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Buying Kosher Fish

Buying Kosher Fish


The only criterion for fish to be kosher is that it have both fins and scales. Fish does not have to be slaughtered or salted as do meat and fowl. Kosher fish include cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, herring, mackerel, pickerel, pike, salmon, trout, and whitefish. Non-kosher fish include swordfish, shark, eel, octopus, and skate, as well as all shellfish, clams, crabs, lobster, oyster and shrimp. For a listing of kosher fish, see the Kosher Fish List.

The definition of fins and scales must be as designated by Jewish law. Not everything commonly called a "scale" meets the Torah's criteria. Therefore, it is best to buy fish from a merchant familiar with kosher fish types.

When buying fish, either buy it whole so that you can see the fins and scales, or, if the fish is sliced, filleted, or ground, buy only from a fish store that sells kosher fish exclusively. This will ensure that knives or other utensils are used only on kosher fish, and that no other mix-up can occur.

Packaged and canned fish, such as tuna and sardines, need reliable kosher certification. Smoked fish must also have certification to ensure that it was smoked only with other kosher fish, and that all other kosher criteria have been met.

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Norman Coram, NY July 1, 2011

Branzino and Dorado Are they kosher? Reply

Anonymous North Hills, CA August 16, 2010

Fish from Costco Tilapia Fillets or whole red snapper that has been cleaned. Reply

Menachem Posner for August 12, 2010

RE: Fish from Costco What sort of fish are you asking about? Does it bear a kosher symbol? Are the scaled still attached? Reply

Anonymous North Hills, CA August 6, 2010

Fish from Costco Is fish sold at Costco considered kosher? Reply

Menachem Posner for October 13, 2009

RE: spanish fish Is that the same as the fish known as the kingclip (pink-ling)? If yes, it seems that there is question about its status due to its strange under-the-skin scales. Reply

Anonymous chertsey, surrey October 12, 2009

spanish fish Is rosada fish kosher Reply

Menachem Posner for September 18, 2009

RE: Hoki You are right, I have also seen conflicting information on this fish! The kosher agencies that I called did not have any definitive information either. So this is what you can do: Try to pull of a scale from the (raw) fish. If it comes off easily, the fish is kosher. If it is hard to remove, or rips the skin in the process, it may not be kosher.

Please share your findings online! Reply

Anonymous London, UK September 15, 2009

Hoki Please can you advise whether Hoki is kosher. UK advice I have seen is that it is not kosher but I have seen USA and Australian websites selling "kosher" Hoki

Thank you Reply

Chani Benjaminson, August 19, 2008

not kosher Although eel and swordfish have fins and scales, the scales do not fit the Torah's category for being 'kosher' scales as they cannot be removed without tearing the skin. For more details please see Is eel kosher? Reply

Jeff Iwai August 18, 2008

fish Eel and swordfish have both scales and fins. Why are they not considered kosher? Reply

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