What is the Kasherut
The Kashrut is the set of Jewish religious dietary laws. The adjective ‘kasher’ or ‘kosher’ means fitting, compliant and appropriate and indicates the foods apt for consumption insofar as they comply with the rules; the opposite of kosher is ‘trefah’. This word originally indicated the meat of animals killed by predators; it subsequently extended to indicate all those animals that are prohibited because they are not slaughtered according to Jewish dietary laws. In everyday language, the word trefah is now extended to mean any non-kosher food.
The Kashrut is essentially based on the Bible and on the interpretation given thereof by rabbis. Most of the Jewish dietary laws apply to meat.
The following is a brief synthesis of the principal Kashrut rules on meat:
|ANIMALI PERMESSI||ANIMALI PROIBITI|
|Fish with fins and scales||Non-fish seafood|
|Fruit and vegetables||Eel|
NB: Permitted animals are those that have cloven hooves and that chew the cud. Permitted birds are those that are traditionally accepted, usually poultry and turkey. Forbidden animals are all those that crawl or are in close contact with the ground. As for water fauna, any fish with fins and scales can be eaten.
Kosher slaughtering of permitted animals:
Permitted animals (quadrupeds and fowl) must be slaughtered according to a special system, the shechitah. The person practising the kosher slaughtering method is called a schochet and must be specifically trained in this method, have thorough knowledge of the rules and be licensed to practice by rabbis. The Jewish slaughtering rules provide that the animal be killed with a single slit of the throat with a very sharp knife so as to kill the animal immediately and to bleed it dry. Any animal that is not slaughtered according to the rules is automatically forbidden.
- It is prohibited to eat blood. In order to assure that the kosher slaughtered animal is bled dry, the meat is subsequently salted for no less than twenty minutes and no more than 60 minutes and the liver must be broiled.
- It is prohibited to eat particular fats.
- It is prohibited to eat the sciatic nerve.
- It is prohibited to eat limbs of a living animal.
- It is prohibited to eat a kosher-slaughtered permitted animal affected by a disease or a significant physical defect or injury.
- It is prohibited to mix meat and dairy products in the same meal. On the basis of this rule, the rabbinic tradition prohibits to eat milk (or its derivatives) and meat in the same meal; this is why practicing Jews own two sets of plates and tableware, have separate refrigerator compartments and even separate kitchen sinks, sponges and dishwashers.
As far as dairy products are concerned, we remind you that milk must be controlled from the moment it is milked, unless it is legally certified as non-adulterated; cheese too must be kosher, meaning thereby that it must be submitted to rabbinic supervision to make sure that it is produced from vegetable rennet or from the rennet produced from properly koshered animals.
Kosher wine does not require particular processing or aging procedures although it must be exclusively handled and monitored by a staff of practicing Jews during the different processing phases, from pressing to bottling.
Both at artisanal and industrial level, all these rules entail the following: for the production of meat, completely separate production lines, from the slaughterhouse to the retail sale in special butcher shops. Meat-derived products, if appropriately sealed and labelled, can be sold in large distribution networks. Every other artisanal and industrial production, from pastry to pasta and preserves, must be supervised by a specially trained rabbinic staff who will have to make sure that forbidden ingredients (including additives) do not end up in the finished product, either in the form of a compound or of substances used for different purposes (e.g. lubricants, disinfectants, etc.). The strictness of rabbinic supervision processes can vary depending on the complexity of the product’s composition. Some cases only require a preliminary check and subsequent random controls while in other cases the staff must be present in all the processing phases. A producer interested in obtaining kosher certification must turn to the competent rabbinic authority with which to jointly plan the required procedure. The control can be certified by placing a symbol on the product and/or be disclosed to the relevant public through the information channels of Jewish communities which periodically publish lists and notices.