Kosher vs Halal: what are the similarities and differences?

Kosher vs Halal: what are the similarities and differences?

You might have encountered the terms ‘Kosher’ and ‘Halal’ when dealing with meat and dairy products. While it might be general knowledge that the terms relate to guidelines on what can and cannot be consumed, only a few people know what they actually mean. As a result, the terms have been used interchangeably by people who think they mean the same thing. Here is a detailed Kosher vs Halal comparison to help you understand them better.

A man eating at a table
Kosher and Halal are dietary laws for Jews and Muslims, respectively. Photo:, @michaelburrows (modified by author)
Source: UGC


Can meat be both Kosher and Halal? In some religions, not everything is edible. Dietary laws guide what should be eaten, and Muslim and Jewish faiths strictly adhere to these rules. While Kosher guides Jews, Halal guides Muslims.

Kosher vs Halal

Most religions have their dietary laws, and Muslims and Jews are no exception. The laws dictate which foods followers can eat and cannot eat. Kosher and Halal are the most common dietary laws that Jewish and Muslim faithful strictly adhere to. How does Kosher vs Halal compare? Find out their meanings, similarities, and differences.

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What is Kosher?

Kosher originates from the Hebrew word Kashrut, which means fit or proper. It relates to food which conforms to Jewish dietary laws derived from the Torah.

What makes food Kosher? The laws indicate which foods are to be consumed and how they are prepared. Therefore, food cannot be Kosher if it is not prepared as stipulated by Kashrut.

Food placed on a black tray
Kosher comes from the Hebrew word Kashrut, meaning fit or proper. Photo:, @anilsharma
Source: UGC

Kosher law prohibits the eating of certain animals. However, for permissible animals, there are guidelines on how they are killed and specific parts to be eaten. Kosher laws permit the following foods:

  • Animals whose hooves are divided into two and chew cud. Such animals include cattle, sheep, goats, and deer. Prohibited animals are pigs, rabbits, dogs, camels, and cats.
  • Domesticated birds, such as chicken, goose, duck, and turkey. Wild predatory birds such as vultures and falcons are prohibited.
  • Fish with fins and scales, including tilapia, tuna, salmon, pike, and herring.

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In Jewish, besides the permitted foods, how they are prepared determines whether they are Kosher. Here are slaughter guidelines for Kosher.

  1. The slaughterer, also called Schochet, must be Jewish having proper knowledge of Jewish laws.
  2. The slaughtering process must be quick. A sharp blade should be used with a single strike to kill the animal.
  3. Blood should be completely drained from the animal.
  4. Thorough inspection of the lungs to ensure the animal is healthy and fit for consumption.

What is Halal?

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permissible. It refers to foods allowed for consumption per Islamic dietary laws from the Quran. On the contrary, foods that are disallowed by the laws are called Haram, which means unlawful.

A man eating food
Halal refers to foods allowed for consumption per Islamic dietary laws from the Quran. Photo:, @michaelburrows
Source: UGC

Like Kosher, the food preparation procedure also determines whether it is Halal. Muslims have set guidelines for slaughtering an animal called zabihah, which must strictly be followed to make the meat lawful or permissible for consumption. According to the Islamic dietary laws, the following foods are considered clean.

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  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Goat
  • Camels
  • All types of bucks
  • Rabbit
  • Fish
  • Locust

Even if an animal is in the bracket of clean animals according to Islamic dietary laws, it may be considered not fit for consumption if specific procedures are not observed during slaughtering. Here are slaughter guidelines for Halal food.

  1. Whoever is slaughtering should be a Muslim.
  2. A specific prayer should be recited before the slaughter commence.
  3. A sharp knife should be used to minimise pain so that the animal dies fast and humanely.
  4. The animal’s throat is cut only once. Once the knife starts cutting, it must not be lifted before completion.
  5. The trachea, oesophagus, and two jugular veins, or at least three, must be cut.
  6. Blood should be completely drained from the animal.

Kosher and Halal similarities

Even though Kosher and Halal are different religious dietary laws, they have a few things in common. Here are the similarities in both laws.

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  • They both require that an animal that qualifies to be eaten is killed quickly and humanely to minimise pain.
  • They disallow the consumption of pork and any food or beverage with alcohol.
  • They are certified by organisations. For instance, Halal foods are certified by the Halal Food Standards Alliance of America (HFSAA), while Kosher foods are approved by the Orthodox Union (OU).

Kosher and Halal differences

How are kosher and halal different? The main difference between Halal and Kosher is that they are dietary laws practised by Islamic and Jewish religions, respectively. Other differences occur in the permissible foods and the food preparation process. Below is a Halal vs Kosher chart comparing the two dietary laws.

Halal Kosher
Definition Anything allowed to be eaten according to Islamic laws Foods must conform to kashrut regulations
Derived from Quran Torah
Slaughterer Killed by a Muslim. Non-Muslims may be allowed in some conditions. Killed by Jews only
Prayer Prayer to Allah before each slaughter A blessing before and after each slaughter
Fruits and vegetables Are Halal Only Kosher is they have no bugs
Meat and dairy Consumed together Cannot be consumed together

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Can Muslims eat kosher?

Muslims can consume kosher products. However, not all kosher products are Halal, as those that contain alcohol are not permitted.

How is kosher meat killed?

Schochet, a Jewish butcher, kills the animal. He says a blessing before and after the slaughter. The slaughter is done continuously in a humane way to minimise pain. He ensures blood is wholly drained and inspects the animal’s lungs to confirm it is healthy.

Can meat be both Kosher and Halal?

How do Kosher and Halal meats differ? Muslims can eat Kosher meat, therefore making Kosher Halal. However, Jews cannot eat Halal meat because it is not Kosher.

What is the difference between Halal and Kosher slaughter methods?

Kosher vs Halal slaughter differences are in who kills and how the animal is killed. Halal meat can be killed by a Muslim or non-Muslim in certain conditions, while Kosher meat can only be killed by a Jew. While in Halal slaughter, a prayer is said to Allah before it begins, in Kosher slaughter, a blessing is said before and after the slaughter.

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How do Kosher vs Halal compare? Despite the two coming from different religious dietary laws, they have been mistaken to mean almost the same thing. However, Halal is for Muslims, while Kosher is for Jews, and they have a few similarities and differences. While Muslims can eat certain Kosher foods, Jews cannot eat Halal foods because non-Jews prepare them. recently published a list of intercontinental dishes in Nigeria. While some foods are considered local Nigerian dishes, they are favourite delicacies in other parts of the world. Therefore, with such foods, you will find your favourite foods if you travel to different countries.

Just like people share cultural practices, dishes have also been shared. It is nothing strange finding your favourite Nigerian dish on another continent. Find out which foods have gone beyond Nigerian borders and are embraced on different continents.



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