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Halal vs Kosher Diet: Similarities and Differences Worth Knowing

Halal and Kosher diets are the two eating patterns or diet forms that are founded on the beliefs of Islamic and Jewish laws respectively.(4)

The commonality between Halal and kosher diets is that both of these have strict guidelines, as to what foods are permitted and which ones are prohibited based on their religious teachings.

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However, there is a lot of confusion amongst people as to both of these diets and what difference is there.  Let us discuss some of the similarities and differences between Kosher and Halal diets.

Halal vs Kosher Diet: Similarities and Differences Worth Knowing

Fundamental Principles of Halal and Kosher Diets

When it comes to the term Halal, this word is used for foods which are permitted to be consumed under the Islamic law as described by the Quran, the holy book of Muslims containing the religious text of Islam. Halal diet consists of strict guidelines regarding the raising, slaughtering and preparation of livestock before it can be consumed.(1)

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The foods that are prepared according to the traditional Jewish dietary laws are termed as Kosher. In a kosher diet, there are many food combinations that are not permitted and only specific animal products can be consumed.(2, 3, 8)

Certain foods are labeled as certified Halal or certified kosher, meaning that these foods comply with the diet rules set by each religion.

The Similarities: Halal and Kosher Diets have Certain Restricted Foods

There are specific foods that are prohibited in both Halal as well as Kosher diets.

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Halal diet absolutely prohibits any food which has alcohol or blood in it or is used for preparation. Halal diet also prohibits certain meat, such as pork, carnivorous animals, majority of the reptiles and birds of prey for consumption.(1)

Likewise, kosher diet also restricts some types of meat including meat from horses, pigs, squirrels, rabbits, camels and kangaroos. Scavenger or predatory birds like eagles and hawks; fishes that do not have scales or fins, such as shellfish are also off-limits in kosher diet. The hindquarters of cattle are usually not thought of as kosher and this also consists of certain cuts of beef, such as sirloin, flank, shank and round steaks.(4)

Similarity #2: Both Kosher and Halal diets Dictate the Slaughtering Method of Animals

Halal and Kosher diets have specific guidelines when it comes to slaughtering of meat before it can be deemed fit for consumption.

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According to Islamic and Halal guidelines, before the slaughtering of the animal, one must ensure that it is completely healthy and it should be slaughtered according to a specific method, where the jugular vein is incised first to completely drain all the blood from the animal. It is also mandatory to mention Allah’s name at the time of slaughtering for a meat to be considered as Halal.(1, 5)

In Judaism, shohet is a person who is certified by the Jewish law and is specifically trained for slaughtering of animals according to Jewish laws. A meat is considered as kosher, when it is butchered by a shohet. The meat should also be drained and cleaned, such that all the blood is removed prior to cooking.(6)

Sometimes, kosher-certified meat can be considered as Halal by some people because of the resemblance in the slaughtering practices of both the religions.

The Differences: Restricted Food Pairings in a Kosher Diet

In a Kosher Diet, there are three category of foods: dairy products (milchig); meat (fleishig), and pareve, which means that it has ingredients free of any dairy or meat. (7, 8) According to the kosher guidelines, the foods which are categorized as meat should not be eaten at the same meal with foods categorized as dairy, i.e. meat and dairy should not be eaten together in a kosher diet.(7, 8)

Additionally, cooking equipment and utensils that are used to prepare dairy and meat should be kept apart.(7)

Halal Diets do not have any such restrictions when it comes to food combinations.

Conclusion

There are strict guidelines in Halal and Kosher diets as to which foods are allowed to be consumed according to Islamic and Jewish laws and which are absolutely forbidden, respectively. Both these diets have certain rules when it comes to slaughtering of the animals, and both of these diets prohibit certain forms of meat.

However, the main difference is that Halal diets also ban foods that have blood or alcohol in them or are used when preparing them; whereas kosher diets restrict certain food combinations or pairings.

References:

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