There are certain brands of soy sauce contain alcohol between 1.5 – 2% and some even more than 2%. I have also traced various opinions about the level of alcohol in these soy sauces. As usual of course there are a variety of opinions. There are a few things that we should consider before we take a stand.
Alcohol (ethanol) in its pure form is not subject to the law because it is not consumed in the pure form just like any other chemical materials, such as acetone, chloroform, methanol, propanol, etc. Therefore if a material contains alcohol, it is not automatically haram. Fruits, bread, and even rice contain alcohol although in small amounts. We have to see the nature of the material in overall, whether it is intoxicating if we consume in normal amounts. However, alcohol can be used to distinguish whether a substance is intoxicating, or we should avoid it because it is potentially intoxicating, or we fear to be intoxicating.
The maximum alcohol level agreed by several scholars (ulama) and experts is 1%. If alcohol in a beverage is more than 1%, then it is categorized as intoxicating thus making the beverage haram. The conclusion on the halalness of alcohol level is based on several hadith related to juice. This juice was stored in room temperature for two days but yet the Prophet allowed the juice to be consumed. However, when the juice was stored in room temperature for three days, the juice was not allowed to be consumed. For those who do not know, fresh juice contains alcohol. And if we store the juice at room temperature for two days, the alcohol content of the juice is estimated to reach 1%. This level of alcohol is the limit of whether juice is permissible to be consumed or not.
What about other liquids that contain alcohol? Such as cough syrup, soy sauce, etc.? If we want to prevent the way to the unlawful things or to avoid the possibility of intoxicating foods, the level of alcohol should not be more than 1%, the same as for beverages. Therefore, the levels of soy sauce with more than 1% of alcohol should be avoided. Not all salty soy sauce contains alcohol more than 1%. Sweet soy sauce usually has less than 1% of alcohol, salty soy sauce may contain varies of alcohol, Japanese soy sauce too, depending on the types.
To find out further you can go to a few links below, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100212214727AARsZh9 http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/faq/generalfaq.php # diet1
Wallahu ‘alam bisshawab.