial halva producers produce their products under the supervision of food engineers and microbiologists in a fully equipped laboratory environment.  Each raw material is used after the laboratory approval and each product is regularly analyzed by samples taken every day.

 Is lardy emulsifier used in the production of tahini halva?

In all tahini halva productions, only vegetable oil containing emulsifiers are used. The commercial halva producers make productions within the framework of the regulations determined by the Halva Communiqué, Tahini Communiqué, Molasses Communiqué and Turkish Delight Communiqué of Turkish Food Codex. All their products are in accordant with these Communiqués. By no means, lard is used in the products.

 How the tahini halva products should be stored?

The tahini halva products should be stored in an ambient temperature of not higher than 20 °C.  If it is stored in a temperature higher than 25 °C, the surface of the halva may get greasy, turn pale or look sticky. That results from the changes in temperature. As the humidity rate of the sea level regions is higher, halva may become viscous or chewy sooner. None of these are harmful to the human health, they just cause a difference in taste and flavor.

 Which additives are used in tahini halva?

 The additives used in tahini halva should be in compliance with the provisions of Turkish Food Codex Communiqué on Food Additives Other Than Colors and Sweeteners published in the Official Gazette dated 22/12/2003 and No. 25324, and Turkish Food Codex Communiqué on Sweeteners Used in the Foodstuffs published in the Official Gazette dated 21/09/2006 and No. 26296. No colors can be used in tahini halva.

Definitions on the Communiqué related to tahini halva production are as below:

Flavorings: Nuts, mastic, cacao powder and other appropriate foodstuffs used as flavorings. Flavored tahini Halva: It is the halva made with the addition of flavorings. Soapwort Extract: It is the product made from the root of the plant (Radix saponariae Albea sive L.) as it is made into small pieces and boiled in the water. Modified Protein: They are the casein proteins, used for foaming and whitening such as albumen. Plain tahini halva: ıt is the kind of halva that doesn’t contain any sort of aromas or flavorings except vanilla, vanilin and ethyl vanilin. Sugar: Describes the agents stated in the Official Gazette dated 23/08/2006 and No. 26268 under the title of Turkish Food Codex  the Communiqué on Sugars. Aroma agents:  For the productions within the scope of the Communiqué, merely vanilla, vanillin, ethyl vanillin and natural aromas can be used as aroma agents. Contaminants: the contaminant amount of the productions that are within the scope of this communiqué should be in compliance with the provisions of Turkish Food Codex Communiqué on Determining the Maximum Levels of Certain Contaminants in Foodstuffs published in the Official Gazette dated 22/12/2003 and No. 25324. In addition to this, the quantity of the iron, copper, lead and arsenic must be as the following; iron- maximum 40 mg/kg, copper - maximum 10 mg/kg, arsenik - maximum 0,2 mg/kg, kurşun - maximum  0,3 mg/kg and stannic - maximum  200 mg/kg. Pesticide Residues: the amount of the pesticide residues of the productions that are within the scope of this communiqué should be in compliance with the provisions of Turkish Food Codex Communiqué on Maximum Plant Conservation and Residue Limits in Foodstuffs published in the Official Gazette dated 11/1/2005 and No. 25697.    

Does the tahini halva become mouldy?

It ıs too hard for the tahini halva to become mouldy, as its water rate is quite low. As long is it is stored in accordance with its storage conditions, it would take a very long time for the halva to become mouldy.

 What are the components of tahini halva?

The components of tahini halva are stated below:

·         Sesame oil – minimum %26

·         Tahini - minimum %52

·         Protein - minimum %10

·         Total amount of sugar (in terms of sucrose) - maximum %47

·         Humidity -  maximum %3

·         Cinder - maximum %2

·         Peroxide number (in the extracted oil) - maximum %10 meg/kg

·          Acidity (in the extracted oil in terms of oleic acid) - maximum %2

·         Halva saponin - maximum %0,1

What are the product features of tahini halva?

·         Tahini halva should have a unique color, flavor and odor, shouldn’t have a foreign flavor or odor.

·          Tahini halva shouldn’t contain a foreign matter.

·         Tahini halva should have a unique homogeneous thin-fibred texture and there shouldn’t be crystallization.

·         Flavoring substances used in tahini halva should be put as a whole, or in big pieces that can be picked and their proportion to the mass product should be at least % 8.

·          The flavoring substance used in the flavored tahini halva shouldn’t be used together with its natural aroma.


What is the importance of tahini in halva?

·         Tahini is a hundred percent natural sesame paste.

·         A good halva contains about 60 percent tahini.

·         Tahini is a product obtained by the process in which sesame seeds (sesames indicum) are released from their capsules in a proper way, dried in the oven and toasted, and then milled.

What are chemical features of tahini halva?

·         Sesame oil – minimum %50

·         Humidity -  maximum %1.5

·         Protein - minimum %20

·         Cinder - maximum %3.2

·         Bitterness (Kreis) - Negative

 Acidity (in terms of oleic acid) - maximum %2.4