January 4, 2021
Blog Post

Know Where Your Food Comes From: Halal & Kosher

There are several types of certifications that you can find on food packaging, from how an animal was raised to where a product was produced. The Halal and Kosher certifications are regulated and verified by religious communities to ensure humane raising practices, products that are in accordance with religious law, and strict processing procedures. However, you don’t have to be a part of the Jewish or Islamic religious communities to receive the benefits of these products.    

Kosher

In Hebrew, the word Kosher translates to what is “proper” or “fit” and comes from the Talmud and other codes of Jewish tradition. There are several Kosher certifications that come from third-party groups to help consumers be confident in the food they are eating.    

Meat & Seafood

• Excludes pork and birds of prey
• Excludes shellfish
• The animal is not stunned before slaughter
• Livestock is humanely slaughtered with a single quick, deep stroke across the throat in order for it to be painless and cause unconsciousness in under two seconds
• Preformed by a practicing Jew, Muslim, or Christian
• Blood must be completely drained within 72 hours
• Beef, lamb, and chicken are soaked for 45-55 minutes, then have certain veins and fats removed, then are salted for 45-55 minutes before rinsed and processed further
• Only the front quarters that meet further inspection of the chest cavity of beef can be consumed
• Processed, produced, and packaged on Kosher equipment and 100% free of pig and by-product

Diary & Eggs

• Must come from a Kosher certified animal
• Can never be mixed with meat-based derivatives

Produce

• All fruit and vegetables are considered Kosher, as long as they are free of contamination from worms and bugs

Grains, Nuts, Seeds & Oils

• These products are inherently Kosher; however, they must follow strict processes around cross-contamination

Halal

Similarly to Kosher, Halal follows rules and regulations around what is permissible according to Islamic laws. Sanitation, traceability, integrity, and composition are the core principles that third-party Halal groups look to when certifying.   

Meat & Seafood

• Excludes pork and birds of prey
• Shellfish and seafood are Halal
• The animal had a natural diet with no animal by-products and was well-treated
• Stun before slaughter is permitted, as long as the animal does not die as a result of it
• Livestock is humanely slaughtered with a single quick, deep stroke across the throat in order for it to be painless and cause unconsciousness in under two seconds
• Preformed by a practicing Jew, Muslim, or Christian
• The animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed out completely
• Processed, produced, and packaged on Kosher equipment and 100% free of pig and by-product

Diary & Eggs

• Must come from a Halal certified animal
• Can never be mixed with meat-based derivatives

Produce

• All fruit and vegetables are considered Halal
• If fermented, the fermentation must not produce alcohol

Grains

• These products are inherently Halal; however, they must follow strict processes around cross-contamination
• Cannot be prepared with alcohol, lard, or vanilla extract

Benefits of Kosher & Halal

While Kosher and Halal were created by religious laws, anyone can benefit by shopping those certifications. These products are great options if you care about humane practices, sustainability, and sanitation. One of the main requirements for these certifications is a humane end of life for livestock. 

Oftentimes, producers practice humane treatment of animals during their life as well. Many Halal and Kosher brands use grass-fed and ABF techniques and promote sustainable ranching. Additionally, you can be confident that the products you’re eating were carefully handled and processed using strict sanitation and processing procedures.  

For a lot of people, Kosher and Halal are a way of life, but it also gives any buyer insight to the humane and processing practices behind these products.