What’s the Difference Between Kosher and Halal Diets?
There are many similarities between kosher and halal diets, but several notable differences are also. These include which foods can be eaten or avoided and how animals should be slaughtered for food.
The Jewish and Islamic religions have dietary guidelines that prohibit certain substances from consuming their adherents.
The Quran contains a list of permitted foods slightly more expansive than the Torah’s list of prohibited foods. Still, both have prohibitions against consuming blood or pork and meat that was not slaughtered by ritualistic guidelines.
Jewish law requires animals to have cloven hooves and chew their cud before being considered fit for consumption. It also prohibits adherents from consuming any animal that dies of natural causes or is killed by other animals.
Islamic law prohibits adherents from consuming pork, blood, meat that does not come from an animal that was ritually slaughtered, the heart of predatory animals and birds of prey, as well as food sacrificed to idols or non-Muslim deities. Both religions require the animal to be conscious during the slaughter process.
There are several similarities between kosher and halal diets, but several notable differences are also. These include which foods can be eaten or avoided and how animals should be slaughtered for food.
The broadest difference is that only Jews can eat kosher food (although this rule has been relaxed in modern times), but anyone who follows Islamic dietary guidelines can adhere to a halal diet. Additionally, most kosher butchers prepare and sell halal meat.
Can meat be both kosher and halal:
Yes, meat can be both Kosher and Halal. The only area where the two methodologies overlap is slaughtering animals (called shechita).
All other requirements for kosher are utterly different than those for halal. Meat certified at a ‘Kosher’ establishment will not necessarily meet the halal certification standards.
To date, there are no Kosher establishments with approved Halal certification. Same with ‘Halal’ establishments. There are currently NO Halal certifications that simultaneously certify as Kosher. The best way to look at it is like this: “It’s like comparing apples to oranges.”
Many kosher butchers sell meat that they label as ‘halal,’ but this is generally done for the Muslim market. According to Islamic law, since they are already required to get the meat slaughtered, many will make filet and sell these cuts as halal. This is not true with all kosher establishments, but only some cater to Muslims.
Yes, you can buy both kosher and halal products in some markets, and there are also products on the market aimed at the Muslim consumer with a Kosher logo on their package.
But this does not mean that these meats were certified concurrently by both jurisdictions. You may see ‘kosher’ logos on Halal packages – this carries no weight or significance in terms of certification status between two separate certifying bodies such as Star-K versus ISC.
Kosher meat (at least the standard type in North America) is never 100% pure beef. It is always a mixture of two or more animals such as beef and veal, lamb and mutton, or even chicken or turkey.
On the other hand, Halal slaughtered meats must only come from one animal species – buffalo, goat, lamb, cow, etc… No pork can ever enter into this process, nor can any alcohol derivatives.
A lot of confusion also arises when you compare Kosher wine to ‘Mevushal’ wines common among the Jewish communities. Most of these wines are not approved for Muslim consumption due to an enzymatic process during winemaking.
On a side note, some Muslims also ask about Kosher salt. The answer is that there is no issue with using it. This becomes a problem when you go into the various levels of ‘Kosher’ certifications and examine the ingredients further.
Is kosher salt halal:
Assuming that it is just salt, then no, Salt is not Halal or Haram. In general, anything that is purely natural and pure and comes from the Earth/Sea/Lake, etc… is permissible to use as long as no other additives are involved. Salt, for instance, would fall under this category.
However, if it has been mixed with or processed in any way by a haram product such as alcohol, it would be rendered haram, according to most scholars, because of the components used during processing.
The difference between Kosher salt and regular salt is that Kosher salt usually contains an additive called “Kali Mirch,” a type of Black Pepper that has been boiled, smoked, and then ground into a fine powder that acts as an anti-caking agent. There is no difference between the chemical composition of Kosher salt and regular salt.
If you are using it for cooking purposes, there would be no issue in using salt that has alcohol added to it because the amount would be so minuscule. It may even be absorbed by the food while cooking or baking, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless you don’t want any alcohol content within your food whatsoever.
If someone were eating something directly out of a container where this type of salt had been used, then to me personally, that would not be permissible because they are probably licking some of the residual kosher certified salt off their fingers or utensils, which will influence them as well.