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Waiting Periods Between Meat & Dairy

Waiting Periods Between Meat & Dairy


The laws of kosher require that in addition to not eating them together, we wait a specified period of time between eating meat and eating dairy.

After eating dairy and before eating meat, eat something pareve, which does not stick to the palate. Then rinse your mouth, or take a drink, and wash your hands. In addition, many have the custom of waiting a certain period of time -- a half-hour or an hour. After eating certain hard cheeses, a six-hour waiting period is required (see Why the extended wait between eating "aged" cheese and meat?).

After eating meat foods, we wait six full hours before eating any dairy. The six-hour waiting period is standard for all Jews, except those groups which have halachically established other customs.

If a small piece of meat is discovered between the teeth, remove it and rinse the mouth, but an additional waiting period is not required (even if six hours have elapsed since eating meat). If even the smallest amount of food is chewed or swallowed, the full waiting period becomes necessary.

If food is tasted but immediately eliminated from the mouth before chewing or swallowing, then no waiting period is required. One should rinse the mouth well.

Meat and dairy foods may not be eaten at the same meal, even if they are in separate dishes and even if the waiting time elapses.

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Discussion (11)
July 21, 2015
Waiting Periods Between Eating Meat & Dairy
Maimonides' ( the Great codifier, Rabbi Moishe ben Maimon, 1135 - 1204) concern of "food" (meat) between the inter-proximal spaces of the teeth, can be traced to a verse in Numbers 11:33; "The meat was still between their teeth..." True; after 6 hours, the meat particles may have "deteriorated"; but, they have not been digested. The oral cavity does not contain any proteolytic enzymes, called proteases, which break down proteins into their component, absorbable,amino acids. This process begins in the stomach; and absorption occurs along the length of the small intestine. Interestingly enough, studies have shown, that gastric emptying of digested proteins (i.e., meats) takes about 5 hours! So, our Sages were not too far off! Its' all there; in our sacred literature (Avos,5:21). The bottom line: Wait 6 hours. Brush & floss after meals; meat or dairy. Double benefit: Good oral health, and no transgression of the prohibition of mixing meat and dairy.
Hardly a Beinoni
Hollywood, Florida
March 13, 2015
This is a really good informative page. Thank you very much.
February 13, 2014
To Demitri
You bring up two very important issues.
a. Did Abraham do the wrong thing by serving milk and meat? I suggest that you read Did Abraham Serve His Guests Non-Kosher?

b. How can we add extra regulations and rabbinic safeguards to the Torah? Rabbi Tzvi Freeman wrote a wonderful piece on the topic called How Can Rabbis Add to the Torah?
Menachem Posner
February 7, 2014
Why Did Abraham serve the L-rd a non-kosher meal?
See Genesis 18. When the L-rd appeared to Abraham he served butter, milk and meat together. As far as I can see the only law regarding meat and dairy is Exodus 23:19 - You shall not boil a goat in its mother's milk. The Bible warns us against adding to G-d's Holy words. We should not do it!

Proverbs 30:6 - Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
February 3, 2014
Re: Meat then D. E.
Hey Jordan,
Good question.
There are actually a number of things that this depends on:
1) If the equipment was used within 24 hours.
2) If there are any sharp ingredients (either the final product taste spicy, or the majority of ingredients or spicy/sour.)

If there were none of the above situations, then you can eat it even during the same meal with meat (however you should not make it with dairy equipment, if you know you are going to eat it with meat...) afterwards is definitely not an issue.

There are many halachic discussions on this matter and you should contact your local Rabbi! (or Ask the rabbi team).
Eli S.
January 28, 2014
Meat then D.E.
After eating meat, what are the rules for eating a pareve item made in dairy equipment?
November 18, 2013
Minhag Chabad
Meat to milk - 6 hr
Milk (any) to meat - 1 hr
Non-soft cheese - 6 hr (different rabbis define hard cheese differently, so it's best to ask the rabbi in your community).
October 9, 2013
To Chana
Very young children do not need to wait between eating meat and milk. However, it is best to feed them something else in between. For children from age three to five it is sufficient to wait one hour between meat and milk.

Generally, children age six and older should wait six hours between meat and milk. If necessary, for children up to age nine, one may be lenient and wait just one hour.

Breastmilk is pareve and no waiting period is required between meat and breastmilk.
Rochel Chein for
September 25, 2013
I have a 9 month old.... does the six hours eating apply to her as well?
Chana Eisner
March 29, 2013
Really helpful
I am newly kosher and this has helped me a lot so thank you for this information.
Cody Getreuer
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