Kosher law prohibits eating shellfish, land animals with scales, and birds of prey, but halal does not.
Both kosher and halal rules prohibit eating pork.
Halal rules prohibit intoxication through wine, liquor, beer, or drugs, but kosher law does not when it comes to wine.
Halal and Kosher are terms often used to describe food that complies with the strict dietary standards of traditional Jewish and Islamic laws.
What Is Kosher
Kosher food is any food or beverage that Jewish dietary laws allow a person to eat. For many Jews, kosher is about more than just health or food safety.
It is about reverence and adherence to religious tradition.
The English word “kosher” is derived from the Hebrew root “kashér,” which means to be pure, proper, or suitable for consumption.
Likewise, kashrut (kosher) practices have evolved in response to changes in the food industry, Jewish communal life, and world culture.
Nowadays, because of the complexity of the kosher requirements and modes of food production, kosher certification is needed to check that all the criteria for kosher have been met.
The kosher level is indicated by a symbol printed on the package representing an agency’s certification.
Surprisingly the majority of kosher food sales are not to kosher-observant Jewish consumers!
Other religious denominations take advantage of overlapping dietary restrictions, like halal, or Christian sects like Seventh-Day Adventists that avoid pork.
Gluten-free and other special diets work well with Passover grain-free food items. Vegetarians can feel certain that their dairy products are meat-free.
What Makes Food Kosher?
Here are the Kosher basics, according to the Torah:
- To qualify as kosher, mammals must have split hooves, and chew their cud.
- Fish must have fins and removable scales to be considered kosher.
- Only certain birds are kosher. Generally speaking, they are birds that are non-predatory.
This means pork, rabbit, eagle, owl, catfish, sturgeon, shellfish, and reptiles, among others, are non-kosher.
Nearly all insects are non-kosher as well though, per the Talmud, there are a small number of kosher locust species.
Kosher species of meat and fowl must be ritually slaughtered in a prescribed manner to be kosher.
Meat and dairy products cannot be cooked or consumed together.
A kosher food that is processed or cooked together with a non-kosher food, or any derivative of non-kosher food, becomes non-kosher.
For example, food coloring derived from shellfish and used in a cake makes the cake non-kosher.
Kosher guidelines strictly prohibit the pairing of any meat and dairy product. This also means that all utensils and equipment used to prepare meat and dairy must always be kept separate.
What is Halal?
Halal food is a standard of preparation, rules, and customs, that are formulated under the Islamic guidelines for nutrition.
With many Muslims around the world, halal food can be found in pretty much every major form of cuisine.
Halal encompasses more than just meat, or even the type of meat eaten, although it is the most discussed type of product consumed.
The halal food industry in the United States is expanding rapidly. A growing Muslim population, along with younger non-Muslim customers who consume these foods.
Halal foods are foods that are allowed to be consumed under Islamic dietary guidelines. The foods that are not permitted are called haram, meaning “forbidden” in Arabic.
With that being said, non-halal foods “haram” include pork or pork by-products, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, and animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered in the name of God.
Other forms of protein that are forbidden are carnivorous animals, birds of prey, and land animals without external ears, blood and blood by-products as well as alcohol.
- Meat and poultry slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law (Zabihah)
- Nuts, seeds
- Peanut butter
- Halal deli meats
- Dried beans, peas, and lentils
- Pork and pork products, e.g. bacon, deli meats, ham, and sausage are not allowed.
- Meat and poultry not slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law are not allowed.
- Canned beans, peas, and lentils containing pork are not allowed.
- Any meat and meat alternative dish prepared with alcohol, pork products, or animal shortening are not allowed.
Halal vs Kosher : What Are The Differences
Halal certification agencies like the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America ensure that halal-certified food is widely available in the United States.
Kosher certified food is widely available with certifications conducted by various agencies spread across the United States.
According to Islamic law, intoxicating plants, food additives derived from prohibited food, alcohol, and other intoxicants are not halal.
Fruits and vegetables are kosher according to Jewish law as long as they have no bugs. Grape products made by non-Jews are not kosher.
According to Islamic dietary law, dairy, yogurt, and cheese should be produced from halal-certified animals. The gelatin in yogurt and rennet in cheese should also be halal.
Jewish dietary laws state that not only meat and dairy cannot be consumed together but they also need to be cooked in separate utensils. There cannot be a common set of utensils to cook meat and dairy.
Halal vs Kosher Slaughtering Guidelines
Meat is considered to be halal if it is clean, lawful, and slaughtered with certain guidelines:
- The slaughterer should be Muslim.
- The animal should be prayed over before slaughter.
- The knife must be sharp to minimize pain.
- The throat of the animal is cut and the knife may not be lifted before the cut is complete.
- The Trachea, Esophagus, and both jugular veins must be severed or at least three of the four arteries must be severed for the meat to be Halal.
- All the blood should be drawn from the animal.
For meat to be kosher, the animal is slaughtered following certain guidelines:
- The “Shochet “or slaughterer should be Jewish with knowledge of Jewish laws.
- The slaughter should be a quick, deep stroke with no nicks.
- All blood should be drawn from the animal.
- The lungs of the animal are inspected to make sure there are no defects to deem the meat Kosher.
When it comes to halal vs kosher we find that both dietary laws share in the simple fact that they restrict certain foods, have health guidelines, and both have a slaughtering process.
The kosher and halal market in the United States has grown year over year and will continue to grow as demand continues to rise.
We hope to be a part of that journey.