What is Kosher and Non-Kosher?
The Jewish community has strict guidelines concerning some aspects of their diet, particularly in relation to meat and dairy products. Acceptable food is called kosher.
Continuing to eat a kosher diet while in hospital or on a medically restricted diet poses a major problem for Jewish people.
Jews will only eat meat which is killed and prepared by their own religiously trained workers and will not take milk and meat in the same meal.
A kosher household will also keep meat and milk utensils, crockery and cutlery strictly separate.
What is Kosher?
- Animals must have cloven hooves and chew the cud e.g. cows, goats and sheep are kosher.
- Fish must haves scales and fins.
- Kosher food must be butchered and prepared in a special way: a single knife blow to the throat killing the animal; the blood drained out of it afterwards; the cut up the meat soaked in water and salted to remove the last traces of blood.
- Animals must be in perfect health to be kosher.
- Fruit is kosher.
- Vegetarian dairy products are kosher.
- Meat and milk utensils, crockery and cutlery should be kept strictly separate. Disposable cutlery and crockery should be used to serve kosher food in the hospital to avoid cross-contamination with non-kosher utensils.
What is Non-Kosher?
- Examples of non-kosher animals would be horses, pigs and the wild birds.
- Shellfish and eels are examples of non-kosher fish.
- Any meat – even that from kosher animals – that has not been butchered and prepared in a specific way is not kosher.
- Animals that are not healthy, or that have some internal disease discovered after death, are not kosher.
- Fruit damaged by rot or insects is not kosher.
- It is not kosher to mix dairy and meat products together and a three hour wait between eating these kinds of food is preferred.
- Utensils used in the preparation of non-kosher food are non-kosher.