Definition of Kosher Food

by David Harris

Kosher food is based on the laws of the Jewish religion. Eaten mainly by Orthodox Jews, kosher foods concern certain outlawed meats, how animals are slaughtered and forbids the mixing of meat and milk at a meal. Kosher law also extends to the type of utensils used at a meal.

History

The restrictions of a kosher diet are outlined by the Torah. Animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves are considered kosher. For example, it is permitted to eat beef, but not pork.

Seafood

Fish and seafood with removable scales is considered kosher. While most shellfish is not kosher, fish must be prepared by a kosher fishmonger to be suitable for the diet.

Milk and Meat

It is forbidden to eat milk and meat together at the same meal. It is all right to mix dairy and fish.

Slaughter

Jewish laws state that for meat to be kosher, the animal must be killed with no pain. The set of guidelines under which an animal is killed is called the "shechita."

Identification

A consumer can identify if a food is kosher by either a K or the word "pareve" on its packaging.

About the Author

David Harris is a writer living in Portland, Ore. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Spectrum Culture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.