The Differences between Kosher & Halal:

I recently got asked about the differences between a product that is certified kosher and a product that is certified halal.  Besides knowing that kosher was Jewish and halal was Muslim… I honestly had no idea.  So I decided to dive in and find out!

Kosher SymbolKosher Guidelines:

Animals must be clean and pure…

  • Land animals must have cloven hooves and chew the cud
      • Allowed: Bulls, cows, sheep, lambs, goats, and veal
      • Not Allowed: Pigs, camels
  • Birds of prey may not be consumed
    • Allowed: goose, duck, chicken, turkey
    • Not Allowed: eagle, owl, swan, pelican, vulture, and stork
  • Fish must have fins and scales
    • Allowed: Tuna, salmon, herring
    • Not Allowed: shrimps, crabs, mussels, lobsters
  • Eggs may not contain blood
  • Animals must be killed in a way that does not cause pain to the animal
  • All blood, veins, and certain fats must be removed (process called treiber)

Plants must be clean and pure…

  • Dairy products must come from kosher animals and cannot contain non-kosher additives
    • This may seem obvious, but many lots of dairy products these days are very processed and contain tiny additives that don’t have to be listed on the label.
  • Dairy and meat may not be cooked together, eaten together, served together, processed together
  • Fruits and vegetables cannot be cross-bred with different species of plants
  • Fruits and vegetables cannot come from a “new” plant
  • Certain types of insects may not be ingested
  • Wine bottles may not be filled multiple times
  • Utensils used for harvesting and processing food must be cleansed properly

Reference: www.koshercertification.org.uk

halal symbolHalal Guidelines…

Slaughter must be done correctly…

  • Allah’s name must be said when an animal is slaughtered
  • The animal must be killed using a very sharp knife and by slitting its throat
  • The animal must be conscious during slaughter
  • After slaughter the animal must be hung upside down to allow the blood to drain out
  • Food that is acceptable for Jews and Christians may be acceptable for a Muslim
    • For instance, many Muslims find kosher food acceptable to eat

Foods must be clean and pure…

  • The animals must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal by-products
  • No blood from the animal may be consumed
  • Pork is never allowed
  • Food may not be contaminated or improperly slaughtered
  • Alcohol may not be consumed

Reference: www.thekitchn.com, http://www.ifanca.org

Main Differences:

  • Halal foods cannot contain any alcohol
  • Kosher is more restrictive about the types of meat that are considered acceptable
  • Kosher does not allow meat and dairy to be combined

Conclusion:

To me it seems like kosher guidelines focus on making sure food is “clean and pure.”  While halal guidelines also emphasize cleanliness and purity, their focus seems more about slaughtering the animal properly.

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