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Kosher Meat

Kosher Meat

Meet the Meat!


It’s pretty simple. If you want kosher meat, you go to a kosher butcher that carries a trustworthy rabbinical certification, or find some packaged kosher meat in your supermarket’s freezer section, and make sure not to mix it with anything dairy.

But what is kosher meat?


Mammals: Only those that chew their cud and have cloven hoofs. Beef, venison, mutton and chevon (goat) are examples of meat that make the cut. Swine, horse, and rabbit do not.

Carp became the gefilte fish of choice, but catfish is not found on a kosher table

Poultry: The Torah lists species of fowl that may not be eaten—but the identity of many of the birds on the list is unclear. Therefore, only birds regarding which there is a tradition that they are kosher, such as dove and chicken, are okay.

Aquatic Creatures: Only fish that possess fins and scales. Hence, carp becomes the gefilte fish of choice, but catfish is not found on a kosher table. Shellfish and all amphibians are also out.


Birds or mammals must be killed in a specially prescribed manner. A trained practitioner severs the major vessels at the neck with a perfectly honed knife, in a painless procedure known as shechitah.

The Best of Health

Only fit and healthy animals are kosher. Kosher meat must pass a rigorous post-mortem examination to ensure that the animal was healthy. Animals that pass the test with an A+ are known as "glatt kosher."

Cut that Out!

Blood isn't kosher. For this reason, kosher meat and poultry is salted and rinsed to rid it of all traces of blood. The Torah also forbids us to eat the sciatic nerve and certain fats. Because of the difficulty involved in removing the nerve and fats, kosher cuts from the animal's hindquarters are rarely found.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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alice jena richmond hill March 21, 2014

In response to Menachem Posner, why Turkey? do they not love and raise their chicks?

I think you responded to me, instead of Anonymous from London.
Have a Shabbat Shalom....and lets us respect G-d's creations that have eyes and hearts. Thank you. Reply

Menachem Posner Montreal March 21, 2014

To alice jena Of the species that you mentioned, the only one that is considered kosher and okay to eat today is turkey. Some of the others are among the animals about which we do not have a clear tradition and therefore avoid since they may be unkosher.

All of the cheeses you mentioned are okay (provided that they have kosher certification or if you made them yourself). The forbidden fats are fats from certain parts of the animal. If you shop at a kosher butcher, you can be sure never to get any of them.


alice jena richmond hill March 20, 2014

Once again, encouraging all to be vegetarian, even better be vegan....Totally kosher. all day, every day (wash the veg and fruits of course.

Keeping vegetarian kosher for passover, too. Reply

Anonymous London, U.K. March 20, 2014

Questions: Are snails, locusts, turkey, pheasant, quail, ostrich okay? Is it ok to eat quail, ostrich eggs? What about soy, almond, goat, sheep milk, cheeses? You mentioned certain fats as not ok -- which ones and under what circumstances?


MaryPat Conley September 9, 2012

Wonderful information Reply

Michoel Shraga HaKatan January 18, 2010

Sciatic nerve is not one of those things that I would expect Chabad to be able to post in a comment to an article such as this one. After all, finding and removing the nerve is a job for which sepharadic Jews practice for years, and Ashkenazim avoid the entire hindquarters because it is so hard to do. Asking for directions is kind of like asking for step-by-step wizard on how do do brain surgery. Reply

arnie w bloomfield April 26, 2017
in response to Michoel Shraga HaKatan:

oy vy I am ferklempt!!! Reply

Sidney Roxbury, MA January 14, 2010

Kosher Does "kosher" include no NGO's, no hormones, drugs and feeding animals kosher feed? Reply

Menachem Posner for January 12, 2010

RE: What about ocean mammals? As the ocean mammals have none of the signs of the kosher fish (scales) or mammal (split hooves), they are not kosher. Reply

y January 12, 2010

could you please display the location of sciatic nerve Reply

alice New York, USA January 11, 2010

kosher Vegetarian, including kosher dairy products, is the easy way to go. Thanks for all of your wonderful work. Reply

Anonymous Hafnarfjordur, Iceland January 11, 2010

What about ocean mammals? What about whale meat? Reply

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