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


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


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


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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